Dressed in only casual attire, students networked and learned about job and internship opportunities for startups in areas such as entrepreneurship and technology at Northwestern’s first Startup Career Fair.
The fair had about 35 startups from all over the U.S. Undergraduate and MBA students could attend the event.
The event was hosted by EPIC, the Kellogg School of Management’s eClub, the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, University Career Services and Kellogg’s Career Management Center. They started planning for the fair a month ago and hope to continue this each year.
“Not only are we allowing students to engage in the startup fair,” Josephine Lee, SESP senior and co-president of EPIC, said. “We empower them by offering an experience. We really feel like this fair is marketable to all majors.”
More than 900 students attended the Norris event, including 835 students who pre-registered online, Lee said.
“We felt there was a student demand for startup jobs,” said Mario Vela, assistant director of business development at Kellogg's Career Management Center. “We identified companies we’d be interested in partnering with.”
According to Vela, startups tend to have a later recruitment cycle than other companies, which is why the startup fair took place in early April.
“We hope for the companies to have opportunities to connect with students and our goals are more recruitment opportunities for students,” Vela said.
According to Daniel Besquin, second year Kellogg student and vice president of integration at the eClub, the startup recruitment process differs from normal recruitment.
“You have to rely on personal networks,” Besquin said. “We thought this was a good way to connect students to startups and to connect them to internships and full time careers.”
Lee also said that startups allow students can talk to the founders of the companies.
“In a typical career fair, you usually won’t have the founders who dealt with the struggles of starting a company,” Lee said.
Two optional events, the Disruptive Technology Panel in the Wildcat Room and a networking cocktail at Bat 17, took place after the career fair.
McCormick junior Theo Kelly and Weinberg sophomore Lisha Yang both attended the startup fair in hopes of finding an internship.
“It’s casual dress, which is nice. It gives an easier feel to conversation,” Kelly said.
Yang also believed interning with a startup would give her valuable experience.
“I’ve heard it’s a really good way to get experience,” Yang said. “Everything is really new, which is cool.”