Dressed in a dark suit, Karan Patel walked through Mitten Hall shaking hands and charming recruiters at the sixth-annual Fall Connection, a networking event organized by the Fox School of Business’ Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD). He hardly resembled the student who had arrived to February’s CSPD Spring Connection in shirtsleeves and offered a limp handshake.
A junior Marketing major and Management Information Systems minor, Patel no longer considers himself that type of person.
“I wasn’t prepared,” Patel said of the springtime event. “I didn’t impress recruiters, but I learned from my mistakes. The CSPD helped me with that.”
Fall Connection is one of the CSPD’s biannual networking events, the second of which is held during the spring semester. This year’s four-hour event nearly filled Temple University’s Mitten Hall to capacity, matching 89 employers with more than 800 students from the Fox School.
For Fox Assistant Dean for Student Development Corinne Snell, Fall Connection is the CSPD’s signature event and serves as a great kick-off for October’s corporate recruiting season.
“It’s a time to make a positive impression and for students to put in face-time with the recruiters,” Snell said. “Recruiters contact us directly because of the professionalism and polish our students portray.”
This year, Patel considered himself one of those students.
Since his first showing at CSPD’s Spring Connection, he’s completed two successful summer internships with Business Route and Fastenal, continued to build his personal photography service, and joined customer service at World Republic Bank in Haddonfield, N.J.
“I go to bed at 1 a.m. and wake up at 6. I’m running 14-hour days because that’s what it takes,” Patel explained.
Patel is competing for the attention of top-tier employers such as Deloitte, Pepsi, Comcast Corporation, Target, PNC, JP Morgan Chase, Crayola, Independence Blue Cross, and others. With his eyes set on forging corporate friendships, Patel turned to the CSPD to transform his professional persona.
“I tried figuring stuff out on my own, but I had to ask questions. I’ve realized how beneficial the CSPD is to landing a job,” Patel said.
Located at the Fox School of Business, CSPD hosts one-hour workshops to help students prepare for its large-scale networking events. The workshops introduce students to the resources the CSPD office has to offer, including advice on professional attire, resume writing, and mock interviews. Giving students what they call the “CSPD Difference,” staff members work with students on developing a professional edge in the weeks leading up to their corporate connection events.
“We always hear from employers that we’re setting the bar,” said Megan Panaccio, CSPD Director of Corporate Relations. “The employers look forward to our event.”
The strength of its corporate partnerships and its dedication to student development drew Patel, a transfer student, to the Fox School. With his roots in Gujarat, India, Patel said he admires the work ethic his mother and father have demonstrated while working as a Dunkin’ Donuts manager and a convenience store owner, respectively. He considers his efforts through CSPD and Fall Connection stepping-stones to a promising future.
“My mom wakes at 5 a.m. to make lunches for the family,” he said. “She has had to work very hard. My future success is a way to pay her back as much as I can.”