Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) held its largest Career Fair ever, with 1,700 undergraduate and graduate students and alumni meeting with over 450 recruiters from 180 companies.
"Employers continue to highly value WPI graduates and the skills they bring to the workplace," said Sharon Deffely, interim director of WPI's Career Development Center, which held the fair with the assistance of multiple corporate sponsors. "Our graduates are well trained in their majors, and have the ability to work collaboratively. Our project-based curriculum prepares them to solve real-world problems."
Participating in the Career Fair were WPI's top hiring employers: General Dynamics, United Technologies Corp., General Electric Company, and Microsoft. In addition, the state's three largest building contractors were present to recruit prospective employees and interns, as were representatives from the military, defense contractors, biotech, manufacturing, power, and high tech, as well as industries representing newer WPI majors, such as Robotics Engineering and Interactive Media & Game Development. The fair was held in the university's new Sports & Recreation Center.
Chris O'Malley, organizational manager at Fabrico Inc. in Oxford, said he attended the fair for the first time, looking for mechanical and manufacturing engineers. "What brought us here was definitely the quality of the engineers," he said. "We've been to other career fairs, and the people and resumes we're seeing here are great, not only on the technical side, but their ability to really communicate well with potential employers. Because they deal with the customer every day, we're looking for that technical background as well as someone we can put in front of the customer who we know will be able to really communicate and put on a good face for the company."
Richard Walker, a WPI senior majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering, said this was the best career fair he has been to. "The CDC did a great job, as usual, in organizing this fair. As an ECE major, in the past I've had trouble finding companies for me. This year, I have had no problem finding companies, and I think there is a wider range of companies here. I have three good prospects so far, and I’m hoping to make it four."
The Career Development Center helped prepare students and alumni for the Career Fair by holding evening programs on resume writing and how to work a career fair; one-on-one appointments and walk-in opportunities to meet with seasoned career counselors; and a seven-hour Resumazing event where over 440 WPI students met with industry representatives on campus to have their resumes critiques individually. Last year, The Princeton Review rated WPI 17th in the nation for career services. Some 91 percent of undergraduate students reported utilizing the many services offered through the Career Development Center over the past year.
WPI graduates rank 7th in the nation for highest starting median salary by PayScale Inc. In 2011 the average starting salary for a WPI graduate with a bachelor's degree rose to $58,384, some 12 points higher than the national average.