Who is the Career Expo really for?


Paul Wintruba

Two students walk through the various stands at the career fair.

Natalie O'Neil, Contributor

The Robert Morris University 2014 Career Expo was not all it was cracked up to be for some students. While RMU says that its Career Expo has something for all students, some feel that they are not being well-represented at the event.

“It should be advertised as a school of business event so other people don’t waste their time,” said junior marketing major, Rachel Carey.

This year there were a total of 117 employers, which was a slight increase from the 102 employers that attended last year.  Among these employers, 700 students attempted to find their way to those that would fit their career path.

“This Expo had at least a couple of organizations for all the majors and, while there may not have been a lot for certain majors, there were some for all majors,” said Sheila Broman, Coordinator of Internships and On-Campus Recruiting.

The Expo is set up so that students look at the program and approach booths that are listed under their specific majors.  However, as many began to speak with potential employers they found they either weren’t looking for a position under that field or their major was not listed at all.

Many students found this frustrating due to the fact that their major was advertised under these companies, but when they spoke with professionals, they realized that they weren’t actually needed.

Several majors including English, History and Sociology were under-represented.

“A major flaw is that it is designed for business majors,” said Carey. “Which is great for business majors. I was able to speak with upwards of 20 companies interested in me, but for any other major the findings were scarce.”

While some students found opportunities, a number of other business majors found issues with the expo.  Instead of not being represented, they found that when they approached employers that listed accounting, finance, marketing and other concentrations under business, they were not actually looking for those positions.

“I think they tried to have a lot of options open to everyone so they may have exaggerated how many majors go under each company,” said sophomore management major, Emylee Milani. “A lot of people only go because they have to for class.”

Although many would resort to blaming the school for not finding employers for each major, it is up to the companies if they would like to attend or not.

“While we invite employers who have posted with us for all majors, it is up to the organizations to attend.  If they are not recruiting at the time, they likely will not spend the money to attend,” said Broman.

Another reason for the lack of representation could stem from the students themselves.

In years past, attendance was much lower than this year’s Expo and many employers look at turnout when deciding whether to register or not.

“Employer participation is sometimes a function of prior student attendance.  Employers have said that they did not meet many students in their major. When this happens, they may not return.  The success of the Career Expo is a direct result of student attendance,” said Broman.

Due to this, many could say that the reason so many are under-represented now is because when the expo first began, only certain students with broader majors attended.

However, many believe that even if a student doesn’t find his or her next internship at the Career Expo, it is still a great experience for all students.

“While many of our Communications, Media Arts and English students would go into the career fair and not see their specific career tracks represented, they are going to see companies that use those services and have those departments,” said Yvonne Bland, RMU Communications professor.

Bland believes there is no better experience than walking up to a professional, introducing oneself, and talking about what they are looking for in a career.

“You can’t underestimate the value of that,” said Bland. “That is a gift to someone who is trying to figure out the next step in their career path.”