Behind the 2015 Biotech Career Fair

For students interested in securing an internship or co-op in the science and engineering fields, the Biotech Career Fair is a wonderful opportunity to meet company representatives face-to-face. This year marks the 11th year the Biotech Career Fair has been in place: since its start, hundreds of students have attended and interacted with representatives from over 25 companies. Organizing such a large event takes months of planning and preparation, and for this issue, the Pioneer had the opportunity to talk with the fair’s co-chair, Liane Tellier, about the logistics behind the fair.

A committee of about ten people is formed in June or July each year to provide ample time to plan for the fair, which takes place in September. During these months, Tellier said the members “reach out to any and all companies we feel may want to attend our Biotech career fair, and a lot of times that includes companies that have previously attended.”

In addition to staple companies like St. Jude Medical, Boston Scientific, and Johnson & Johnson, the committee also looks for new companies to provide alternative opportunities for the students, such as in health IT or marketing. A section of the career fair’s website allows students to submit their resumes ahead of time so that these companies can preview them.

Before the fair, the Biotech Career Fair committee also dedicates at least two members to pre-fair events that help students increase their chances of securing their dream internship and co-op. Each year, Sally Gerrish, the Georgia Tech biomedical engineering counselor for everything related to industry, sends out an announcement detailing the events.

This year, these events included alumni panels, interview and resume prep sessions, and a luncheon with Boston Scientific. Each is a great, personal and free chance to get critical information about how to prepare for both the career fair and career endeavors in the future.

Meanwhile, the Day-Of committee member, Muaz Rushidi, handles the organization of the booths and floors. While planning, Rushidi looks at which companies will go on which floor, the number of people per booth, where the line will form, and how many booths each floor can fit.

If a company had an extremely long line in previous years, the committee will ask them to bring additional representatives to shorten the line or give them extra space. The layout of the career fair, from signing in to leaving, is designed so that students can get a smooth and efficient experience.

The day of the career fair is a busy day, and there is a lot to be done by opening time. To make it less stressful for everyone involved, the committee sets up company booths ahead of time and checks companies in as soon as possible; in fact, food is provided to incentivize company representatives to arrive by 9am!

With all of this preparation, it is no wonder that the Biotechnology Career Fair was yet again a success, with many students happy about the event’s outcomes. Ending career fair week better than when they started, those who attended the fair are very grateful for all the work put in by the committee into making opportunities happen!