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Small Biz Connector: A new breed of career fair

Areas of Study , Entrepreneurship , Entrepreneurship Society , Event Recaps , Stories Student Organizations & Clubs | Apr 11, 2012 |

by Brendan Francolini

Sure, last month’s Small Biz Connector was a career fair. But it was designed to be different from most Fordham career fairs.

Geared for students interested in entrepreneurship and the process of getting a new business off the ground, the fair drew more than 30 small and mid-sized companies.

The recruiters behind each table weren’t the usual human-resources cast of characters.

They weren’t actually recruiters at all.

They were CEOs and others who run the companies.

And with them, they brought more then 50 full-time, part-time, and internship positions available to Fordham students.

Organized by entrepreneurship professor Christine Janssen-Selvadurai, and co-sponsored by career services and the Fordham University Entrepreneurship Society, the Small Biz Connector included a wider selection of internships — especially ones open to freshmen and sophomores — than most Fordham career fairs, which are primarily useful to juniors and seniors in search of full-time jobs. Age and experience were less important for these company heads, who often were just getting their business off the ground themselves.

The fair pleased students further by giving them the opportunity to interact directly with the people they might one day work for. In this smaller and more personalized setting, conversations were less structured. Students and company owners focused less on credentials and more about discovering if someone was the right fit.

The Small Biz Connector’s biggest perk, though, was in the kinds of positions available. Bosses at these small companies — where every employee counts — were not looking for people who could get them coffee and make photocopies. They sought candidates who could become active members of a growing business organism.

Students who attended said they would like to see more of these type of career fairs in the future. As the Gabelli School of Business entrepreneurship continues to take off, chances are they will.

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