Students, SPE & Career Services Work Hard to Ensure Successful Winter Career Treks
By Aaron Toomey '14 | january, 2013, Issue 1
First-year Booth students ventured from Shanghai to the Bay Area to New York to London as part of winter career treks during November and December. While second-years navigated the snowy slopes of Telluride, Colo., most of the class below them spent Dec. 16 to Dec. 22 navigating office parks, unfamiliar train systems and informational interviews.
According to one estimate from Career Services, hundreds of students will have visited 14 cities across the globe as part of student organized career treks this year. Over 100 first-years were in New York alone last month as part of marketing, retail, sales and trading, investment management and banking treks organized by student groups and the Student Programming and Events (SP&E) office.
Many students may have noticed Career Services representatives tagging along for the ride. While the vast majority of career treks are student-initiated and planned, Career Services plays an active role in the process.
"We see great value in these treks and want to support students, which is a big part of the reason we attend," said Career Services' Melanie Scarlata.
Career Services also serves to help manage and improve relationships with employers.
"The treks are a great way for students pursuing positions away from on-campus recruiting to see those firms," said Melanie Scarlata.
One student who attended the Tech Trek agreed: "Many of the companies we visited don't come to campus, so Career Services was there to strengthen relations with corporate recruiting teams and drum up long-term interest in Booth talent."
In addition to improving the Booth brand, the value to students of visiting firms in their place of business cannot be overstated.
"These visits are a great way for students to express interest in a firm and find out more about a company on their own turf," says Melanie Scarlata. "It's one thing to stand in a room with 100 of your peers, and a completely different thing to be in the office and see how the firm actually functions."
First-year investment banking recruit James Hardiman '14 shares that sentiment.
"The entire experience certainly helped me construct and reorder my 'best bank for me' list," he said.
The process also provides a great opportunity for students to make traction with firms they may have failed to make a connection with during the fall. One first-year noted that he had failed to gain invites for any closed events for Citibank during the fall, but was able make significant progress during his career trek.
"I résumé dropped for an on-site informational to take place during Bank Week and was asked to come into the office," he said. "I met five bankers during my 2.5 hour informational and had great conversations. In January I was close-listed for an on-campus interview."
Benefits like these are the results of hundreds of hours of hard work by dedicated student group leaders.
First-year Sophia Stone helped coordinate and lead the retail trek to New York this year.
"It was a lot of work, but completely worth missing the ski trip!" Sophia said. "It was huge for us because retail companies don't really come to campus. Many of these companies hire MBAs but don't have the resources to come out to Chicago."
With 85 percent of interns reporting last year that their summer position was Booth-facilitated, treks play a significant role in networking and securing summer employment for students. The tireless efforts of student group leaders and faculty in the Career Services and SP&E offices continue to make this possible, and the fun doesn't stop now that the winter break is over. Treks to Africa, Latin America, and Miami, among others, are still on the horizon.