The lobby of Engineering Hall was bustling with excitement last week as 240 employers met face to face with hundreds of job-seeking students. Career Connection, an annual event co-sponsored by the Polygon Engineering Council and Engineering Career Services, provides employers with the opportunity to talk with UW-Madison engineering students in an informal setting, prior to the on campus interview process. This year’s event, which ran September 18-22, attracted a record number of companies with a total of nearly 1,000 recruiting representatives vying to attract outstanding graduates.
“Each year we exceed capacity and are forced to turn some employers away,” said Engineering Career Services Director Sandra Arnn. “This strong drive to meet our students certainly acknowledges the exceptional academic preparation of our engineering candidates from co-ops through doctoral candidates.”
Fortune 500 companies such as Intel, 3M, Microsoft, Kimberly Clark, Walt Disney World and Ford attended the event, as did many local employers such as Datex-Ohmeda, Artesyn, Marshall Erdman & Associates and Nicolet Instruments. Several national research labs were also represented.
“The University of Wisconsin-Madison is one of the top engineering campuses in the nation,” said Tom Shambeau, a supervising engineer at John Deere and 1979 UW-Madison College of Engineering graduate. “We are a Fortune 100 corporation looking for tip-top employees and we know that we can find them here. The students here are well prepared and they have the qualifications we’re looking for.”
The company might well have been looking for students like senior industrial engineering major Elizabeth Devina, who, armed with a stack of resumes, began her job hunting months before she graduates next May. “I’m looking for a full-time job and this is a great place to look,” said Devina after she finished visiting with Elizabeth Haro, a senior industrial engineer at Disney Worldwide Services, Inc. Haro explained that engineers support the resorts in many ways, including capacity, labor, transportation and simulation studies.
“The reputation of the industrial engineering program as one of the top 10 in the nation attracted us because we add anywhere from 15 to 25 industrial engineers per semester,” said Penny Underwood, a Disney recruiter. “Last summer, we hired two full-time employees from UW-Madison and we’re very, very happy with them.”
Several local companies were also looking to hire UW-Madison students. The representatives from Berbee, a Madison-based E-business consulting firm, had seen almost 50 students in the first few hours of the event. “Engineering students are attractive to Berbee because of their ability to solve problems,” said Marilyn Westmas, a member of Berbee’s People Department. “We’re willing to train these students because they just have some innate skills that are really important in our business.”