With a new fall semester comes another job and internship fair, a resource designed to help all Binghamton University students find jobs. Although Harpur College students compose a campus majority, they’re not provided with the same opportunities as those enrolled in other schools like the Watson School of Engineering or the School of Management.
The lack of employers specifically recruiting liberal arts majors, or at least the lack of those that list that they’re hiring all majors, leaves countless students to conduct independent job searches. Pipe Dream addressed the same concern in an editorial published before last year’s career fair, and was hoping to see an improvement in the options offered. Sadly, however, this did not happen.
Last year, more than 123 companies and organizations sent recruiters to the job and internship fair. This year, according to the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development, 133 employers will attend the fair. Despite the increase in employers, there are still limited options for Harpur students.
Large companies like Citi Technology, General Electric, Lockheed Martin and Procter & Gamble will be present at the fair, recruiting students with backgrounds in electrical engineering, computer science, mechanical engineering and business administration. Each of these majors fall under the Watson School of Engineering or the School of Management (SOM), meaning Harpur students have few opportunities to network with and later work for these companies, even in capacities related to liberal arts, such as communications.
Although Harpur Edge holds events like Cool Connections/Hot Alumni for Harpur students, these events often feature alumni who graduated from BU more than a decade ago. They are often unfamiliar with current application processes and the job market, making it difficult for students to relate to their advice. Although these alumni can be an inspiration to current students, these events do not necessarily connect students with potential employers like Watson and SOM events do.
Watson held an event prior to the job and internship fair to help prepare students for the fair, enlisting a panel of employers to reveal secrets about what they look for in potential employees. SOM held a Big Four event for students to network with these companies, and there are numerous other events lined up to connect students to leading companies like Deloitte and KPMG.
The only possibilities for Harpur students at the job and internship fair seem to be companies looking for potential employees in “all majors.” However, there are no Harpur-specific events to prepare students for the fair or to connect them with companies and organizations looking for new employees with liberal arts degrees.
Perhaps this is because employers must pay for a spot at the job and internship fair. For-profit companies can pay $500 for a curtained booth or $300 for a standard booth, while nonprofit organizations must pay $125 for a standard booth. Although the cost is less for nonprofit organizations, large corporations are more than able to pay for spots at college job fairs across the United States. Although Harpur College is marketed as being the core of BU, the University still does not have a reputation of producing graduates with strong liberal arts backgrounds. Therefore, these smaller companies and nonprofit organizations are more likely to spend the registration fee at an exclusively liberal arts college.
The University should consider holding separate job and internship fairs for each school, ensuring that all students have an equal opportunity to meet with employers in their field of study.
Harpur College is the largest school within BU. Harpur students come from a wide array of disciplines and should be given the same opportunities to find their first job as SOM and Watson students.