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Virtual Recruitment Drives GSB’s Career Development Center

Graduate Personal & Professional Development | Jun 01, 2020 |

By Marianne Fulgenzi

While the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted businesses throughout the country and globally, the work of the Career Development Center at the Gabelli School of Business has utilized new platforms and technologies to connect students at the graduate level with employers and the Gabelli School’s network of 40,000 alumni.

“To a certain extent, the pandemic really hasn’t impacted what we do, but it has changed the ways we do things,” said Maricel Piriz, associate director of corporate partnerships. Throughout an average year, the CDC staff reaches out to employers and alumni partners on a regular and ongoing basis. Their task – finding positions for adults about to receive graduate-level degrees – can be a difficult one, since mid-level and senior positions are extremely competitive. 

Nathan Sheets, former undersecretary of the U.S. Treasury and PGIM Fixed Income’s chief economist, and Gregory Peters, GABELLI ’00, PGIM Fixed Income’s head of multi-sector and strategy, speaking at a CDC event in February 2020.

It’s too soon to judge the lasting impact the COVID-19 pandemic will have on many industries, but Manuela Rodriguez, recruiting manager for graduate business programs, said that, for career services professionals, the pandemic has opened the door to new, more efficient ways of conducting business. 

“We’re very aware of the horrible conditions people are going through right now, but we’ve also recognized the opportunity to align ourselves with new platforms, processes and technologies, including virtual recruitment,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez explained that the shift to virtual has expanded the number of schools that employers can now include in their recruitment targets. Going virtual has also pushed the team to maximize the use of efficient and relatively inexpensive recruiting tools such as webinars and other programming with alumni and employers.

“As companies re-think the way they are targeting and sourcing candidates, we can definitely step in and provide them with valuable solutions by letting them know our students are quick to recruit virtually,” Rodriguez noted.

Both Rodriguez and Piriz see the move to new virtual processes as providing a huge opportunity to support students, alumni and employers. “We have encouraged more employers to be in touch with us in a way that is virtual but still meaningful, and that our students feel well-prepared for and engaged to do.”

A recent opportunity they cited involved assisting an employer recruiting for financial services. The Center was able to quickly prepare and send them a resume book of candidates. Piriz explained that “these are the types of things we’ve been doing to meet the needs and demands of employers who require a quick turnaround.” 

A Relationship Business

As a way to build and maintain “pipeline relationships” in these uncertain times, the CDC’s outreach program with employers and alumni ran for eight weeks in early spring.

It started with targeted outreach to employers that had previously worked with the Center and firms that were known to have hired students, aiming to learn about what was happening in their businesses.

In early April, a two-phase expanded program involved the CDC’s full database of employers, reaffirming the Center’s virtual availability to employers and providing mass distribution of resume books for MBA candidates who were recruiting, while offering to connect employers with prospects.

The program also extended to Gabelli School alumni to reassure them that the Center will continue to be available to assist if or when the need arises.

The outreach program was very well received, and there were successes, including the hiring of a first-year MBA student by a top financial institution. Equally as important, it built goodwill.

Gabelli School CDC info sessions have been an integral part of Verizon’s campus recruitment strategy.

“I think there’s something to be said for being in a relationship business like ours,” said Piriz. “Our connections can’t always be transactional. Building goodwill is important and all about what we can do for you.”

Verizon Campus Program Manager Lauren Cintron commented that the company’s partnership with the Gabelli Career Development Center “has been an integral part of Verizon’s campus recruitment strategy. Due to the partnership, we have been able to pipeline Gabelli students to become future VTeamers.”

Other recruitment efforts are even done internally. Recently, the Center announced an effort to partner current EMBA students who have start-ups with MBA/MS students seeking summer internships. “We hope that some of our MBAs can benefit from this effort,” Rodriguez said.

Providing Students with Meaningful Information

The Center prides itself on its student preparation process, providing them with the tools and information they need to make thoughtful decisions. One tool is “Coffee and Careers,” an activity involving an alumnus guest speaker who shares insights on their Gabelli School experience and career, offers tips for recruiting and building a career path, and provides information on the state of their respective industry. 

The Center is looking to conduct more of these sessions at a later date, and is always looking to connect. “Given the situation that our alumni are going through with their families and jobs, asking them to find time for sessions can be challenging. But oftentimes these conversations can help them keep the Gabelli School top of mind,” Piriz said.

If you are in a position to hire interns, full-time employees or contractors, please consider our talented Gabelli School graduate and undergraduate students. Please visit the Career Development Team website or email Maricel Piriz.

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