Courtesy Photo

Students and firms mingle in last year’s “Meet The Firms.”

Career Services is partnering with the College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) to put on “Meet the Firms,” a networking event slated for next month at the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center. This event is geared specifically toward helping architecture, landscape architecture and city and regional planning (CRP) students connect with potential employers.

This is the third year Career Services has partnered with the college to put on this event. According to Soukita Thipsouvanh, a Career Services events coordinator, the event has been highly successful. More than 250 students and 50 firms participated last year. At least 19 firms have signed up for this year’s event so far.

Martin Shibata, director of Career Services, said “Meet the Firms” is unique in its “mixer” nature, providing an environment that serves as a social networking event for students and employers.

“It creates partnerships,” Shibata said. “Employers want early access to students, and students want to know about their internships.”

Career Services helps CAED students by providing them with an open environment in which students can ask employers questions, receive advice on the hiring process and connect with former Cal Poly alumni.

“Meet The Firms” is the only narrowed recruiting event of its kind, and it is dedicated to students in CAED. Shibata credits this to the success of the architecture program at Cal Poly, as well as the demand from employers.

“We are nationally ranked,” Shibata said. “Employers come to Cal Poly specifically because of our reputation.”

According to Margot McDonald, interim department head of architecture, Cal Poly’s bachelor of architecture program was ranked No. 1 this year in a survey by DesignIntelligence, which had had over 700 firms rating students.

McDonald said Cal Poly had never topped that list before, and credited the boost to the greater number of firms participating in the survey.

“These are really just external validations of what we’re doing,” McDonald said. “I think that another part is the student awareness of firms is really working well for us.”

McDonald also said Career Services have been supportive in providing architecture students with employer opportunities.

Career Services held more job fairs in the past geared for other majors, but ultimately decided to focus on the three majors: landscape architecture, architecture and CRP, because of spacing issues. Panels for other majors were not as highly attended.

According to McDonald, the event is more focused than most other recruiting events at Cal Poly. She encouraged alumni to come back and recruit on campus.

“Firms really know what they’re looking for,” McDonald said. “Cal Poly alumni work to help form ties between the students and the firms.”

According to Shibata, there is talk of returning to a full career fair for the entire CAED, but for now, the current system has been working well.

“The employer response has been overwhelming positive,” he said.

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