The expense of career fair
Course 6 brings the cash, gets the booths
Fall Career Fair 2013 will see a skewed distribution of industries: Course 6 again dominates the population, and almost all of the participating companies are for-profit corporate organizations.
The current job market — which already favors tech companies that are looking for computer scientists — may not be the only reason for this imbalance; does the pricey entrance to the MIT’s Fall Career Fair also contribute to the lack of balance?
According to the MIT Career Fair 2013 website, the highest level of involvement — platinum sponsorship — costs $18,000. The package offers maximum publicity through a catered information session on campus and publication in the career fair booklet, The Tech, web, and Infinite Display. This is followed by Gold, Silver, and Bronze sponsorship which cost $9000, $6000, and $3000 respectively. The lowest level of involvement, Copper sponsorship, which covers only a booth at the second floor of the fair, costs $1250.
These numbers are on the high end when compared to the price of attending career fairs at colleges. For example, a full table at Stanford’s Fall Career Fair costs 945 dollars, according to Stanford’s Career Development Center. Comparatively, a table at General Interest Career Fair at Princeton costs $550 for corporate organizations, and a table at Harvard’s On-Campus Interview Program (OCI) costs $750, still $500 cheaper than MIT’s cheapest option.
When looking closer at the distribution of companies, the dominance of private business reflects another lacking presence: very few government and non-profit organizations are attending the career fair.
To encourage recruitment outside the realm of private companies, other colleges intentionally vary the cost of sponsorship depending on the type of organization. For example, Harvard and Princeton offered tables to non-profit employers for $100 and $75 respectively. Half a table at Stanford’s Fall Career Fair is $475 for government organizations and $150 for nonprofit organizations. On the contrary, the cost of sponsorship at MIT’s career fair is determined solely by the level of involvement.
For those who are disappointed by the lack of balance at today’s career fair, there will be more targeted career fairs coming up throughout the year. In fact, some schools are not even hosting career fairs this term — Yale substituted their large traditional career fair with mini-sessions targeted towards specific industries after evaluating feedback from both employers and students. It is clear that MIT’s big fall career fair is not the only opportunity to find a job.