Fridays with Fuhrmann: Fall Career Fair 2016 – ECE Students In Demand

FWF_image_20160930This past Tuesday Michigan Tech held its fall Career Fair, always a big event in the life of the university. Some 340 companies and organizations filled up the Student Development Complex, our recreational and athletic facility up the hill from the main part of campus. From 12 noon to 5 pm students lined up to talk to companies about opportunities for full-time positions, co-ops, and internships. The rain we had all day did not dampen anyone’s spirits, although it did encourage more students to drive, making parking around the SDC a complete madhouse. On Wednesday recruiters filled every available conference and meeting room on campus for follow-up one-on-one interviews. I am always energized to see the level of interest shown by recruiters toward our engineering students – it gives me the confidence that we must be doing something right.

As usual, the demand for electrical engineering and computer engineering students was very high. As of this writing I do not have the hard numbers on how many companies were seeking ECE graduates – those numbers are harder to track down than they were last year – but from walking the floor and talking to recruiters the situation does not appear to have changed from recent years. Something that was new, and good to see, was that recruiters seemed happier with the number and the quality of the ECE students they had a chance to talk to. Last year we had so many companies at Career Fair – 370, an all-time Michigan Tech record – that unfortunately some of those companies went home empty-handed and disappointed. On the one hand, it is very gratifying to see large numbers of companies beating down our doors for graduates, but on the other hand it may be healthier to have a certain equilibrium, where we have just enough demand to make our students optimistic about their careers but not complacent. A little anxiety is a good thing, to help our students step up their game in resume preparation and interview skills. I heard a lot of good things this year about the interactions on the Career Fair floor and in the follow-up interviews. As you might imagine I am proud of our students and happy for them as they prepare to enter the next chapter in their lives.

Also this week, on Thursday and Friday, the ECE Department is hosting the fall meeting of our External Advisory Committee, a group of 15 or so industry representatives who help us in our efforts at continuous improvement in everything we do. That meeting is still going on, so I won’t give a full report here.

It’s been a pretty busy week so by the time it is all over I am looking forward to taking the weekend off and spending some time with good friends at a cabin out on Lake Superior. The predicted weather is good, and who knows, we may even see some northern lights. Have a good one everybody!


Daniel R. Fuhrmann
Dave House Professor and Chair
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Michigan Technological University