Career Ready Engineers: Marquette engineering students experience at least one recruiting or networking event per week in September

Imagine receiving a co-op, internship or job offer before you’ve even washed your sheets at college. Regardless of their laundry pacing, this is a reality for all Marquette engineering students. Through the support of the Opus College of Engineering’s Industry Relations office as well as the university’s Career Services Center, Marquette engineers have had at least one unique opportunity per week to network with employers, explore career opportunities and develop professional skills on campus. These experiences ultimately contribute to Marquette’s ranking as 56th nationally in terms of salary impact, as well as #6 nationally and #1 in Wisconsin for job placement.   

Approachable, fun environments to network

On Thursday, Sept. 7, the Opus College hosted its annual Engineering Employer Backyard BBQ, a casual event for engineers to meet five participating employers: The Boldt Company, GE HealthCare, Husco, Kohler Co. and Omron Automation. Flanked by lawn games and free food, engineering students were able to introduce themselves, share their career goals, learn about what each employer is looking for and practice for the professional interactions to come at the fall career fairs.

On Wednesday, Sept. 13, the Opus College hosted its annual Tool-A-Thon with Milwaukee Tool. Each year, a campus green space turns bright red with booths, tents, games and the latest tech provided by Milwaukee Tool. Tables full of tools and hands-on demos make for an easy ice breaker between engineering students and Milwaukee Tool employees, and discussions range from battery designs to cover letters.

Both events offer easy opportunities for engineering students to prepare for the fall career fairs and to start their semester with early advice and interest from employers.

Sharpening skills and discovering resources

The week prior to the fall career fairs, the Opus College also hosts multiple days of engineering resume reviews for all sophomore students. In these one-on-one sessions, students are paired with industry volunteers for feedback on their resume and personal advice on how they can best market their experiences. In some cases, the resume review offers a chance for a student to receive advice on their resume from the same companies they plan to approach at the fairs.

Additional support and mentorship comes every week for all sophomores in the Opus College through the required Professional Development for Engineers course. This course is designed to kickstart student’s professional growth through a range of assignments, workshops and guest speakers, and is intentionally placed in the sophomore year as students ramp up their search for co-ops and internships. Naturally, the first month of the course is spent laying the groundwork for students to find success at the career fairs regardless of their career goals. This course is co-taught by Kennedy Coplen, associate director of industry relations, and Brian Kalata, adjunct instructor who offers over 30 years of experience in industry. Coplen and Kalata also offer one-on-one career advising to all engineers throughout the academic year.

On top of these engineering programs and resources, the university’s Career Services Center hosted multiple events to prepare all Marquette students for the career fairs, including drop-in resume reviews, a fall career fair prep workshop and even opportunities for students to borrow or buy professional attire.

Rising to the occasion and opening doors

This exciting first month of professional development all culminated on Sept. 20 and 21 for the university’s Fall Career and Internship Fairs, offering a non-technical and technical day respectively. Organized by the Career Services Center, this event welcomed companies from around the country to meet Marquette students to discuss co-ops, internships and full-time opportunities. This is where Marquette engineers had the chance to use their new professional skills and the advice given to them by employers, alumni, faculty and staff throughout the month.

Shortly after the fairs, additional interviews were scheduled and the conversations continue today as Marquette engineers explore opportunities far and wide.

“We are grateful to our industry partners for their role in educating and preparing our engineers,” says Dr. Kristina Ropella, Opus Dean of the Opus College of Engineering. “These employers truly want to see our students succeed at the career fair and beyond, and ultimately when they support the development of students they are also building and recruiting a pipeline of future talent.”