Each fall semester, between September and November, hundreds of the world’s top employers gather to participate in national and regional diversity career fairs. Their goal: attract top MBA talent from around the country to fill internship and full-time opportunities. Participating employers look to these fairs as their opportunity to cast a wider net and screen talent from outside (what is typically a short list) of target schools. This is a tremendous opportunity to connect and interact with these organizations, and—optimally—earn some opportunities to interview. Our participation as a program has steadily increased over the past several years and we have seen offers from these events increase at a similar rate. Tippie students have secured roles with companies such as Ford, Vanguard, Darden Restaurants, Kraft, Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, AT Kearney, Zimmer, just to name a few.
We strongly encourage you to capitalize on this opportunity by choosing to participate in at least one of the national MBA Career Fairs. Some typical questions and things to consider at this point:
Q: Which fair(s) should I attend?
A: Each of the fairs has pros/cons, but in terms of overall volume of companies and potential opportunities to interview/make strong connections the most prominent are NSHMBA (National Society of Hispanic MBAs), National Black (NBMBAA), and two others that have gained momentum in the last few years are Reaching Out/LGBT (Reaching Out MBA, Inc) and NAAMBA (National Association of Asian MBAs). All Tippie MBA students can attend these diversity fairs, even if you are not a member of the sponsoring organization.
The fairs change location each year, so students will often make their decision based on 1) cost, and/or 2) their desired target geographies (i.e. if you’re interested in landing on the west coast, you may increase your odds of making connections with firms based in that area by attending the fair taking place in/near that region). Side note: You will likely note that other organizations host conferences each fall (such as Net Impact, NAWMBA, etc). While we certainly encourage participation in these events—particularly if they align closely with your passion—the career fairs are currently far less robust.
Q: How do I register?
A: Register to attend—at a minimum—the career fair portion of the event. We also encourage you to consider securing a membership to the organization. This will lower your conference fee and give you access to additional career fair resources—in some cases, for example, they make the job board available to members only.
Sept 13-15: Santa Clara, CA
- Career Fair Registration Fee: $50 (until Jul 31) / $80 (after Jul 31) – Associate Student Member Rate (see website for other rates)
- Must be at least an Associate Level member to register for this event (this level of membership is complimentary)
Sept 25-29: Indianapolis, IN
- Career Fair Registration Fee: $100 (until Aug 15) / $175 (after Aug 15) –Student Member Rate (see website for other rates)
- Other pricing options available if you are not a NBMBAA member or want to attend the entire conference (see website for more details)
- We will be providing group transportation to this event (more details to follow)
Oct 4-6: Orlando, FL
- Career Fair Registration Fee: $195 (full price) / $250 (walk up price)
Oct 18-20: Boston, MA
- Registration Fee: $175 (until 8/15) / $275 (until 9/24) / $350 (walk up price) – Non-Member Rates
- Offer reduced registration fee to students who volunteer 3 hours (limited to first 32 students)
Oct 19: Chicago, IL
- Registration Fee: $50 (until Sept 4) / $75 (full price after Sept 4)
- We will be funding group transportation to this event (more details to follow)
Q: How do I find out which companies will be attending?
A: We encourage you to visit the conference website(s) for any of the fairs you’re considering. The company list is updated on a rolling basis; however, typically a fairly solid list is available 1-2 months in advance of the fair. Bookmark these links and check back frequently as updates occur regularly.
Q: What about lodging/accommodations?
A: Each organization has established special rates with hotel(s) in the area, so we encourage you to visit the conference website for details on how/where to book a hotel room. In certain cases, they might provide a special code to receive discounted rates. Due to fluctuations in the number of students attending each fair (as well as timing of commitment to attend), we do not get involved in booking accommodations. We do encourage you to talk with other students about sharing rooms as a way to reduce overall expenses.
Q: How much should I expect to budget?
A: It really depends on the location, but you’ll need to consider and budget for the following:
- Registration/Membership fees = $50 – $350
This will depend on which fair you attend and when you register
- Hotel = $100 – $300
Most students choose to share rooms to keep this expense low
- Travel = $0 – $400
You will need to purchase airfare for NAAMBA, NSHMBA and/or Reaching Out; we will provide group transportation by bus to NBMBAA and Midwest
- Meals/Incidentals = $50+
Q: I have other questions—can someone help me?
A: Absolutely! Please contact Erin Dougherty (email@example.com / 319-335-1021) with questions.
Interested in student perspectives? Check out these blogs…
Kandis Meinders [Midwest MBA] – 2013 Class
Rob Rossiter [NBMBAA] – 2012 Class
Christopher Majekodunmi [NSHMBA] – 2013 Class
Melanie Jordan [NBMBAA] – 2013 Class