Business students begin career paths


Matt Rezab

Gerdin is home to Iowa State’s Ivy College of Business. 2019 Business Week will be Sept. 16 through Sept. 20.

Mariah Griffith

Students in the College of Business will start suiting up for career fair next week.

Iowa State’s College of Business will kick off its annual Business Week on Wednesday. The week will feature a series of speakers, networking and recruiting. Some events will provide food for students in attendance.

David Spalding, dean of the College of Business, encourages all business students to make time to attend the Business Week events.

“This is really an opportunity to help our students focus on the future and have them think about what happens after Iowa State,” Spalding said. “It’s a great reminder that [college] isn’t just about getting papers done, it’s about developing a set of skills that are going to be attractive to employers in the areas [students] want to work in.”

Events are open to interested students of any major, but current business majors are the focus. Students can find a full schedule of presentations and events through CyHire on the College of Business’ website. The majority of presentations will provide more intimate networking opportunities than the culminating career fair and will be given by industry professionals.

Michael Bootsma, senior lecturer of accounting, said attending these smaller events can help students make personal connections and gain the practice to put themselves at ease for the career fair.

“We have a career fair and that’s great,” Bootsma said. “It’s not all about getting jobs and networking opportunities. We also want to give students the chance to build their image, build their character and get to know each other.”

Spalding said the internships and experience gained from networking and career fairs can be invaluable for students, and allow them to make sure the field they’re studying is one they actually want to work in.

“You want to be engaging in business week events and career fairs starting from your freshman year,” Spalding said. “Those opportunities are going to be either life-changing or life-affirming for you.”

Business Week had been entirely student-organized in past years, but a collaborative team of students and staff have helped organize a more extensive set of events this year.

“We’ve come up with a variety of events that will both feed students and give them some practical skills that will help them in their careers,” said Michele Appelgate, program coordinator in the College of Business and a member of the Business Week coordinating team.

One new event this year is a service project in which student volunteers help package 20,000 meals for Meals of the Heartland. Interested volunteers are asked to sign up ahead of time through CyHire.

Students are also encouraged to attend the small, major-focused recruiting events during the evenings of Business Week to establish a personal connection with potential employers.

“From a faculty standpoint, we want to see our students be successful and have great employment opportunities,” Bootsma said. “That’s a great opportunity for students to talk to potential employers in a more intimate setting.”

The career fair is recommended even for students who do not intend to intern this year, so they can get practice and be better prepared for a serious interview.

“The career fair isn’t just about the final goal of the job you get when you graduate,” Spalding said. “The student who comes to a career fair and first gets involved in Business Week when they’re looking for that final job is probably not going to be well positioned for that opportunity.”

Abigail Stanek, graduate assistant in agricultural education and studies, served as an event coordinator for Business Week last year. Her experience helped her see the big picture in her own event and career plans.

“I think students need to get involved in Business Week because it’s a great way to learn important parts of future careers while under the leadership of fantastic College of Business faculty,” Stanek said. “I know that many of the event planning tasks I now do daily in my job were made easier because I understand how to create and plan successful events.”