Future Forum provides opportunity for IST students to showcase unique skillsets

Mackenzie Stagnito
February 05, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Recruiters from around the country gathered at the Nittany Lion Inn last week to meet with College of Information Sciences and Technology students seeking full-time and internship positions or continued education opportunities. Future Forum, a career fair for College of IST students, took place Jan. 28 at the Nittany Lion Inn.

More than 500 students participated in the career fair, including nearly 80 from Penn State Commonwealth Campuses.

Forty-two organizations came to campus for the event, and for many of the recruiters this was not their first visit to Happy Valley. In fact, 21 of the companies in attendance were represented by Penn State IST alumni. These alumni credit IST for the hardworking character of the students they met who were looking to expand their career.

“I think [IST] produces the best of the best,” said 2017 IST graduate Nikita Page of KPMG. “Every year that I come back I see that they [the students] not only have more professionalism in their demeanor, but they’re more comfortable talking to different corporations.”

Organizations in attendance ranged from Fortune 500 companies to government agencies. Students had the opportunity to practice their interpersonal communication skills and express their qualifications for available positions.

“The wide array of companies allows students to find whatever their specific interest is within their field and to find a company that matches them perfectly,” said Richard Smith, a junior studying security and risk analysis. 

The IST curriculum integrates essential technological expertise with business and communication skills, which prepares graduates to solve complex problems in a variety of industries. Anthony Bittinger of PPG, who graduated from the College of IST in 2017, expressed his satisfaction with the talent and background knowledge displayed by IST students.

“IST majors have a lot of experience dealing with project management and business integration,” he said.

These core business skills do not go unnoticed by team managers. IST alumnus Mike Nelson of PwC noted the distinction Penn State IST graduates create when working with clients.

“Recruiting highly skilled students from Penn State who join my teams in helping to serve my clients is very rewarding,” he said. “From both a technical skills and readiness to enter a business setting standpoint, IST students consistently excel at PwC.” 

“It’s always very nostalgic coming back to the career fair where I once was a student. It really makes you appreciate all the opportunities IST gives you and helps you realize how dedicated the IST college is to your career and continued success." 

—Harleen Sangha, Penn State class of 2014 

Future Forum is one of two annual career fairs hosted by the College of IST, with Pro Expo being held each fall. Students prepare for the career fairs in a variety of ways, utilizing the resources offered by the IST Office of Career Solutions and Corporate Engagement.

“They host workshops and resume reviews and that helps a lot,” said Ritika Bafna, a junior majoring in security and risk analysis. “The career office in IST has walk-in hours and peer consultants that help you with your career search, so I think they’re doing a wonderful job.”

Many students may find the task of approaching recruiters from major companies overwhelming. Smith, who had attended the Pro Expo event in the fall, advises those students to think of the recruiters as people like them.

“Be confident,” he said. “A lot of times there are issues where you can overthink. Create a common bond with [the recruiters] and get to know them. You’ll be fine!”

Harleen Sangha, a 2014 IST alumna, reflected on her time in the college while recruiting new hires for Deloitte.

“It’s always very nostalgic coming back to the career fair where I once was a student,” she said. “It really makes you appreciate all the opportunities IST gives you and helps you realize how dedicated the IST college is to your career and continued success. I am so thankful to come back and pay it forward every year. It’s truly one of my favorite parts of my professional career.”

Last Updated February 05, 2019