Turnout was at its highest point since 1999, when 2,200 students and 145 companies were in attendance, according to OCS Recruiting Director Judy Murray. This bodes well for job seekers, she said.
“The number of companies on campus and the number of interview slots are up from last year—the job market is definitely up,” Murray said.
Students have in past years criticized the dominance of consulting firms and investment banks at the forum, but this year’s roster was more diverse, many said.
“I liked the diversity of the companies—they were from a wide variety of industries, and I even talked to some representatives from the CIA,” said Juan A. Ramos ’05. “It wasn’t just the consulting and investment banking companies.”
Companies ranged from Goldman Sachs and the Boston Consulting Group to the CIA and public service organizations like Teach For America and the Peace Corps.
The Crimson reported last October that more than half of the 91 firms at last year’s fair were in banking, consulting or finance.
“We focused on attracting a wider array of students and companies [this year],” said OCS Director William Wright-Swadel.
Companies sent Harvard alums to talk up their jobs to students.
“The career forum is a great chance for students to hear more about companies they’re interested in…it’s where I heard about Wachovia and I ended up working for them,” said Chris J. Evans ’01.
McKinsey & Company representative Jonathan L. Lee ’02 also said he thought the event was helpful in teaching students more about his company and job.
“It’s a great chance for us to tell students about McKinsey and what consultants actually do,” said Lee, whose company has held six informational events on campus this past month.
While the atmosphere was hectic and some students focused on getting as many business cards as they could, others took a different approach.
“I found in-depth conversations to be the most worthwhile—it doesn’t make any sense to run around and talk to as many companies as you can,” said Josh Strickland ’05, who is also a Crimson editor. “It makes more sense to get to know the people you might be working with.”
The career forum ended a month’s worth of on-campus company informational visits. Some students suggested that OCS should hold the career forum at an earlier date.
“They should make the career forum the very first event so that you can get a taste of all the companies and then go to the info sessions that you’re most interested in,” said Bree Tse ’05. “Otherwise, people might miss some info sessions that they really want to go to.”
Students who made the trek to Gordon Track were rewarded with a variety of company promotional goodies.
“I got five Nalgene bottles, 12 pens, an Abercrombie t-shirt and a pair of Gap flip flops,” said Tse. “But what I really want is a job.”