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MTSU ‘BEST’ career fair a ‘win-win’ for students, employers

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Roger Kovalchik and Andrea Morrow, to his left, of the Hershey Co. meet with MTSU students to answer questions about career possibilities during the BEST Career Fair Monday inside the Student Union. Photo by Darby Campbell

After making the rounds speaking with representatives from companies ranging from the Hershey Co. to Walgreens to PepsiCo, MTSU senior Tyler Baker was pleased with his visit to the Business Exchange for Student Talent, or BEST, career fair inside the Student Union Ballroom.

“I definitely got a lot out of it,” said the senior marketing major, dressed in a gray business suit and just months away from graduation in May. “I went in and talked to several employers and potentially have a job lined up after about an hour of talking with several of the representatives.”

Fellow MTSU marketing major Joshua Dieckhaus, a junior, also felt his time was time well spent. Dieckhaus attended the event to polish his interviewing skills and perhaps get an inside track on an internship.

“The variety of companies is what really impressed me,” Dieckhaus said. “I mainly came for the practice and to get face-to-face interaction with someone who could possibly offer me an internship in the future.”

About 150 students visited with 40 prospective employers at last week’s networking event, many looking to hire for positions in management, marketing and sales in an improving economy, said Cliff Welborn, chair of the event and an associate professor of management in the Jones College of Business.

The three-hour event is structured as “speed networking,” meaning employers spoke with small groups of students every 15 minutes for the first two hours, with students moving from table to table. During the last hour, students had an opportunity to return to employers they met earlier for follow-up questions and discussion.

“We do this once a year in the spring,” Welborn said of the BEST format. “Ultimately, the real goal is to help students find employment. That’s why these employers are here; they’re here looking for talent. We try to connect them with good students. It’s a win-win situation when we can do that.”

Sponsored by Management and Marketing Department faculty, the event “is a highly anticipated event by employers because it is actually more than a standard career fair,” said Bill Fletcher, director of the MTSU Career and Development Center.

“Whether it is a good, bad or in-between economy, networking continues to be the number one method for securing employment,” Fletcher added.

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