Meet and Greet

Meet and Greet

Copyright 2002, Traffic World, Inc.

What a person gets out of a career fair usually is related directly to what that person puts into it. This year's logistics and supply-chain career fair at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, called Industry Day, was a successful event, largely due to the effort of the students organizing it. Recruiters were happy too.

Charles J. Poandl, director of value chain for Lafarge North America, attended Industry Day because "we got to see a large group of candidates from a university that has a curriculum that we respect," he said. Lafarge just started its campus-recruiting program and intends to visit several schools across the country, he said. The company has multiple locations across the country potentially hiring candidates.

John Zuccaro, subcontracts and procurement, Lockheed Martin, is even more enthusiastic. Zuccaro is a graduate of the University of Maryland and has had past success hiring from the school. "The logistics, transportation, supply-chain program at the University of Maryland is a very fine program. They didn't have it at the time I was there - I would have found it of great benefit," he said.

The majority of students the company has hired for internships or co-ops have been offered positions on graduation, said Zuccaro. "For logistics, transportation, supply-chain management there are only a few schools that we actively recruit from," he said.

Zuccaro looks to see that potential candidates have taken supply-chain and logistics classes and whether they have had any practical experience, he said. Additionally he checks to see "how they carried themselves, whether they took the trouble to see what business we were in," said Zuccaro. Ideal candidates should demonstrate by their resume that they have initiative and have a desire to be in the business, he said.

Agilent Technologies, a spin-off of Hewlett-Packard, attended Industry Day for the second year, said Mark J. Wheaton, trade and logistics manager, chemical analysis group. In addition to meeting students, Agilent attended to network with professors, he said.

School recruitment is a worthwhile investment for Agilent and plays a big part in the company's strategy, said Wheaton. "We are definitely interested in recruiting and hiring new talent even though the economy is pretty bad. We need to continue to get out there," he said.

Agilent's supply chain is a critical area for the company, especially as the company is expanding into other regions of the world, said Wheaton. But unlike Lockheed Martin, Agilent is more interested in a potential candidate's soft skills, said Wheaton. The company is looking for candidates that "can fit into our culture - strong teamwork skills, leadership skills, communication skills - because so many of our projects are global in nature," he said. Since soft skills are so important, talking to potential candidates is of more value than looking at a resume, said Wheaton. "You can get a flavor of whether that person will fit in with our culture. You can't do that just looking at a resume," he said.

Students were happy too. Jeremy Gove, an MBA student due to graduate in 2004, was positive about the event. Gove attended to meet future prospective employers and for informational purposes, he said. "It never hurts to make those contacts now," said Gove, who believes most MBA students get their positions through networking.

Industry Day is an event organized by the students, for the students, specifically those with logistics and supply-chain degrees. Greg Bayne, an undergraduate at the school, has been involved with organizing the last three Industry Days. Planning began in the summer, he said. The daylong event features a speaker in the field in the morning, a lunch where recruiters and students can get to know each other, and the career fair in the afternoon. "I thought it was very successful. The speaker (Mike Ward of CSX) I liked a lot and he was a Maryland grad. I've gotten feedback from students and they liked it too," he said. (See story on Ward, page 30.)

Bayne attended the fair to make sure things went well and to help others at the fair, he said. Because he knew the companies at the event, "I was able to facilitate the process a little bit," he said. "I knew them well enough to know who was looking for what," he said. Bayne describes Industry Day as "a great way to build up a network between employers and students."

May Lam, another undergraduate at the school and organizer of the event, agrees with Bayne that the event required a lot of planning involving many people. "Every year it gets better and better," she said. "And the students enjoyed it. It is something different from other majors because they don't have their own career fair" at the school, she said. Feedback from recruiters was also positive, said Lam.

Industry Day "is something we find very rewarding to put on each year to give back to the students. It brings the logistics community closer together," she said.