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Students stop at booths at the STEM Career Fair in the Baker Ballroom in order to find internships and jobs on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022.

Career fair, student organizations create professional opportunities

Some students look for full-time jobs in their career field before they graduate college while others may wait to job hunt until they’ve officially left school. And although there are a variety of paths students can take after college, various student organizations exist to aid job hunting like the Center for Advising, Career and Experiential Learning at Ohio University that is putting on their annual Accounting, Finance and Business Career Fair to help students find a part of their futures.

On Sept. 7 from 1 to 4 p.m., in the ballroom at Baker Center, the career fair will be held for all majors to attend, and students will be able to connect with employers from various businesses. Holly Seckinger, the associate director of employer and industry engagement at the Center for Advising, Career and Experiential Learning, said 86 companies have registered to attend.

“I know this career fair is titled ‘accounting, finance and business,’ but there’s a whole variety of companies coming,” Seckinger said. “Cardinal Health, Maxim Healthcare, so there’s healthcare companies. There’s a lot of accounting firms, there’s banks and so there’s a lot of companies that will hire any different kinds of majors. I don’t know if there’s a single student on campus who wouldn’t or couldn’t benefit from the (fair).”

The upcoming accounting, finance and business is one of two larger career fairs that usually happen each year, Seckinger said. The next one will be on Sept. 28 and is the Fall Career and Internship Fair. The timeline for career fairs and post-undergrad opportunities depends on when employers hire. 

“And then there’s a grad school fair, a law school fair, so there’s smaller fairs,” Seckinger said. “Some companies hire earlier. Accounting and finance are two that historically hire earlier in the year where some people don’t start hiring until spring, so we try to get everybody in spring and fall fairs.”

Career fairs are not the only measures offered at the university to assist students in searching for jobs. In McGuffey Hall, Seckinger said there is the Career Closet where students who need professional attire to wear to career events can find what they need without any cost or return. Students don’t need to make appointments and can stop by Mondays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“So if you need to throw on a blazer or find a pair of pants, we just organized everything over the summer so people can stop by and check out clothes if they need something,” Seckinger said.

Another way students are connecting with potential future employers and developing professional skills is through the Multicultural Student Business Caucus, or MSBC. The president of the organization, Azaria Greene-Williams, who is a senior studying community and public health, said it’s a relatively new group on campus.

“MSBC really started because of myself and three other women in the university and part of the multicultural community,” Greene-Williams. “We wanted to build a business (organization) that catered to multicultural students. And we’re basically just the newer, more revamped version of the Black Student Business Caucus, which was created by Byron Ward.”

Greene-Williams also said that the lack of diversity within the College of Business doesn’t permit multicultural students to easily connect with one another.

“We just wanted to provide the opportunity for College of Business multicultural students to grow and separate themselves in the corporate arena with those skills and opportunities they want to have,” Greene-Williams said.

Similarly, Deika Ahmed, the director of marketing and public relations of MSBC and a junior studying marketing, said one of the biggest reasons she wanted a business organization catered to multicultural students was because of how isolating it can be being one of the only multicultural students in a class within the College of Business.

“There’s rarely any multicultural students in my classes, like oftentimes I’m one of the only people of color within the College of Business,” Ahmed said. “So just having that community aspect of an organization that is going to support you and knows and can handle those kinds of situations is going to help me in the future.”

While Greene-Williams and Ahmed hope members of MSBC will gain the professional skills they want to have, the concept of professionalism can be non-inclusive.

“Professionalism looks different for me because as a Black woman, there’s a lot of things, like my hair sometimes is deemed unprofessional,” Ahmed said. “We have to do a lot of code switching when we’re in a work environment versus in your personal life.”

But what professionalism is and means to Ahmed has to do with being confident in her skills.

“My perfect definition is being comfortable in the skills that you have and being comfortable in the work that you’re going to do,” Ahmed said. “To me, professionalism would be instilling that confidence into the students that will come within this organization, but also it would be equipping them with how they can deal with (it) when they are targets of racism.”

Greene-Williams said MSBC provides students with opportunities to learn from OU alumni and others who have gone through situations in the professional world that students will probably also go through in the future.

“We also provide the community aspect of it,” Greene-Williams said. 

Despite being a new organization on campus, MSBC is already creating ideas to help members network with people in the professional workforce while fostering connections within the organization itself. The way people achieve their professional goals may be different but Greene-Williams narrowed it down to focusing on the skills she can develop even more.

“I think for all of us on our executive board, professional development has looked different,” Greene-Williams said. “But for all of us I think it comes back to our abilities and our want to strive for better, which is why we’ve created this organization.”

@McKennaChristy1

mc957019@ohio.edu

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