Roughly 1,000 students wearing their finest business attire gathered in the Great Court of Mitten Hall Sept. 17 for the annual Fox Fall Connection.
The event is one of the most celebrated of the year for the Fox School’s Center for Student Professional Development. The professional dress code was strict; those who were underdressed were told to change before entering.
“This is what business employers expect,” Corinne Snell, assistant dean for student professional development, said. “The result is the employers love the polish, the dress, the professionalism.”
The Fox Fall Connection provides students the opportunity to network with a wide range of businesses. This year, the event saw a record attendance of 93 employers – 20 more employers than last year.
“We have one employer here that didn’t even register in advance,” Snell said. “We advertise, but with the reputation of this event, the quality and preparation, the event kind of sells itself.”
The event, which started as a senior breakfast before transforming into a reception, officially became known as the Fox Fall Connection two years ago. It is open to all business majors and, starting this past spring, graduate students on track for an MBA.
The Fox Fall Connection also provides compilations of workshops and resume critiques. Students are highly encouraged to research all attending employers in advance.
Snell said the event is a “kick-off” for students seeking internships and full-time jobs.
“It’s not set up as a traditional career fair,” Megan Panaccio, director of corporate relations, said. “We allow employers to bring limited materials, no giveaways. It’s more conducive to networking.”
Ronghui Zhan, a senior finance major, said this was his first time attending the Fox Fall Connection.
“When I first came here, I felt really nervous, but as time goes on, I feel relaxed,” Zhan said. “I’m here to look for opportunity.”
Panaccio said the switch from low- to high-top tables two years ago allows for “a much better opportunity to connect.”
Linh Nguyen, an employer from SEI Investments Company, said her company has been attending the Fox Fall Connection for six years.
“The students are very well rounded, very well versed,” Nguyen said. “Not only are they getting an academic experience, but the real word experience as well. They can juggle, adapt and multitask.”
Nguyen said SEI continues to attend the annual event because of the “caliber of the people.”
Kevin Quinn, a junior marketing major, said this was his third time attending the event, which he called “nerve-wracking” at first.
“There are a lot of people, but once you start talking to one company, you start rolling,” he said.
Quinn said Wawa and Comcast were among his favorite businesses at the connection.
Holly Pfeifer, assistant director of corporate relations, was running a professional photo booth throughout the duration of the Fox Fall Connection.
“[People] say your professional photo is the first thing [businesses] look at on your LinkedIn profile,” Pfeifer said.
Students who were photographed stood in front of a backdrop featuring the Fox logo, which Pfeifer said was “great for branding.”
Pfeifer said the atmosphere of the event was noticeably different than previous years.
“It’s a lot more energetic and lively,” she said. “People are raring to go, especially the students.”
Claire Sasko can be reached at email@example.com and on twitter @clairesasko