Going to another schools career fair this friday...will I have problems getting in?

Hey all,

I am going to try to attend Columbia's career fair this coming Friday , as there is one BB, and a few boutiques recruiting there (for IB analyst positions).

Just some background info: I went to a non-target, graduated with a non-finance related degree (enginerring major, been working as an engineer for about 8 months now) so I am going to tihs event for networking opportunities.

Anyways, the website says students are strongly suggested to register but not required and its in a "student center" type of common area. You think I will have problems getting in? Obviously I will be dressed business formal as required, and I have a friend who goes to Columbia and she said if necessary we can just say i'm her "guest" and that just tagging along with her.

I am trying to attack this networking angle as much as possible, and I have been reading going "to another schools career fair" definitely gives you the advantage of separating yourself from the rest of the kids at the fair.

Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Regards,
D

Going to another school's career fair

Employers at career fairs are collecting resumes and making themselves visible. You can do the same thing by showing up to the career fair and dropping off your resume. You may get some odd looks but you have nothing to lose.

If you go prepared you may come out of the career fair with a meaningful connection. Hand your resume to the recruiter, chat, and ask to follow up later. Once you have their information just send a follow-up email to let them know you're serious. Ideally, you'll find someone who actually works in banking as opposed to human resources.

Key Takeaways

  • If you prepare, and seek out opportunities to network you may get a positive outcome. However, you should keep your expectations low.

from certified user wolfy

Dude, go. I've done it. Got interviews from MIT. Ask the recruiter for permission first and show respect for those who go to the school (let them go first). Biggest mistake of my life was waiting for a Bloomberg-type interview at MIT, then a PhD doesn't show up for the BCG interview. BCG guy asks me if I'm him.
Had I been up to par with cases, I would have said, let's do it -- it's his loss, then told him who I was + given him my resume at the end.
.

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Comments (54)

 
Sep 19, 2010 - 11:34am

id go for it! whats the worst they can say, no? if you are able to get in it can show some true diligence and may in fact impress employers. just ask them if they can help you get in touch with the right people...since they may be thrown off guard that your not a columbia student but fuck it!

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” - Albert Einstein
 
Sep 19, 2010 - 11:40am

As weird as this sounds, I would ask your friend to get you an ID card from one of her friends. Many kids from my school like to crash the career fairs at Berkeley, Stanford, UCLA, and USC and they almost always get carded. However, if you know someone that has no interest in Finance, yet looks vaguely like you, then you can sneak in as him. From our experience, the recruiters will admire your dedication when you tell them how you got in to the event.

"If you can count your money, you don't have a billion dollars." - J. Paul Getty
 
Sep 25, 2010 - 9:28am

San Franciscan:
As weird as this sounds, I would ask your friend to get you an ID card from one of her friends. Many kids from my school like to crash the career fairs at Berkeley, Stanford, UCLA, and USC and they almost always get carded. However, if you know someone that has no interest in Finance, yet looks vaguely like you, then you can sneak in as him. From our experience, the recruiters will admire your dedication when you tell them how you got in to the event.
I think the concept of breaking into another campus' career fair as a way of showing "dedication" or "persistence" is over-hyped. It may make human resources folks all gitty as they are into that kind of stuff, but once your resume lands in the stack you'll still be facing the same odds as you did when you started. I'd save yourself the effort.

Also, as mentioned above, career fairs are rarely used by employers to identify good candidates. It is used as a way of collecting resumes and spreading the employer's "pitch." Usually whoever is attending on the behalf of the employer has absolutely no interest in being there and won't even report out as to who they thought were good candidates.

CompBanker

 
Sep 19, 2010 - 12:04pm

You'll be able to get in. Remembering last year's though, non-Columbians were allowed to come in later, say after 1 PM. By that time there was a line of about 1/4 mile (not even kidding) to get in... I might be confusing it with the Engineering fair, though.
Good luck when you're there, cause last year was crazy and didn't do a lot for me.

 
Sep 19, 2010 - 8:02pm

When I interned, the on-campus recruiting manager told us some horror stories from interviews, career fairs, etc, etc. One of these involved a kid sneaking into a career fair for a target school. I'm not saying it won't work, but you could end up the butt of some HR flack's joke. Make sure you bring your A-game and are 100% prepared with a good answer for why you're there.

There have been many great comebacks throughout history. Jesus was dead but then came back as an all-powerful God-Zombie.
 
Sep 19, 2010 - 8:16pm

Career fairs are a joke. As someone involved in the hiring process at a big firm, I assure you that the individuals representing the companies have little to no hiring authority. The objective of fairs is principally to relay the companies' PR to students that they can easily get off the company website. Don't waste your time here.

 
Sep 24, 2010 - 8:33pm

Do you know what sucks is that I was planning to do the same thing. I found out about their career fair and I was planning on getting there earlier and waiting in the bathroom, or find a friend that went there.

But I chickend out, and didn go, because I self-selected myself out, I said I didnt have what it takes, my resume stinks and I will just get rejected etc.

So I didnt go, and now i regret it. Lesson learned.

 
Sep 24, 2010 - 11:15pm

I did not get into the event, I got into the building (via a friends ID scan), but I did not have an ID to register for the event (although I was excessively prepared for all the firms I wanted to speak with)

Oh well, I ended up just going to the boutiques' actual locations in NY that I was interested in and dropped off my resume/cover letter in person (with a resistance, but I managed).

Along the way, I was pretty bummed out, however I randomly met a SVP from MS in Consulting (thank you WSO networking guide, network with everyone, underestimate no one!!!) and he hand delivered my cover letter/resume to one of the boutiques I was interested in (it was on the floor below his at a certain building). I don't know how well this worked but I am hoping for the best.

Life is tough when decided to go to a non-target in highschool. But i'll keep hustling to make this happen, B-school or no Bschool.

Good luck to all during the recruiting season (even though your my competition).

Regards,
D

Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis - when I was dead broke man I couldn't picture this
  • 1
 
Sep 25, 2010 - 7:38pm

OCR is a great way to get a job or an internship. I said career fairs are not. Note that OCR is very different from "online resume submission."

CompBanker

 
Sep 25, 2010 - 7:56pm

You're not going to be able to "network" at career fairs. Too many people.

Say hello, say what you're interested in, and give them your resume.

 
Sep 25, 2010 - 8:08pm

Going to target school's career fairs (Originally Posted: 11/15/2009)

I am attending a non target school, but my sister graduated from a target school (NYU). She gave me access to her school's career center account so that I can see when the banks are coming to campus and I was thinking of going. Do you think that would be a good idea or would I get shut out at the door.
Frankly I have no other sources to tap into -- my school has 5 alums at IB's, all doing tech, and I've tapped into all of the connections I know personally. Grades are good, I have lots of back office experience, investing clubs, etc. but I want to break into front office.

 
Sep 25, 2010 - 8:09pm

You have nothing to lose. As long as you're professional about it, I think most people would respect your drive.

I would approach the recruiters and explain to them up front that you aren't from a target school but that you were very interested in learning more. Be sure to have your resume ready just in case.

 
Sep 25, 2010 - 8:10pm

from my experience, career fairs (nyu in particular as i am a stern grad) do not help at all. AT ALL. but i guess going couldn't hurt? employer presentations on campus may be a little bit more helpful but even those... not very promising.

best strategy as a nontarget is to reach out to alumni. nontarget alumni networks tend to be much stronger and th alum are usually more willing to help out because they remember how hard it was. target school alumni not so much because there are hundreds of thousands out there and see each other as competition instead

 
Sep 25, 2010 - 8:11pm

You can give it a shot but don't expect much. Some recruiters get annoyed, some don't care. I personally wouldn't care if I went to my alma mater and some nontarget kid gave me his resume. It wouldn't do much though because most of the interviews given out are after the students apply on the school job site.

 
Sep 25, 2010 - 8:14pm

I was in the same boat earlier this semester. No banks come to my school, so I drove to a target for some information sessions/career fairs. Overall, I got pretty positive reactions. No one was a complete dick, although some looked at me funny. Others thought it was cool and showed my drive to get into IB.

The job I ultimately ended up accepting is a result of me doing this, so I'm a high proponent of it. Just go into it expecting the worse though so you don't feel crushed if it doesnt work out.

As to applying through the school's website, I would think this is impossible given you don't go there. Most the ones I have seen are password protected and even if you sign in as your sister, that seems pretty Jeffrey Chiang-ish.

 
Sep 25, 2010 - 8:15pm

Don't apply through the school's job site, that crosses a line and takes an interview away from someone at the school, the alumni won't like that.

The info sessions are worth it if you spend the time to network and get your name out there. If you connect with an analyst or recruiter, let them know when you apply online and if they really did like you/ are impressed with your qualifications, your chances of an interview increase dramatically.

 
Sep 25, 2010 - 8:17pm

go for it. I've met analysts/associates at recruiting events that will take resumes if you're from a non-target. And if you are actually from that target they just tell you to drop your resume in the resume drop. Even if they merely glance at it, then your efforts will be worth it.

 
Sep 25, 2010 - 8:18pm

Just don't be an idiot. There was this kid from a local state school that came to our info session (European BB, not Barclays) and said he went to X state school (non-target for FO) and then asked "So how is your merger with Lehman going?" It was myself, 2 MDs and 2 HR people... I swear I started loosening my collar, it was that awkward. Someone tried to steer the conversation from there, but when told that wasn't our bank he responded with "Oh right, Barclays, I'm going to that info session next!" It was just unbelievable.

This probably has no relation to you, I just wanted to tell this ridiculous story.

You are likely going to be given less leeway since you are sort of crashing it, and you'll really need to impress them. Don't be like that guy haha, because I'm sure he was blacklisted.

Jack: They’re all former investment bankers who were laid off from that economic crisis that Nancy Pelosi caused. They have zero real world skills, but God they work hard. -30 Rock
 
Sep 25, 2010 - 8:20pm

I just looked up Chiang's story. That's incredible!

I will definitely avoid applying through the career website and will try to make appearances in person.

In the end, will I have to apply through their websites like all other non target students?

 
Sep 25, 2010 - 8:21pm

Infiltratrating Career Fairs That Are Not At Your School (Originally Posted: 07/11/2011)

So I go to a non-target where banks only recruit for MO or BO positions. There are a couple of target schools in my area that I'm sure banks recruit for IB and S & T.

If I found out when they were having a career fair and somehow smuggled myself into the room, would recruiters talk to me? Or would they say get the fuck out you jeffrey chiang-esque motherfucker?

I'm seriously considering this by the way.

"The problem with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other peoples money" - Margaret Thatcher
  • 1
 
Sep 25, 2010 - 8:23pm

Word thanks man I needed to hear some confirmation that this was not that dumb of an idea. If it works it will certainly make for a good story. I'm fucking doing it.

"The problem with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other peoples money" - Margaret Thatcher
 
Sep 25, 2010 - 8:24pm

Definitely go for it, I was reading the Mergers & Inquisitions page about go to the diversity recruiting events for women gays etc as a straight male haha

good luck!

If the glove don't fit, you must acquit!
 
Sep 25, 2010 - 8:25pm

Wow, I am in the same situation and that is one of the best ideas that I've heard! I hope you don't mind if I try use this tactic

"History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme."
 
Sep 25, 2010 - 8:26pm

My girlfriend is going to what seems to be a career fair for veterans ;x

Array

 
Sep 25, 2010 - 8:27pm

Dude, go. I've done it. Got interviews from MIT. Ask the recruiter for permission first and show respect for those who go to the school (let them go first). Biggest mistake of my life was waiting for a Bloomberg-type interview at MIT, then a PhD doesn't show up for the BCG interview. BCG guy asks me if I'm him.

Had I been up to par with cases, I would have said, let's do it -- it's his loss, then told him who I was + given him my resume at the end.

You never know. Also: You will meet kids who are doing the same exact thing and you become great friends.

Just go.

 
Sep 25, 2010 - 8:32pm

.

'Before you enter... be willing to pay the price'
 
Sep 25, 2010 - 8:30pm

Do it man. I went into an engineering career fair to talk to a company. They ended up offering me a full -time position and I only interviewed for an internship. Worst case scenario... you walk home, get drunk, and nothing has changed...

 
Sep 25, 2010 - 8:31pm

Do it

While not the same situation, my boss (not at the time) seemed grumpy on the initial cold call for an internship so I pretty much scratched it off the list. A month later, I shoot a cold email following up and I get an interview. He tells me he liked my determination and offered me the gig

 
Sep 25, 2010 - 8:33pm

Going to college career fair as an alum (Originally Posted: 07/27/2011)

This is pretty embarrassing, but anyways, I've been out of college for some time (top 10 school) but am very unhappy with my current job and looking for something else. It's been very tough finding another finance job in this market, and I don't really have enough connections to leverage. So I recently talked to a career counselor at my alma mater, and he said that alums are welcome to attend the fall career fair, which gets lots of financial firms. He said that most of them are probably looking to fill entry-level jobs, but if you're ok with that, it's totally fine to go.

Aside from the awkwardness of being the oldest attendee there, do you guys think this could be worth the effort? Or is it useless for an alumni to attend?

 
Sep 25, 2010 - 8:34pm

What have you to lose? Embarrassing? Who care, if it fails you will never see these people ever again. If not you've landed yourself a job you enjoy. Simples.

"After you work on Wall Street it’s a choice, would you rather work at McDonalds or on the sell-side? I would choose McDonalds over the sell-side.” - David Tepper
 
Sep 25, 2010 - 8:35pm

I did this out of curiosity last year and got inteviews and an offer. It can't hurt. They meet so many people so quickly that they aren't keeping track of the details.

Plus, you have a job, so this works to your advantage if you use it as a bargaining chip.

Get busy living
 
Sep 25, 2010 - 8:36pm

When you say that you have been out of school for "some time" how long has it been? Are you 2 years out or 10 years out? If you are 2 years out, firms will probably be ok with considering you for entry level positions. 10 years might be more of a stretch. Either way, it can't hurt to check it out.

 
Sep 25, 2010 - 8:37pm
Get busy living
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