More than 500 Georgia Tech students turned out for the opportunity to meet with executives from industry-leading companies at the 10th annual Biotechnology Career Fair. The fair was held at the MS&E building on September 11, and was attended by representatives from more than two dozen companies including Procter & Gamble, Medtronic and Johnson & Johnson.
“This year’s fair was the largest we’ve had since we began offering it a decade ago,” said event organizer Sally Gerrish, who manages student, alumni and industrial relations at Georgia Tech. “It’s a much-needed opportunity for both our undergrad and graduate students to get valuable face time with some of the top players in the field. We’re very pleased with the success of this year’s event.”
The event was open to all students, regardless of major, who have an interest in the field of biomedical engineering. Many of the companies with representatives at the fair were there to meet with potential interns, full-time job candidates, or both.
“I was incredibly impressed with the students I met at the career fair, not only because of their intelligence but because of how dedicated they were to investing in their futures,” said Ken Zielmanski, Director of Quality Assurance for T3, a pre-clinical testing and training provider. “I met with about 50 students and my colleague met with another 50, and we wished we had positions to offer all of them.”
Zielmanski explains that with so many capable candidates, his company believes it’s important that applicants are able to excel not only as an individual, but as part of a team.
“Knowledge and intelligence are important, of course, but candidates for jobs and internships with our company have to be able to work successfully with an entire group of people,” Zielmanski said. “A ‘team-player’ mentality is key to succeeding in any career in biotechnology.”
For participating students, the career fair was a chance to make connections, ask questions, and personally deliver their resumes to some of the most knowledgeable professionals in the biotechnology industry.
“I’m in my fifth year at Georgia Tech, and I’ve come to realize that networking is one of the most important skills you can develop, regardless of your area of study,” said undergraduate BME student Allison Kramer. “I try to attend as many events like the career fair as possible, and make notes about who I met and what we talked about. That personal connection may one day be what sets your resume apart from all of the other applications in the pile.”
Kramer hopes to secure a full-time job after graduation and study for her graduate degree while working.
“Advancing in my career is my number one priority,” said Kramer. “My dream would be to get a job at one of the amazing companies that took part in the career fair, and pursue a higher degree while also building up my work experience.”
For the university, events like the career fair play a pivotal role in strengthening relationships with industry powerhouses. They’re relationships that prove beneficial to all parties—the company, the university and the students.
“By working directly with top companies in the biotech industry, we’re able to give our students advance notice of job openings and offer important connections that aid them during their job search,” said Gerrish. “The companies benefit from accessing our talented pool of candidates for internships and full-time jobs, and many times those students go on to climb the ranks to upper-level positions. That means our alumni base grows even stronger.”
In the weeks leading up to the career fair, the college hosted panel discussions with Georgia Tech alumni, corporate information sessions, and professional development seminars for both undergraduate and graduate students. Students who attended were able to submit their resume to a Student Resume Database, which was accessible exclusively to the companies that registered for the fair.
Gerrish hopes to continue to grow the size and scale of the career fair in years to come.
Written by Chris Calleri