By Andrew Huang, Student Writer
San Diego, Calif., Nov. 2. -- The 7th annual Professional Evening with Industry was the largest one yet, with a record 21 sponsoring companies and more than 800 registered students. The event, which featured a yearly career fair and professional mixer to bridge the gap between students and industry, took place Nov. 2.
Along with its corporate sponsor, cloud computing company Salesforce, this year’s Professional Evening with Industry was jointly organized by the UC San Diego chapters of the Society of Women Engineers, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and the National Society of Black Engineers. All three organizations fall under the umbrella of the Jacobs School of Engineering’s IDEA Student Center, which is committed to fostering diversity and engagement amongst female and minority engineering students at UC San Diego.
“The purpose of the program is to bring career opportunities and professional networking to our members,” said SHPE President and computer engineering senior Alex Buitimea. “It’s easy to lose yourself in a big career fair and this should give a one-on-one feel between members and recruiters. On top of that, the company sponsors that come help fund our events throughout the quarter for project meetings and outreach development.”
For this fair, the organizations had a Professional Evening with Industry prep event to practice your sales pitch, educate yourself on the companies, and work on resumes, said SWE Vice President Internal Hyesoo Kim, a bioengineering junior. “I definitely want to make sure the representatives remember me. Job fairs are a lot of stress for me, but at the end of the day, I feel pretty accomplished being able to hold a conversation with company reps.”
“We always hear students saying that they got internships because of this career fair and that’s really what we want to see,” said Emily Goble, a bioengineering junior in and SWE vice president of external relations.
Justin Nzechi Nwaokoro, a computer engineering senior, noted the event’s relatively calm and relaxed atmosphere compared to the crowded 2015 Fall Science & Technology Career Fair held last month. Thanks to shorter lines and wait times at the Professional Evening with Industry, fifth-year electrical engineering student Sam Fakour said he was able to talk to more companies and expressed high hopes for obtaining an internship, particularly with Boeing. Junior Jahya Burke, a student who switched majors from environmental engineering to electrical engineering, was excited to learn more about industry while practicing her professional development skills during the night.
For chemical engineering junior Lucero Lopez, this was the second Professional Evening with Industry. While there weren’t as many companies geared toward her interests, Lopez practiced networking with a host of recruiters from companies such as Dropbox and Optimizely. “I talked to industry reps last year and they told me to go in there with an open mind about the positions offered,” she said. “Right now, I really wanted to talk to Genentech because they have a lot of satellite companies that will let me work in different environments. Professional Evening with Industry is such a great event because it caters to so many different majors, and I see more and more women and younger members every year. Plus, you get to talk to industry reps as actual people and the exposure is so important.”
Masud Rahman, a junior majoring in mathematics and computer science, said the event gave him the opportunity meet with several companies, including those that he had talked to during past events. “It was a really good experience. Anyone can apply to jobs online, but actually interacting with recruiters face-to-face is a whole different dynamic,” Rahman said. “Being able to communicate and show that you’re consistent gives you a huge leg up. I personally want to start as a software engineer and go to business school, and hopefully get to help out the community after graduation.”
After a casual networking session over dinner, Jacobs School of Engineering Dean Albert P. Pisano formally welcomed the participants. He and several other club officers praised the hard work that made this and other events possible.
“There is no bigger, mightier engineering machine than this, and it’s all you people who make it possible,” Pisano said. “Thank you to the industry that supports us, and thank you to the spectacular students.
Afterward, Ayesha Mazumdar, a recent UC San Diego graduate and full-time Salesforce engineer, took the stage as the event’s keynote speaker. She recounted her experiences as a computer science undergraduate and the challenges she faced to reach her current position.
“Two years ago, I was actually sitting where you all are now currently sitting, watching my now-coworker give the keynote address,” Mazumdar said. “So far, my experience working full-time now has been amazing. I frequently find myself appreciating just how much I love my job.”
One of the keys to being successful, she added, is ensuring you have a passion for your work.
“When you find it, don’t let it go easily,” Mazumdar said. “Fight for it, and be persistent in talking to the right people. In any internship, there is no such thing as too many questions because that’s the reason companies hire you. They want to help you learn and gain experience for scenarios that classes simply can’t reproduce. You’re being hired based on your ability to learn.”
She closed her speech by encouraging students to take advantage of the unique opportunities UC San Diego offers to meet new people, to try new things and to be spontaneous.
After the closing remarks, sponsor representatives took up positions at booths spread throughout PC Ballroom West. They mingled with throngs of students eager to present their resumes and introduce themselves in the hopes of landing a coveted internship position. Many of the prospective applicants had spent time researching the sponsors and preparing resumes in advance.
Participating companies at the event included file hosting service Dropbox, Inc., defense company Leidos, telecommunications company ViaSat, along with Intel, Cisco, Boeing, and TriTech Software Systems, and many others. This year’s event planning committee was comprised of four external representatives from each of the three student organizations putting on the event. They contacted prospective sponsors throughout the summer. Derek Van de Streek, the NSBE Community Relations Representative, said how the event exceeded expectations and hopefully would grow in the coming years.