Inaugural Event A SUCCESS
On Friday, September 22, 2017, we hosted our first Tech Connect event. With 620+ students in attendance, we held a roundtable networking event in Lerner Auditorium for computer science and computer engineering opportunities. Over 35 notable tech companies were represented by 100+ software engineers and recruiters. Representatives were present to talk about projects, innovations, and job/internship opportunities.
TARGETED PROGRAMS IN ATTENDANCE
The event welcomed a target audience of computer science and computer engineering students. Of the students in attendance, 70% were computer science or electrical engineers, with STEM students in programs such as mathematics, quantitative methods, and statistics accounting for another 20% of attendees.
70% of students in attendance were computer scientists and electrical engineers, 20% represented other STEM majors.
NEW EVENT STRUCTURE
Unlike a career fair, the event was structured in two waves with roundtable discussions. Thinner crowds and less time spent in line meant students had more time for meaningful conversation in small group discussions. One student noted that “getting to talk to the recruiters is a more personalized way of learning about a companies mission, culture, hiring process, etc. rather than just reading the website and doing research.” The majority of students surveyed indicated they spoke with five to eight employers in an hour and a half session.
With less emphasis on sharing resumes and getting to the front of the line, students were able to gain a deeper understanding of a company’s culture, challenges, innovations, and the trajectory of an entry-level engineer. One student attendee appreciated how the change in format facilitated higher quality conversations, “I like the fact that we were there to have conversations and learn about the companies. It’s about connecting, not hunting jobs. This made me feel more relaxed while interacting with the potential employers.”
“It’s about connecting, not hunting jobs.” — Student Attendee
The roundtable conversation also allowed for more dynamic conversation between professional developers, recruiters, and student peers. With a large target population of computer scientists and computer engineers in attendance, there was more opportunity to steer the conversation into the technicality of the roles and opportunities at an organization. One student highlighted, “I felt it was a better experience than a standard career fair because you are also talking to your peers at the table. It is less ‘grabbing the swag’ and more about understanding the companies.”
“I felt it was a better experience than a standard career fair… It is less ‘grabbing the swag’ and more about understanding the companies.”
RESPONDING TO THE MARKET AND RECRUITING TRENDS
97% of students would recommend attending Tech Connect to a friend.
Our Employer and Alumni Relations team designed this networking event in response to student feedback and labor market and recruiting trends. With employers seeking Columbia computer science and computer engineering talent in a higher volume and pace, our goal was to put more of right matches at the same table.
We thank everyone who attended and made our inaugural Tech Connect event a success