CCOB job fair on the money in Money Week
By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau
What’s the best indicator of a successful job fair? How about this: Carol Schillne ran out of business cards.
For two hours Monday afternoon, the First Vice President of CBRE greeted a steady stream of Grand Canyon University students and talked with groups of them nonstop about her commercial real estate company.
The first job fair in the courtyard of the new Colangelo College of Business Building – an event strictly for professionals in the finance, banking and insurance industries – represented a perfect opportunity for employers to share what their industry is about and for students to walk up to just about any table and know they were targeting a company in their field.
It was the first-day capper to Money Week, which goes through Thursday and is designed to help students improve their financial literacy and, while they’re at it, look for ways to apply it in the job market.
The annual event features 20-minute talks, by CCOB instructors and industry professionals, designed to be “like speed dating for your wallet.”
The week kicked off Monday morning with talks on calculating your net worth and business formation/fundraising.
The schedule includes more talks by experts – for example, Todd Romer is founder of Young Money University (YMU) and the Young Money LIVE! Financial Success Speaking Tour. Another draw for students is a career panel discussion with representatives from Vanguard, Schwab and Merrill Lynch at 5 p.m. Tuesday in Room 180 of the CCOB Building.
But the centerpiece of the week was the job fair, and it was limited in scope because that’s the new focus of job fairs at GCU – far more of them, which means more employers than ever will be on campus.
“We wanted to get more intimate with the employers – smaller, more industry-specific job fairs rather than one big fair,” said Alexa Wennet, Supervisor of University Employer Outreach for Strategic Employer Initiatives and Internships. “We’re finding that by having the smaller ones, students are making better connections.”
That also means more workshops to make sure students are prepared. Wennet’s department regularly schools students on building a resume, having a business card and being properly dressed for a job interview, and the lessons were evident in the students’ attire.
Employers noticed. One student had researched the business before talking with the representative. Another spoke of the four jobs he’s working – in addition to going to college.
The students noticed the change in format, too. Senior business administration major Carly Smith appreciated getting to talk to company representatives in rapid-fire fashion and seeing how they compare and contrast.
“You can see the differences, which has been really amazing,” she said. “Each company kind of has their own goals and their own way of doing things, and yet it all still falls in the same industry. And there are different personalities at each table as well.”
Smith appreciates another aspect of CCOB: the focus on jobs. She notices it every time she talks with her professors or with administrators.
“Every time I see them, they’re encouraging about getting out there and meeting companies,” she said after talking with the CCOB dean, Dr. Randy Gibb, who went to talk with some company reps when he learned of where her job focus is. “They’re always willing to not only guide you and assist you when it comes to building a resume, when it comes to skills and what companies are looking for, but they will personally reach out to those companies on your behalf, and that’s amazing.
“You can tell they’re for you – GCU is for you.”
That holds true for online students as well. Monica Smith, working toward her MBA, likes what GCU and CCOB stand for and also was gratified that so many employers came out.
“The recruiters have really taken time to talk to students,” she said. “I’m hoping that they can see how the University has our pillars of integrity and entrepreneurship and they can really bank on that. I think our graduates would be a very good addition to any team.”
Yes, they saw that.
“I’m always super impressed with the caliber of students,” said Schillne, whose son Cole is a sophomore at GCU. She also is a member of the CCOB advisory board.
Schillne took the opportunity Monday to educate as well as recruit.
“It’s a great industry for young people to get into because when I advise a client what they’re going to do with commercial space for the next 10 years, who’s going to use that space? Millennials,” she said. “It’s a neat industry. It’s a little less emotional than residential real estate.
“I don’t think most kids know what commercial real estate is. When they think of real estate, they think of flipping houses on HGTV.”
Dan Skellan had a similar experience at the New York Life table – a chance to inform a lot of students in a short time. The crush was so intense, he was talking with someone “the whole time. I keep getting little sips of water here and there, but that’s about it.”
Gibb noted that businesses have a variety of needs, which means they need a variety of employees. But keeping the focus tight worked well.
“I think it keeps it to a better size. It keeps it more topical,” he said.
Once again, Money Week cashed in.
Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or [email protected].