Students gain professional and networking experience during Employer Expo
Bluffton University business students jumpstarted their career search during the Employer Expo networking event held on campus Sept. 27.
“At this event, students are able to interact with representatives from companies in the area that are actively looking to hire interns and full-time employees. The interactions are a great learning experience that they don’t get in the classroom,” said John Burkhart, assistant professor of accounting.
About two dozen students participated in the event sponsored by Bluffton’s Center for Career and Vocation and Bluffton University Business Leaders (BUBL). The Employer Expo featured several major employers in Ohio including Fortune 500 companies and international businesses that either have their headquarters in Northwest Ohio or have branches in the Bluffton area. Two of the companies, Owens-Illinois and Marathon, have held long-standing relationships with Bluffton through the university’s internship program. ADP, Auto-Owners Insurance and Cooper Tire sent Bluffton alumni to represent their companies. Speedway and The State of Ohio Auditor’s Office also participated. The event featured both a panel session and a networking opportunity.
BUBL president, Jason Summers, a junior business administration and accounting double major connected with employers at previous events and has interned with both OI and Marathon. “I’ve really enjoyed organizing this event so that others have the chance to gain good internships. I’m really grateful for all of the hard work that faculty and student leaders before me did to provide me the opportunity to gain professional experience,” said Summers.
This event allowed students to network in an in-depth setting and “to have more personal conversations with these employers and get to know who they are and what they do,” said Cody Sanderson, graduate assistant for the Center for Career and Vocation.
Dr. Jason Swartzlander, associate professor of accounting, enjoyed seeing current students interact with graduates who are pursuing their professional ambitions. This was the fourth time Bluffton held the Employer Expo. “It just amazes me at the opportunities that our students have here and the great things that they’re doing at Bluffton and beyond,” said Swartzlander. “We’re a small school, but big companies are coming here for a reason. They want our students.”
Topics discussed during the event included interview tactics, the importance of internships and how to network. The event was aimed at business, marketing and accounting majors; however, students with other academic interests also took part.
Liz Hylton, a panelist from Speedway, applauded the networking component of the event. “I think it’s incredibly beneficial for students to network. They should meet as many people as they can, get their contact information and keep in touch. That’s really important to landing a job.”