Some students are looking for full-time jobs in their field before they graduate from college, while others wait until they officially leave school to look for a job. And while there are a variety of paths students can take after college, there are various student organizations to help with job searches, such as the Center for Advising, Career and Experiential Learning at Ohio University, which hosts its annual Accounting, Finance and Business Career Fair organized to help students find a part of their future.
On September 7 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Baker Center ballroom, the career fair will be open to all majors and students will be able to interact with employers from different companies. According to Holly Seckinger, Associate Director of Employer and Industry Engagement at the Center for Advising, Career and Experiential Learning, 86 companies signed up to participate.
“I know this career fair is called ‘Accounting, Finance and Business’, but there are quite a number of companies coming,” said Seckinger. “Cardinal Health, Maxim Healthcare, so there are healthcare companies. There are many accounting firms, there are banks and so there are many companies hiring all kinds of majors. I don’t know if there is a single student on campus who would not or could not benefit from the (fair).”
The upcoming accounting, finance and business is one of two major careers fairs that typically take place each year, Seckinger said. The next one will be on September 28th and will be the Fall Career and Internship Fair. The schedule for career fairs and post-graduate opportunities depends on when employers are hiring.
“And then there’s a Graduate School Fair, a Law School Fair, so there are smaller fairs,” Seckinger said. “Some companies hire earlier. Accounting and finance are two who hire earlier in the year where some don’t start hiring until spring, so we’re trying to reach everyone at the spring and fall fairs.”
Career fairs are not the only measures that the university offers to support students in their job search. McGuffey Hall, Seckinger said, has the Career Closet, where students who need professional attire for career events can find what they need at no cost or return. Students do not have to make appointments and can stop by on Mondays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m
“So if you need to put on a blazer or find pants, we’ve organized everything over the summer so people can come in and look at the clothes if they need anything,” Seckinger said.
Another way students can connect with potential future employers and develop professional skills is through the Multicultural Student Business Caucus (MSBC). The organization’s president, Azaria Greene-Williams, a senior who studies community and public health, said it’s a relatively new group on campus.
“MSBC really came about because of myself and three other women at the university and part of the multicultural community,” says Greene-Williams. “We wanted to build a company (an organization) that caters to multicultural students. And we’re basically just the newer, revised version of the Black Student Business Caucus created by Byron Ward.”
Greene-Williams also said the lack of diversity within the College of Business does not allow multicultural students to easily connect with each other.
“We simply wanted to provide the multicultural College of Business students with an opportunity to develop and differentiate themselves in the corporate arena with the skills and opportunities they want,” said Greene-Williams.
Similarly, Deika Ahmed, director of marketing and public relations at MSBC and a junior marketing student, said that one of the key reasons she wanted to have a corporate organization for multicultural students was because of how isolating it can be to be one of the few multicultural students to be in a class within the College of Business.
“There are rarely multicultural students in my classes as I’m often one of the few black people in the College of Business,” said Ahmed. “Just having that community aspect of an organization that supports you and is familiar with and can handle situations like this is going to help me going forward.”
While Greene-Williams and Ahmed hope that MSBC members will acquire the professional skills they desire, the concept of professionalism cannot be comprehensive.
“Professionalism looks different to me because as a black woman there are many things, like my hair, that are sometimes seen as unprofessional,” Ahmed said. “We have to do a lot of code switching when we’re in a work environment as opposed to your personal life.”
But what professionalism is and means to Ahmed has to do with confidence in their abilities.
“My perfect definition is being comfortable with the skills you have and being comfortable with the work you have to do,” said Ahmed. “To me, professionalism would instill that confidence in the students who are going to come into this organization, but it would also equip them with how to deal with being the target of racism.”
Greene-Williams said MSBC offers students the opportunity to learn from OU alumni and others who have faced situations in the professional world that students are likely to face in the future.
“We also provide the community aspect of that,” said Greene-Williams.
Despite being a new organization on campus, MSBC is already developing ideas to help members connect with people in the professional workforce while also fostering connections within the organization itself. The way people achieve their career goals may vary, but Greene-Williams focused on focusing on the skills she can develop further.
“I think for all of us on our board, the career path has been different,” Greene-Williams said. “But I think for all of us, it comes down to our skills and our drive to do better, which is why we started this organization.”