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Where Was OCS at Media Jobs Fair?


The Harvard-Radcliffe Media Jobs and Internships Fair, held Nov. 1 and sponsored by student organizations, was a great success. This success shows that students are interested in media-related careers, and we feel that the Office of Career Services (OCS) should give more support to activities which encourage entry into this field. It is not appropriate to rely on student groups to provide a career service, like the Media Fair, which is so evidently needed.

OCS is often criticized for being reactive instead of proactive, for resorting to outmoded methods of career development rather than exploring innovative new techniques and for lacking a cohesive publicity campaign. In the future, OCS should expand the narrow focus of its Career Forum and devote more of its resources to campus-wide events that cater to demonstrated student interests. Career counselors should take a hint from the 600 students who attended the Media Fair and concentrate more of their energy on sponsoring similar events in the future.

HRTV Events Manager M. Odoi Odotei '97-'98 said event coordinators were unprepared for the crowd of about 600 students who flocked to the Media Fair in order to speak with representatives from MTV Animation, Steven Spielberg's Dreamworks and National Geographic, among others. Odotei said HRTV hopes to include media magnates such as Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, ABC, NBC, HBO and ESPN in next year's fair and that increased support from OCS could make it happen.

Although OCS did provide peripheral support for the fair, the role of career counselors was minimal. According to HRTV President Jared E. Bush '97, OCS administrators primarily established contacts between individual companies and Media Fair coordinators. Bush said that while OCS provided necessary assistance with logistics, he hopes both OCS and the University itself will provide more support for the event next year.

But increased OCS support for the Media Fair may not be feasible under the office's current staffing system. Dana M. Curtis, assistant director of OCS, said career counselors concentrate on individual students, panel discussions and an established calendar of special events. Curtis said sponsoring the Media Fair outright would be a major undertaking and that OCS is currently incapable of shouldering the burden. While OCS does seem to concentrate more on investment banks and consulting firms, it has made the effort to focus more on other job opportunities this year. We encourage OCS to continue to move in this direction.

While Curtis described the Media Fair as requiring too much "time and energy" for OCS to manage, the office does assume responsibility for other career-oriented conferences, such as the Career Forum, a conglomeration of investment banking and consulting firms that recruit from the College each year. Curtis said the reason OCS focuses on these firms rather than media companies is that they have "consistently recruited a set number of candidates from the College" while job openings at media companies are more sporadic.

In order for OCS to truly provide access to a wide variety of careers, it should either incorporate the Media Fair into its Career Forum or else fully fund the Media Fair on its own terms.

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