Get the Most Out of Your Career Fair Experience

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Career fairs are valuable tools for MBA students searching for their dream job or internship. First-year TCU MBA student Dante Valenzuela recently attended the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) Career Fair in Chicago. He went into it with measured expectations but came out of it with an internship. Next summer, Valenzuela will intern with Intel in Oregon.

“For me it was a chance to get my name out there," says Valenzuela. “I was really looking forward to getting in front of employers."

Valenzuela offers the following tips to students preparing for their first career fair:

Prepare with the Graduate Career Center

The Graduate Career Center provides numerous resources for students, and Valenzuela took advantage of the tools available. He practiced mock 30-second pitches with other classmates and surveyed his peers about their experiences at job fairs. He also learned about following up after an interview and how to gauge the feedback of recruiters to know how to proceed.

 

Make Your Game Plan

Knowing it would be difficult to get an interview at a job fair, let alone land an internship, Valenzuela made a list of the top 15 companies whose recruiters he wanted to meet with and arrived at the event early so he’d have time to map out the booths he needed to visit. As soon as the career fair opened, it was “free game to talk to as many recruiters as possible,” he says.

Prior to the event, Valenzuela did his homework. He spent hours researching the top three companies on his list (Intel, Ford and Bank of America). He went to those three companies’ booths first. When he received an invitation from Intel, Valenzuela had to rearrange his game plan to make time for the two-hour interview.

Prep for the Interview

Once he was invited for an interview, Valenzuela sought advice from others who had interviewed with Intel. His diligence paid off. “For me, it was a success," he says.

Though it was Valenzuela’s first career fair, he was well prepared and says he owes special thanks to LaTanya Johns, director of TCU’s Graduate Career Center. When he learned he was getting an interview with Intel, Johns reached out to a TCU alumnus who works at the company to gain insight to help Valenzuela prep for his meeting.

Stay Confident

With no more than two hours to get ready for his interview, Valenzuela tried to keep calm. He went to lunch with classmates and found confidence in the prep he'd done. “It was a whole new experience to go in and sell yourself,” he says.

The most important step in getting ready for the event was researching his top companies and learning as much as possible about them beforehand, says Valenzuela. “Being prepared and showing interest in the company are key,” he says. “Know what’s important to them.”

Don’t miss out on the opportunities the GCC offers MBA students to prepare for interviews and seek insight from other students and alumni. “There’s a lot of encouragement and collaboration in our program,” Valenzuela says.

Interested in getting a TCU MBA? Request more info about the Neeley School of Business graduate program or apply now.

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