Job Seekers Flocked to Career Fair Last Week

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The Lehman Brothers’ booth was empty at the Career Fair, except for several packages of recruiting material that had been previously mailed. Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy shortly before the fair citing losses from the subprime mortgage crisis.
Ramya Sankar—The Tech

More students but fewer companies attended last Thursday’s Fall Career Fair at the Johnson Athletic Center, according to Robert J. Richard, associate director of the Global Education and Career Development Center.

Richard estimated that about 5,000 students showed up to the fair, up from 4,000 last year. But only 300 companies attended, a 9 percent decrease from last year according to Richard.

With a credit crisis in the air, Lehman Brothers was one of the absent companies. The recently bankrupt firm had reserved a spot at the fair, but didn’t send any representatives. On Thursday, promotional flyers sat abandoned at the Lehman booth.

Still, there were more than enough companies to fill the gaps. Recruiters from Microsoft, Exxon Mobil, Google, Procter & Gamble, and McKinsey & Company drew large crowds. Oracle and Apple brought big-screen televisions and large posters. Apple set up tall chairs and round coffee tables to give the sense of an open-air cafe. Companies filled both the ice rink and the indoor track on the second floor.

Richard said that having fewer companies this year made the fair more vibrant. Those companies that did attend the fair showed greater confidence and interest in MIT students, Richard said. Also, Richard said that more employers this year reserved private rooms at the GECDC for interviews.

Preparation for the fair lasted through the summer and involved a partnership between the Graduate Student Council, the Class of 2009 and the Society of Women Engineers. Richard praised this year’s organizers and said this was the most efficiently run career fair in recent memory.