Only three weeks into the semester, students are already thinking about summer internships and post-graduation jobs with the help of the Piper Center for Vocation and Career’s corporate recruiting program.
According to On-Campus Recruiting Coordinator Kirsten Cahoon, the program has been helping students break into the corporate world since she began her work at the Piper Center.
“It’s a great way to just get a jump start on the search process,” Cahoon said. “Students can explore possibilities and see what’s out there. They can attend information sessions to learn about corporate culture and whether or not a job is a good fit.”
Over 20 corporations send representatives to campus to hold information sessions and encourage students to apply for internships and full-time jobs. Recruiting season kicked off at the beginning of the month and will last through October, though other opportunities will become available throughout the year. Another recruiting wave will occur in the spring.
The Piper Center also trains peer advisors to help those interested specifically in corporate jobs.
“I chose to get involved because I think the opportunities are very exciting, and I want to pass them on to the student body,” said Erik Springer ’15, a corporate recruiting peer advisor.
Springer works in the Piper Center advising students on how to be successful when sending in an application to a large company. His daily tasks include helping edit resumes and cover letters and conducting practice interviews.
Springer said that the most available job openings involve translating data into ideas and solutions. Common fields include finance, management development and the actuarial sciences.
“Corporate jobs are more on the analytical side. They involve problem solving and creativity,” Springer said.
Interest in corporate recruiting remains high among students. Last fall about 150 students actively participated in the program, and a recent interest meeting for McKinsey & Company saw an audience of over 25 students.
Google hired two students last year. Target and Epic usually hire 10 to 15 students a year, while Optimum Insight and Best Buy hire about five, and Boom Labs hires one or two.
With such a visible flurry of hiring activity, the Piper Center is conscious of the anxiety this may cause among students without plans to enter the corporate world.
Cahoon noted that corporations tend to have the budget for routine bulk hiring. She emphasized that other organizations are more likely to hire on an as-needed basis, and students in other fields should not worry if they are not immediately seeing as many job openings as their corporate-bound peers.
“Different sectors and different industries hire on different schedules and in different ways. These are not the only options for students,” Cahoon said.
The Piper Center finds companies to participate in the program by forming relationships with many such organizations, often through alumni. A company that takes on a student and is happy with the result is likely to return the following year.
According to Cahoon, corporate opportunities are diminishing nationwide. However, because of St. Olaf’s strong relationships with organizations and extensive alumni network, prospects for Oles remain high. The improving economy has also increased the number of companies returning for recruiting season.
Meanwhile, the Piper Center is hard at work spreading the word about job opportunities and advising students on how to nab them. Corporate recruiting peer advisors are available on weekday mornings in the center.