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

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

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
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.

Sep 19, 2010

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

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.

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Sep 19, 2010

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

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

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

    • 1
Sep 25, 2010

Then if OCR isnt a good way to getting a job or internship, and online submission is pretty useless how does one get a job even if you DO go to a target school?

All you have left is alumni and cold calling/email

Sep 25, 2010

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."

Sep 25, 2010

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

Do it if you can get in, but fairs require school ID (at least for Cal Berkeley and UC Davis) so you better know a friend who looks like you.

I've been thinking about crashing Cal's too.

Sep 25, 2010

If its possible, why not. I dont think too many of the schools students would like it if they were to find out.

Sep 25, 2010

I'm considering going down to yale or wesleyan. I assume I'd be hated on pretty bad.

Sep 25, 2010

anyone else?

  •  Sep 25, 2010

dude, your trying to get a job, not get in with the yale club. people know that and those that hate on know now will respect you. If they don't, what does it matter... Be respectful, interesting, and aggressive.

Sep 25, 2010

In all honesty, career fairs don't mean anything. You're just going to be handing in your resume with the other 1000's of students. What you

Sep 25, 2010

hmmm

  •  Sep 25, 2010

Actually, these "closed door" presentations should be pretty easy to get into. I was an MIT undergrad, and really anyone could walk into any of our presentations.

The toughest part would be playing the role of a student at that respective school. You can expect a good number of the presenters to be alums of that college. If you're chatting with them afterward, hopefully they won't ask any pointed questions about your college experience.

Sep 25, 2010

Not a bad idea. Might be something to give a shot.

Sep 25, 2010

At Penn State, they have you register and get a name tag, so I dont know how easy it is to get into a career fair like that, but other than getting a business card, the career fair isn't all that beneficial. They usually just say to apply online or something like that (at least for internships most places did that). As was said, your best bet are the info sessions.

Sep 25, 2010

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
Hybrid:

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

That may be true, but would it make any difference? I would still have to apply online which brings me back to square one.

So the spin off to my first question is Are Info Sessions Worth It?

What about applying for jobs through the school's job site? Does that raise flags? Should it be stated outright? Where would be a good place to mention the disparity?

Sep 25, 2010

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

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

Go for it. I ended up getting an offer out of attending an info session at another school.

Sep 25, 2010

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

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

Go for it! I know of some people who came to my school's career fair, and employers were more than happy to talk to them (Don't know if they landed interviews though). Also, get the recruiter's contact details, and follow-up with them. This shows that your serious, and it'll help you get your name out there.

Sep 25, 2010

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

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.

Sep 25, 2010

It won't hurt. But don't expect too much from that either.

Sep 25, 2010

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

if you can get in and get yourself in front of them a lot of them would actually respect the hard work/perseverance.

Sep 25, 2010

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.

Sep 25, 2010

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

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

Sep 25, 2010

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

Sep 25, 2010

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

i wouldnt try this. you ll look like a dipshit

Sep 25, 2010
WellsFargoBaker:

i wouldnt try this. you ll look like a dipshit

ignorant

Sep 25, 2010

.

'Before you enter... be willing to pay the price'

Sep 25, 2010

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

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

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.

Sep 25, 2010

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.

Sep 25, 2010

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
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Sep 25, 2010