Architecture and landscape architecture students connect with firms

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The 27th annual Career Day was all about imagining. Imagine work. Now, imagine that work is your home. That was the central theme of this Career Day that united architecture and landscape architecture students from every corner of Penn State's Stuckeman School in March. They faced potential bosses and created a punch list for their career searches. The firms’ embedded presentation message: We Do Everything Together… is that attractive to you?

Being predominantly Stuckeman alumni that came home to recruit, the 56 visiting firm professionals were mentorly (described as corporate Sherpas), brotherly and sisterly, and reassured students that they would be prepared after leaving the training ground at Penn State. Each firm generously shared the design technologies expected – pointing out details to students that they’d need to use daily, while engaging in building forensics. They also stressed students will need to speak in front of many people, and to the community -- often. They will need to be collaborative -- a style that each firm fosters, like an artisan hybrid brewmaster.

Bob Holland and Kristin Barry from Stuckeman Career Services spent months in preparation, identifying alumni firms that would engage students. Students were encouraged to explore job locations that firms service as well as potential foreign-office job placements. Designed to expose students to a breadth of career possibilities, the all-school format added energy to this event and provided an opportunity for Stuckeman students to be exposed to a wide range of companies. Here, students interview the firms and firms interview students.

The 20-minute firm presentations projected extravagant personal home designs of those who could not be named, (due to privacy – let’s just say Fortune No. 1-10 homeowners who want to stow away in 70,000 square feet, in the woods or desert), to headquarters gleaming and towering above millions of people in city population centers. Mouth-watering work. The driving message – this is exciting stuff, and you will start to work immediately on all facets and phases, often with principals. Day one, you may be at your first meeting, talking shop.

The two-day event included a panel discussion, 56 recruiting firms, 33 professional firm presentations, mock interviews and real interviews with professionals from the design firms. The message: work very hard, play harder and be prepared to live with your co-workers in your new (job) home. Then go online to the Stuckeman homepage and explore the 70-100 job offerings, many from Top 100 firms, at your fingertips.

“The firms were extremely pleased with the caliber of students that they were speaking with,” according to Bob Holland, organizer. Seventeen firms interviewed students at the Penn State Career Center, to close out the hiring spectrum. Grace Byrne, a graduating landscape architecture fifth-year student who attended the event, said that “looking to a firm as a family was attractive if you were in a new city and did not know anyone.” But what captured her imagination were the rich imagery, as well as content. She was also surprised “by the range of formality between each of the firms – some came in suits, while others came in relaxed attire, which was far more appropriate.” 

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Last Updated April 06, 2013