Last week the Center for Professional Excellence (CPE) hosted a combined Meet the Firms and Tech Fair event, which are annual events intended to connect students and employers.
The Sept. 8 Meet the Firms and the Tech Fair event focused on students studying accounting, finance, cybersecurity, computer science, data science and information systems, though all majors were encouraged to attend. It was the first year the two were combined, and Brian Harrington, executive director of CPE, said they will continue to be combined in future years because of positive feedback from employers.
This year, 55 companies attended, beating the previous record of 47 companies. Harrington said this is the campus’s largest career event and that approximately 250-300 students participated.
“This is the biggest event for the College of Business, for sure, but we want to have more events like this for other departments on campus, too,” Harrington said.
Harrington said Harding is unique in comparison to other schools around the state in that a higher proportion of students are not from Arkansas. Though many of the companies in attendance were from Arkansas, a significant number came from out of state or have ties to other states and countries, giving students the opportunity to meet an employer or recruiter who may lead them to a job in their home state.
Senior Blake Dale said he had a positive experience at the event and that employers were informative and helpful.
“It’s super beneficial,” Dale said. “These firms are coming to Harding, coming to the students, instead of the students having to go out. It’s just extremely helpful and super convenient for students to be able to, just search for and get information to take the next steps in their careers.”
Deanna Lovelady, director of marketing at Bell and Company PA, said recruitment events are important in the hiring process.
“We’ve hired most of our people from recruiting events,” Lovelady said.
She also advised that students find an organization where they fit the culture.
“There’s all kinds of firms out there,” Lovelady said. “There’s big, there’s small and whatever. If you want to be in a small firm, you have more open door policies than a larger one.”