The Game Has Changed: Pursuing a Job Through National Career Fairs by Siamac

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Traditionally, companies that want to recruit talent from MBA programs visit a set list of schools and conduct on-campus interviews.  This requires the company to maintain relationships with individual schools and to make numerous trips around the country throughout the year.

The recruiting game has changed.

Lately, companies recruit more through National Conferences (or “Diversity Fairs” or “National Career Fairs”).  In 1-4 day events, companies table at booths and recruit MBA students who attend.  This alternative is cheaper and far more convenient for companies – thousands of students attend these large conferences and therefore compose a richer talent pool.

Students certainly benefit from National Conferences as well.  Students can have face-to-face interaction with companies outside their school’s network and can successfully compete with students at higher ranked MBA programs.  The experience itself is intense and provides tremendous networking and interviewing experience.

The largest National Conferences are NBMBAA and NSHMBA.  Both are hosted by diversity organizations (the National Black MBA Association and the National Society of Hispanic MBAs) aimed at increasing diverse representation in business.  Hundreds of blue chip companies actively recruit at these conferences to fill internships and full-time positions – interviews are conducted and offers are signed on-site.  Some students believe they must belong to a specific ethnic group to attend these two conferences.  This is simply not true.  Any MBA student can attend, provided s/he pays a registration fee.

Recruiting can be quite daunting for MBA students.  Attending a National Conference, however, can be an effective way to navigate the recruiting game and increase your chances of landing a great internship or full-time position.  Game on!

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