BY MIDHAT MERAJ (MAN/II)
On March 17, the Bilkent University Career Center conducted its annual Career Fair in the Main Campus Sports Hall. The event hosted approximately thirty-five firms, including both multinational and Turkish companies. Those attracting the most interest included top accounting firms such as PwC and Deloitte, as well as market giants such as Vestel, Ziraat Teknoloji, Mercedes-Benz, Migros Ticaret, Meteksan Savunma and Mudo Satış Mağazaları.
The companies participating in the fair were interested in students from a wide range of departments, from Microbiology and Genetics to Business Administration, and Mechanical Engineering to International Relations. However, the students who benefited the most from the event in terms of finding promising career opportunities were from engineering-, business- and economics-related fields.
As the main purpose of the fair was to better acquaint students with top firms in the corporate sector, the event proved to be more relevant and helpful for third- and fourth-year students than for those in their first and second years. Ahmet Hulusi Kaptan, a second-year Management student, remarked on this, saying that he looked forward to attending the Career Fair next year. He jokingly added, “According to one of the representatives, second-year students should just travel and explore the world in their upcoming summer holidays, as this is the only chance they’ll get before the internship and career processes start.”
Overall, students seemed pleased with the helpfulness of the representatives and their willingness to offer overviews and insights regarding jobs and internship placement activities. The firm that appeared to attract the greatest attention was Vestel, as it offered a virtual reality game that allowed participants to fulfill smart home missions to gain points. The winner with the highest score was to be rewarded with a smartphone, and hence the booth encouraged creativity and innovation among the young participants and visitors.
The representatives of almost of all the firms present were fluent in both Turkish and English, so that international students were equally welcome to attend the event. However, certain Turkish firms were seeking only Turkish students due to the tedious paperwork involved in obtaining work permits for foreigners, while some considered fluency in the Turkish language, which international students often lack, as imperative. “I wish they had more opportunities for international students,” said Zoela Dimo, a second-year Economics student from Albania. Nevertheless, she and other international students at the event were all brimming with excitement as they visited various stands and searched for firms whose missions and offerings best suited their interests.
The benefits offered by the experience were perhaps best summed up by Nashiha Ahmed, a second-year Computer Engineering student. “Before the career fair, I was lost as to how to start applying for internships. I didn’t know what companies looked for in candidates, or even where to apply. At the career fair, I had the opportunity to apply to a few companies. All the representatives were welcoming, friendly and helpful. Suddenly, applying for an internship didn’t seem so intimidating! I also got some free items, which is always a bonus.”