Students came by bus, by foot, by car. They came by the hundreds, by more than a thousand, by almost two thousand, in lines that stretched well outside the Monroe Convention Center, packing all available inside areas.
They came for job opportunities and human connections and found it, and more, at the Sept. 20 Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering’s Fall Career Fair.
“It’s very crowded, but so is the job market,” said Keerti Hegbe, a second-year master’s student in human-computer interactions who had come from the IU-Indianapolis campus. “We’ll see what happens and if we can make our chances come true.”
The large turnout didn’t faze informatics major Pavan Idnani.
“I’m trying to network with as many people as possible,” he said. “I want to put myself out there. I love to talk to people, see all the interesting things they do and what they’re working on.
“The technology side of things is ever evolving. To hear what companies are doing is mind blowing.”
The fair was a big hit for the 1,671 participating students and well over a hundred company recruiters (including many Luddy alumni) from all over the Midwest. The 69 participating companies were highlighted by gold-sponsor employers Deloitte Consulting, Grainger, Marine Corps Officer Programs Bloomington, IN, ServiceNow, TRIMEDX and Walmart & Sam’s Club.
“It’s intimidating in the sense that there are so many people and you’re trying to make a good impression,” said Grant Holloway, a senior computer science major, “but it’s fun because there are a lot of people to talk to and a lot of opportunities.”
For Palavi Patil, a data science master’s student attending a career fair for the first time, intimidation mixed with motivation.
“There are so many people applying that I need to be on my toes, keep looking and be very proactive,” she said.
The large number of students and employers showcased Luddy Career Services’ impressive efforts to help students.
“Our goal is to put opportunity in front of our students,” said Macy Harmon, senior associate director of employer relations. “We know we have incredible employers who are looking for the talent Luddy generates every year. Our goal is to match those two.”
It sometimes leads to unexpected benefits.
“Students will come up with a specific company targeted,” Harmon said, “and then meet a company that was not on their radar, and an opportunity presents itself. Having students increase their awareness of what’s going on in the job market and the skills companies are looking for is very exciting.”
Deloitte Consulting technology consultant Brendan Miller, a 2020 Luddy informatics graduate who worked for two years in Career Services, shared that excitement. He said Luddy students’ edge in technology and humanity makes them great fits for Deloitte, an international accounting and professional services firm.
“We’re looking for students at the intersection of business and technology,” Miller said. “Luddy informatics students fit that bill perfectly.”
“The creative problem solving and technical skills they bring are second to none,” Miller said. “That’s what keeps us coming back.”
Shane Brazeal, a director at KPMG, echoed that sentiment. KPMG is another large international accounting and professional services firm.
“The skillset Luddy students have aligns well with what they learn in the classroom and how they apply that to business problems,” he said. “It meshes with what KPMG does from a consulting standpoint.”
Brazeal said KPMG’s ideal candidate is a well-balanced student who relates to clients, one with a consultant-like personality who understands how to find technical solutions to business problems.
“A lot of Luddy students have that good understanding of both worlds -- technical and business,” Brazeal said. “You take the technical side and apply it to real-world problems.”
Aayush Jaiswal, a data science master’s student, has that understanding. He said his profile fit one of the participating companies “perfectly” and was excited about the opportunity. This was his third career fair.
“The first time was intimidating, but now I know have the knowledge about how things work. I feel more confident.”
Luddy’s Career Fair is a prime recruiting stop for Resultant, an Indianapolis-based consulting firm that focuses on technology, data analytics and digital transformation.
“We’ve had a great partnership with Luddy for a while with a variety of their programs,” said recruiter Luke Wehner. “We specialize in technical fields. We like undergraduate programs that are focused on those skillsets.
“We recruit a lot of Luddy students into our business intelligence, data science, data analytics areas. They are very prepared to step in and work with our clients. They mesh well with our culture and who we are as a company.”
In the end, for students and recruiters, it came down to finding the right fit.
“I’m trying to find a company compatible with my informatics background,” Idnani said. “I have quite a bit of coding knowledge, and want to transfer that to the real world. I hope to find a technology consulting position that will allow me to expand those skills and meet a ton of great people.”
Thanks to the Luddy Career Fair, that hope might become reality.