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Students’ Career Preparation Attracts Companies, Recruiters

Monday, October 09, 2017
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Students lined up to meet companies and graduate schools that attended this fall’s career fair on campus. Several recruiters remained on campus the following day to conduct interviews with students for full-time, internship and co-op opportunities.

Be Prepared may be Boy Scouts of America’s well-known motto, but career preparation is a key element putting Rose-Hulman students on a pathway toward impacting the future as scientists, engineers and mathematicians.

Students enhance lessons learned in classrooms and laboratories with a variety of internships and research experiences, hands-on design projects, leadership roles in extracurricular activities, community service projects and involvement in competition teams. These experiences provide the critical thinking, problem solving, creativity and communication skills that make Rose-Hulman students highly coveted by corporate recruiters.

A recent survey for Bentley University’s PreparedU Project reports that 92 percent of employers rank critical thinking and the ability to analyze issues as “important” or “very important” to their employees’ success. Then, 87 percent of employers emphasize the importance of verbal and written communication and presentation skills, and 91 percent want employees who can work collaboratively within a team.

“The tech skills of Rose-Hulman students are a given. It’s the other skills that create a well-rounded engineer that make them stand out for internship or full-time positions,” says Corie Biggs, engineering supervisor for Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s production facility in Robinson, Ill. “That well-roundedness is an attractive quality to us.”

Marathon Petroleum isn’t alone. Nearly 240 companies (with 800 representatives) from throughout the country filled the institute’s field house this fall for the opportunity to introduce themselves students at this first of three career fairs for the 2017-18 school year. Then, 60 companies remained on campus the following day to conduct more than 1,000 interviews with students to fill full-time jobs, summer internships and co-op opportunities that may be available in the next six months.

“We find that Rose-Hulman students can contribute from their first day in engineering aspect of our operations. They’re able to work in teams and have the communications skills to work with anyone in the plant – from people along the production line to outside contractors to management,” remarks Tom Levendoski, process automation manager for ArcelorMittal’s production plant in northwest Indiana. “When you hire an engineer, you’re hoping to bring someone into the company who can run project, and manage people and technology. Technology may change over the course of that time, but the people-oriented skills that Rose-Hulman students possess will be invaluable throughout their career.”

Historically, 94 percent of Rose-Hulman students have at least one internship, co-op or research experience before graduation, and 80 percent have had two or more experiences, according to Kevin Hewerdine, director of career services and employer relations. Rose-Hulman ranked fifth nationally in both the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education and Princeton Review college rankings when students were asked to rate their U.S. colleges and universities for helping secure internships for career preparation.

“We know that internships along with other work and research experiences are very important to building a student’s resume that gets them the interview. That puts them on the road for a plant trip and, hopefully, an offer for a job or internship. It’s a competitive marketplace and a lot of hard work goes into students getting to work in their dream job,” Hewerdine says.

This year, companies have participated in events organized by the Office of Career Services and Employer Relations since the first week of the fall academic quarter. Then, a pre-Career Fair Bootcamp had representatives of seven companies critiquing students’ resumes and introductory sales pitches, and providing feedback so that students could take advantage of the upcoming career fair opportunities.

“There’s a big commitment from our company to having a relationship with Rose-Hulman because, with the interns and new employees we’re identifying now, we’re hiring the future of the company,” says Biggs.

Building relationships with new companies is also important. Hewerdine points out that 12 percent of the companies attending the fall career fair were recruiting at Rose-Hulman for the first time, including several California-based firms. New companies on the list included Lockheed Martin and Proofpoint of Sunnyvale, Calif.; Goldman Sachs’ offices in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Dallas, Texas; Medtronic Neurovascular of Irvin, Calif.; Siemens Healthineers of Pennsylvania; Brose North America of Auburn Hills, Mich.; and Sazerac, a division of Genmore Distillery in Kentucky.

Rose-Hulman annually hosts career fairs during each of the college’s three academic quarters. This contributes to the institute’s high placement rate of graduates for full-time employment, attending graduate school or being commissioned military officers following completion of Reserve Officers’ Training Corps duties.