MTU students attend career fair

HOUGHTON – Whether marching up the hill or winning the battle for a parking spot, Michigan Technological University students were undaunted in their search for the right career fit Tuesday,

Three hundred forty three companies were part of this year’s event, bringing about 1,200 recruiters to talk with students. The turnout was third-largest in Tech’s history, said student career fair organizer Zach Klassen.

“The goal is just to reach out to companies and get good student interactions with the outside world, get their toes wet, get them real experience,” he said.

About 50 percent of the students that come through wind up with an internship or a job, Klassen said.

JoAnn Ballor, a fifth-year mechanical engineering major, already has a job lined up with ball bearings and steering columns manufacturer MSK, but came to visit them at the fair. In previous years at the fair, she’d gotten a co-op and a couple of internships.

“It’s a way to get a lot of companies in the area, with a lot of people all looking for similar jobs, which might not be possible in a different place that has a wide variety of majors,” she said. “You might only get a few companies coming in for engineering, compared to however many are up here.”

Alex Kuehn, a fourth-year civil engineering major, has come to the last five or six career fairs.

“I’m trying to get a feel for where I want to go, what I want to do, where I can find a niche,” he said.

One promising lead was with a company that did architecture and engineering for residential communities.

“I like the residential feel; it’s a bit more personal,” he said.

Companies were split between the varsity gym and the Wood Gym, with students lined up for face time with recruiters. Many of those interactions would turn into sit-down interviews later on.

Realtime Utility Engineers was looking for electrical and civil engineers for internships and full-time jobs. The company is drawn to Michigan Tech because of the reputation of its engineering program, said human resources manager Aubree Martin.

“I think it’s their sound technical ability,” she said. “The electricals get some experience in power, which not a lot of other electrical programs have. But I think it’s also their ability to communicate, the leadership ability that sets them apart from other schools.”

Accompanying Martin was the company’s most recent hire, graduate engineer Grant Hurford, a recent Michigan Tech alumnus.

“Just recently having to go to a career fair as a student and look for a full-time job, I recently have seen the other side of it and know what the student is looking for in communication from an employer, and also vice versa as a recruiter,” he said.

Martin said they had identified several successful candidates so far. Also having a productive fair was Harmon Glass, which was looking for internships for 16 offices around the country. Aside from good grades, the company looks for students who also have some form of extracurricular activity.

“I learned a lot being in a fraternity and being involved with that and different orgs on campus, and it really helps you with time management,” said project manager Dylan Byington, a 2014 Tech graduate who did three internships with the company. “When you get out into the real world, you’re not going to be studying and doing homework every night. You’re going to be applied what you’ve learned throughout your job on a daily basis, and you’re going to be communicating with people.”

He found out about the company at a 2012 career fair. Harmon’s two vice presidents are also from the university.

“Being an alumni from here, I know the school’s very challenging, and there’s a lot of good talent,” he said.