With professional opportunities in sight, students donned their finest business attire and flocked to the Bovee University Center Tuesday night for the annual Financial Services Career Night.
What began in 2011 as an improvement on general career fairs has blossomed into a successful opportunity for students and financial employers to meet and learn.
Students were able to visit the 14 firms present at the UC, including Edward Jones, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and Plante Moran Financial.
Doug Iles, a professor of Finance and Law at Central Michigan University and founder of the event, said he was unsatisfied with the general career fairs provided to students. This prompted him to initiate the Financial Services Career Night, which is hosted twice each year in October and February.
“(We’re) trying to facilitate a way for students and employers to meet,” Iles said. “I like this format where employers can tell their story.”
According to Iles, each career night has resulted in the hiring of three to five students as employees or interns. Students have also been hired as an indirect result of attending the career night, as it helps to improve both communication skills and networking.
“I approach a lot of local businesses and explain what I’m doing,” Iles said. “We get a lot of good business people who are willing to give back a little bit to the students.”
Representatives from Tri-Star Trust Bank, based out of Saginaw, were there looking for students to employ in their new branch opening in Midland next year. Portfolio Manager and Trading Officer Andre Buckley places heavy emphasis on the ability of students to get involved.
“We look for students or we look for employees that have a strong desire to serve the community,” Buckley said. “All of our advertising is all word of mouth, is all referral, and it’s all community based.”
Students of all experience are welcome to attend the career night, as firms not currently hiring are there to share useful information on the internship process.
Novi senior Steve Pelts joined the throng of eager students in search of additional experience, having one internship under his belt already.
“I know a lot of big firms that are looking to hire are here,” Pelts said. “You can get some insight on what they do every day.”
Pelts said he understands that even if a particular career path is not represented at the fair, insights into other paths can still be illuminating.
“A lot of them are surprised at the varied career paths,” Iles said.
Ultimately, Iles said he hopes students will become more aware of the varied careers available to them as well as what employers will expect from them.