Putting Their Best Foot Forward

Touro Undergraduate Students Impress at Fall Career Fair

October 31, 2017

Those were some of the superlatives employers used to describe the 150 undergraduate students that attended Touro’s undergraduate biannual career fair, held in the Lander College for Women—The Anna Ruth and Mark Hasten School on October 25. Forty employers across a spectrum of industries eagerly met with students from Lander College of Arts and Sciences in Flatbush (LAS), Lander College for Men (LCM), Lander College for Women (LCW) and the New York School of Career and Applied Sciences (NYSCAS).

Jewish Community Relations Council, EisnerAmper, the Orthodox Union, the FBI, The Simon Wiesenthal Center, Mazars USA, B&H, Quantum Networks, Roth and Company LLP and many, many others.

“This has been a very successful event as measured by the number of employers and students at the fair,” said Lander College of Arts and Sciences Dean and Touro College Vice President Dr. Robert Goldschmidt “It’s wonderful to see this—it’s a critical moment for our students and seeing them succeed here augurs well for their future.”

Throughout the three-hour fair, smartly dressed students mingled with their future employers and co-workers. As they waited patiently for interviews, students spoke freely about their future prospects. Some hoped to attain a summer internship from the fair while others were more ambitious: hoping to land an interview for a full-time position.

“I hope to get something that leads to a full-time employment,” asserted LAS student Polina Kolyshkina. Originally from Russia, Kolyshkina said she chose LAS because it offered the strongest accounting program she could find. “Accounting came to me naturally— it’s how my mind works. I loved LAS and I know I’m ready for the professional world.”

In the lead-up to the event, each undergraduate school held career workshops and interviews to ensure students began their professional career with the correct foot forward.

Ron Ansel, Director of Career Services for LCM and lead coordinator for the fair, noted the strong attendance at the fair.

“Our students are doing quite well,” he said. “They’re making connections and networking, which is the best way to get an internship or fulltime position. The practice workshops we had with them clearly helped. One thing we focused on during our preparation was making sure the students were aware of their professional persona and attitude.”

Chaim Shapiro, LAS’s Director of the Office for Student Success, said that he had not seen this energy between employers and their potential employees since before the 2008 crash.

“This is the best-fair we’ve had,” Shapiro explained. “The energy is palpable. Our students are incredibly well-prepared and ready to impress their future employers. I believe that many of our students will find success from this career fair.”

Employers spoke highly of the students they met.

Rachel Rapisarda, an assistant vice president and placement specialist at Marsh & Mclennan called her interviewees “wonderful.” “They’ve been really interested,” she explained. “And they knew what they wanted.”

Anita Bissoon, a placement specialist at the New York Transit Authority, said that this is one of the best career fairs she has been at. “They were well-prepared,” said Bisson. She hoped to fill a variety of positions in the organization. “We hire everyone except for chefs, since we don’t have a dining cart,” she joked.

Sarri Singer, Director of Career Services for LCW, said that one of the most important lessons she delivered to her students was the need to look and act professional.
“The way a person looks is the first thing an employer sees.” said Singer. “Put your best foot forward.”  She said the career fair was an important first step for many students. “There’s a lot of follow-up after the fair,” said Singer. “Many students receive internships and full-time positions from this event.”

Adriane Jimenez-Garcia, Director of Career Services for NYSCAS, said that the career fair served several purposes for students.

“They have the experience of practicing their two-minute pitch,” she said. “They gain confidence and they learn how to be interviewed. Hopefully, this leads to a second interview at the company’s offices.”

While many students were looking for positions or summer internships, some students simply relished the idea of discovering career options they might not have considered.

LCW biology major Rachel Ehrlich waited for an interview with the New York Transit Authority. She said that the dozens of employers gave her a chance to consider careers she might not have initially thought of. “The fair also helps me build my interviewing skills,” she added.

Chaim Levtov, a student at LCM, was hoping to find something in the mental health field. While his long-term plan was graduate school, he said that the fair was a learning experience. “I’m here to find out more information about what companies want from someone with a psychology major,” he said. “I’m certain that the FBI needs mental health specialists and I’m hoping my forensic internship makes me a good candidate (LINK TO LCM STORY).”

As with many past career fairs, many of the company representatives were Touro graduates.

LCW graduate Danielle Poplack conducted interviews for PwC. She received her first internship with the company at a Touro career fair and has been there for seven years. She said a close relationship with Singer and the Career Services department at LCW helped her blossom professionally. “I’m grateful to LCW and I feel like I have to come back,” she said. Poplack noted the professionalism of the undergraduate students. “They knew what questions to ask and how to maintain the balance between being confident but not arrogant.”

Poplack offered a simple but important piece of advice to students: “You have to be comfortable talking about your previous experience, no matter what it was. You need to be able to tell employers a story.”