Pro Expo brings opportunities for IST students

September 22, 2011

In a competitive job market, it is especially important to have a game plan for finding employment. Students in Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology recently had the opportunity to meet with prospective employers who are interested in hiring IST graduates during Pro Expo, a career fair designed specifically for the college.

More than 500 IST students participated in the seventh annual Pro Expo, which was held Monday, Sept. 19 in the IST Building at Penn State's University Park campus. On hand were more than 200 corporate representatives from 52 companies, who met with students to discuss possible job, internship and co-op opportunities. On Sept. 20 at the Nittany Lion Inn, representatives from 26 companies conducted formal job interviews with IST students who had made a favorable impression.

The companies that were represented included consulting and financial firms, contractors, government agencies and “all industries in between,” said Madhavi Kari, IST’s director of Career Solutions. The participating companies this year included Deloitte Consulting, Ernst & Young, PNC Financial Services and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“I think that the various industries are very well represented at the Pro Expo,” said Hoss Hewitt, the IST Pro Expo committee student chair. “Every student had multiple opportunities to reach into different careers across various industries.”

The Pro Expo is open to all undergraduate students who are majoring in IST or Security and Risk Analysis (SRA) at all the Penn State commonwealth campuses. The event started with 15 companies in its first year, Kari said, and has grown steadily over the years.

“It gives [the students] a chance to learn about the different industries and sectors and what types of jobs they can embark on in the future,” she said.

Caitlin Doyle, a senior majoring in IST with a minor in SRA, served on this year’s Pro Expo Committee and helped set up tables for the companies.

“It was a busy day, but all the companies enjoyed themselves and were happy to see so many students,” she said.

Doyle, who hopes to one day obtain a management role in a company, said that she prepared for this year’s Pro Expo like she had in the past.

“I made sure my resume was current and made a game plan of companies that I wanted to talk with,” she said.  “I had a great experience and received several interviews with companies that I am very interested in working at.”

Colleen Cwenar, a senior SRA major who also served on the Pro Expo Committee, said that she also had devised a strategy for navigating the Pro Expo. Before the day of the event, she perfected her resume and then went to the Pro Expo website to see the list of companies that would be recruiting. Her next step was to visit the websites of the companies she was interested in to learn more about the work they do and the types of students they are looking to hire.

“It's important to do your research before you go up to a company so that you have a professional and relevant elevator speech to obtain their initial interest,” said Cwenar, whose goal is to obtain a position in consulting or intelligence analysis.

While seniors may be the most concerned about job prospects, Kari said, freshmen in the College of IST also benefit from networking with employers at the Pro Expo.

“It’s never too early to start putting your foot in the door,” she said.


Last Updated September 29, 2011