By Stella Connell
Special to HottyToddy.com
Scores of University of Mississippi business students got a jump start on their careers recently by networking with corporate decision-makers at the third annual Part-time Job and Internship Fair, sponsored by the university’s School of Business Administration and Career Center.
The event at The Inn at Ole Miss attracted more than 280 students and representatives from 32 companies, including FedEx Corp., AutoZone, Viking Corp., Enterprise Holdings, Trustmark Corp. and Northwestern Mutual.
“We had the largest employer and student turnout in the three-year history of this event, and the feedback from both students and employers was incredible,” said Wesley Dickens, coordinator of career preparation and internships for the business school. “The success of the event could not have been possible without the support of the Career Center and the business school’s administration.”
Created in 2016, the fair focuses primarily on internship opportunities, but the school recently partnered with the Career Center to add the part-time job component.
Participating companies filled the Gertrude C. Ford Ballroom with decorated booths and tables featuring information about their businesses and special prizes.
“At Enterprise, we are always looking to speak with students and share different ways they can jump-start their careers,” said Natalie Miller, talent acquisition specialist with Enterprise Holdings. “We pride ourselves at Enterprise in helping students transition from student life to work life through our management trainee program and management trainee internship.”
Miller, an Ole Miss alumna, brought fellow team member Ronan McBrearty, also a UM alumnus, to help work the company’s booth.
“When I was a store manager with Enterprise, Ronan was the intern,” she said. “The unique thing about Enterprise is that we promote 100 percent from within, so we are all able to speak to the exact role that we are hiring for in the process.”
Students praised the school’s efforts to help connect them with potential employers.
“Working with the business school’s career preparation office was a very rewarding experience for me,” said Samantha Herbert, a senior from Huron, Ohio, majoring in management information systems. “Initially, I had no idea where to start looking for internships, but Mr. Dickens immediately got me started by critiquing my resume, looking for the right internships in the right places and assisting me with my application.
“My status went from ‘Alternate’ to ‘Primary.’ Eventually, I was offered an internship with International Paper because of the help and advice I was given.”
Recruiters praised the quality of talent available at the event.
“We want the best and brightest students for banking and for Trustmark, so that is why we recruit at schools like Ole Miss,” said Rita Floyd, first vice president and director of organizational development for Trustmark Bank. “Our corporate internship program hopefully piques students’ interest in banking and our management development associate program gets them trained and placed where they can be a productive, effective member of the Trustmark team.”
The Chief Emissary Officers, a student-leadership organization within the business school, served as hosts and ambassadors to help facilitate a dialogue between the students and companies.
“The Ole Miss Part-Time Job and Internship Fair was a huge success for the Lafayette-Oxford-University Volunteer Connection,” said Marlee Carpenter, volunteer coordinator for the organization. We gathered lots of interest from students who are genuinely passionate about building relationships, giving back and serving in the LOU community.
“Because of the fair, we have 40 new faces to match with nonprofit organizations.”
The fair continues to gain momentum in connecting business students with opportunities, said Meg Barnes, the school’s director of career preparation.
“We doubled participation of students in this year’s event,” Barnes said. “We look forward to expanding this fair based on this year’s response and the career outcomes.”