THE FLATS – On Tuesday morning, Georgia Tech student-athletes were given the opportunity to look beyond the playing surface with the GTAA Career Fair. In its fourth year, the GTAA Career Fair bridges Tech student-athletes with several companies from various industries in a two-hour event in the Edge Center.
Student-athletes began preparation for the career fair nearly a month ago as the Total Person Program offered several workshops centered around the career fair including creating custom business cards, resume building and an open discussion on career-building during a career workshop. The career fair is designed to help connect student-athletes with companies to secure jobs or internships by utilizing a smaller, more intimate platform.
“Each fall we bring together a dozen or so companies, many of them Fortune 500, and have them interact with our students,” commented Doug Allvine, Assistant AD who has helped create the event every year. “We’ve got the academic piece, the athletic piece and this is that third piece, the total person piece that really sets us apart from other schools. Georgia Tech has a tremendous draw from corporations to bring the student-athletes in contact with the companies and have them pursue real career opportunities whether it’s an internship, when they graduate or when they get done playing professionally. This is something that we provide for our student-athletes to help them complete the total person component.”
This year, 12 companies took part in the career fair, which often includes former Tech student-athletes as company representatives like Paige Selent, a former track & field student-athlete who now works for Accenture Consulting. As a former student-athlete, Selent could relate to the rigors of balancing academics and athletics, and now in the corporate world, understands how student-athletes appeal to employers. “I think student-athletes are always going to be good recruits for jobs because they know how to balance the time demand between school and being an athlete,” commented Selent following the event. “I know for me personally, it was four hour practices on top of the heavy workload and then also attending meets on the weekends. Being able to show that you can do well in school and sports at the same time is very attractive to employers.”
Also on site today was former Tech men’s basketball player, Jon Babul, now the Director of Basketball Programs with the Atlanta Hawks. Babul has represented the Hawks at Tech’s career fair before and enjoys the opportunity to interact and recruit student-athletes into the workforce.
“The Hawks get exposure attending the career fair and we certainly want to have a relationship with every Institute, college or university in the Atlanta area,” Babul noted. “We’re always looking to recruit the best prospects available. We are the elite of the elite in the space of basketball in the state and we know Georgia Tech is the elite in the space of academics. So where there is opportunity to mesh those two, it’s a can’t miss.”
By Georgia Tech hosting a career fair, both the student-athletes and employers benefit from the event. An event that continues to build success, Tech has seen a steady rise in summer internships stem from the career fair. When the first event took place as a sponsored event in 2010, Tech had eight internships filled during the summer. This past summer, in 2016, 62 student-athletes held internships at various companies.
“I think Accenture got to talk to a lot of bright and qualified individuals today which is something every employer wants,” commented Selent. “It’s also always nice to talk to people that have been through the same thing you have and knowing what they went through, they would succeed in your company too.”
“The student-athlete career fair has been great,” said Harrison Butker, a senior on the football team who has attended the career fair three consecutive years. “What makes it different from the other career fairs is they [companies] know we’re student-athletes, they know the rigor we have to go through, especially at Georgia Tech. It is great knowing that they are looking for us and seeking us out rather than having to go to a big student wide career fair and having to differentiate ourselves or make ourselves unique. It’s great knowing they want the student-athletes.”
The 12 companies in attendance at Tuesday’s career fair were:
-The Home Depot