Career Fair Attracts Potential Employers

Career Fair 2016

Each semester, Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s Career and Professional Services Office hosts a career fair on campus with the next one being April 20, 2017.  It is an opportunity for recruiters to seek out prospective interns and full-time employees as well as a chance for all cadets to learn about potential employers. In October, 250 individuals from 116 organizations gathered in the Alumni Gym for the 2016 Fall Career Fair.

This event is a “career” fair, not a “job” fair. “It is an opportunity for students to learn about organizations, industries, unions, branches of the military, and companies, and to become educated about what’s out there,” Maryanne Richards, director of shore-side career services at MMA, explains. Cadets are encouraged to attend career fairs beginning their freshman year, and they do. The October fair brought in more than 600 cadets. “There is a lot of energy in the gym,” Richards adds. “The recruiters are awesome, showcasing their company [to the cadets] and giving advice, while looking for talent to fill positions.”

Career Fair

 

 

 

 

The organizations that attend MMA’s career fairs have varying needs. Some recruiters are looking for interns or to fill immediate or upcoming full-time positions, and others come for visibility so that when they do have opportunities, cadets recognize them. Richards says, “Many are also educating students or simply giving advice — resume advice, career ideas, and so on — especially the alumni who return as recruiters.” Regardless of the motivation of organizations to attend, the appeal of the MMA cadet and graduate is undeniable. Richards says companies continue to seek MMA graduates because they are academically prepared and have leadership skills acquired through the Regiment of Cadets. They also are reliable, hard workers who are disciplined and have a great work ethic.

AN INSIDE LOOK

Stephen Hayes ’90 was once a cadet scoping out the possibilities of his future at the Academy career fairs. He landed at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton, Conn., where today he serves as an engineering manager. Electric Boat designs, builds, and provides life-cycle support for all of the U.S. Navy’s submarines. With seven locations, it is a company that is always on the hunt for talented engineers who demonstrate motivation, enthusiasm, sincerity, and a positive attitude. Hayes knows what it takes for a cadet to graduate from MMA. “Being a graduate, I understand the hard work, time management, and commitment required to complete the program,” he says. “All this allows an [MMA] graduate to do well at Electric Boat.”

This is why the company continues to attend the career fairs. It values the Academy’s learn-do-learn philosophy and has grown to expect employees from MMA to have time management and leadership qualities not normally found in graduates of other institutions. Perhaps that’s why Electric Boat currently employs some 70 Academy alumni — in roles at all levels. “MMA grads come in and hit the ground running,” Hayes says. Depending on the group he or she is working for, there could be very little learning curve for a new hire. Such was the case for fellow alumni who Hayes and a colleague oversaw during one specific project. “We had new engineers — three of whom were MMA grads — modifying or designing new systems in their first week on the job,” he says. “Within three months, they were presenting to upper management and representatives of the Navy.”

FINDING NEW TALENT

The career fair format allows organizations to conduct formal interviews with prospective employees the following day. “About 15 companies stayed on campus to interview for open positions,” Richards says. Electric Boat chose to do just that, interviewing 25 seniors for full-time positions upon graduation. Eight candidates were invited back to Connecticut for a more formal, on-site interview. A survey of the October 2016 career fair attendees revealed that 78 percent participate in the Academy’s career fair every year, with 91 percent identifying their primary focus as recruiting MMA cadets for some type of employment — full-time, part-time, co-op, or active-duty military or military reserves. Employers clearly like what they find at MMA, because nearly half reported that they hire Academy cadets every year.

To learn more about this months Career Fair please contact Mary Mulgrew at mmulgrew@maritime.edu or 508-830-6410.

This article was originally published in the Winter 2017 Enterprise Magazine.