This year’s Fall Career Fair, to be held at the Sports and Recreation Center on Wednesday, Sept. 16, is WPI’s biggest yet. Two hundred companies are expected, with student and alumni attendees asked to pre-register, says Steve Koppi, executive director of the Career Development Center.
Of the three annual career fairs WPI hosts on campus, this one is the most popular, Koppi says. “In the fall, companies are competing to recruit our amazing students whose skills are in high demand.” He added that many of the firms are multinationals with operations around the world, looking to recruit from schools like WPI. Many of the companies are regulars—returning participants from past WPI career fairs. In some cases, former students are back on campus representing their current employers.
Though the CDC is always forging and building relationships with regional companies (corporations sponsor Major Qualifying Projects, research, and other activities), marketing for the Fall Career Fair begins in earnest July 1. Publicizing the call for participants is not only a general outreach effort, but also targeted and strategic, Koppi says. “It has to do with supply and demand in the marketplace.” For instance, the CDC does not actively seek software development companies for the fair, but may reach out specifically to companies in bioengineering and related industries.
Companies turn to WPI to recruit for STEM roles they need filled, and to tap into students’ knowledge in those fields. “What company isn’t STEM-related?” Koppi says. “STEM is the new liberal arts. This kind of education prepares students to succeed in a variety of fields … and tech and innovation are so integrated.”
So there is room for versatility: STEM skills and vacant positions may not be directly linked. Some recruiters are looking for students in all majors that WPI offers. State Street Corp., based in Boston, looks for students majoring in everything from computer science to mathematics to data science to business. A company like GE — which is in the midst of moving its Healthcare Life Sciences operations to Marlborough from New Jersey —may hire for roles in aviation, energy, transportation, healthcare, and software, to name just a few areas under the broad company umbrella.
And WPI welcomes not only students to the career fair, but alumni, too. Koppi says that about 200 to 300 alums usually make the trip to the event, some wanting to change jobs or careers, all looking to network. He calls it an important, efficient resource that allows job searchers to be in the presence of many different companies at one time.
The Fall Career Fair runs from noon to 4 p.m. on Wednesday. Students and alumni can pre-register from Monday and Tuesday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Career Development Center. There is also a WPI Career Fair Plus app for Android and iOS devices to download.