Data Driven Education: College Recruiting

Five schools in two months. The UDig Fall Career Fair season is officially over and I can take a breather. At this point, I’ve been through three recruiting seasons and because of that, I find it easy to get into a routine. Whether that means a routine with how I set up my booth or in the way I engage with students at each school. I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a certain expectation for the students at each different school I visit. And I don’t mean that in a “one school has better students than another” type of way. We visit each and every one of the schools that we do because we KNOW they all have great students. My expectations derive from the experience or career paths schools guide their students into. The interesting thing I learned this career fair season is that my expectations failed me. I expected the career fairs this season to be the same as last time, and they kind of threw me for a curveball. I expected to meet a plethora of students from all fairs interested in Software Development and coding…but this year I met a larger quantity of students interested in our data practice and with non-traditional “tech” backgrounds.  

As an organization with an entire practice area dedicated to Data, we are certainly always looking for fresh talent to join our team. So, the fact that we spoke with so many students who were set on the data path was awesome. The best part about it was just how many students there were in this category! I found that a future in Data can be achieved through many varied college majors. Obviously, Data Science majors made the most sense, but I was surprised when I encountered analytics, statistics, and economics…even business analytics majors wanting to learn more about our data practice. To give you some perspective, I spoke with a total of 110 awesome students…39%, 43 students, were interested in pursuing a data focused full-time or internship opportunity. Also, it wasn’t just one or two schools where I noticed this shift in interest, it was a consistent theme among each school.  

Upon doing my own research, I quickly realized this is a national trend. One specific article posted by Poets&Quants, a business school focused online news forum, highlighted the rising trend stating “…a bevy of programs in business analytics and data analytics have popped up at top business schools across the country, driven by the rise of big data and a growing need for people with deep expertise in crunching the massive amount of information generated today by companies.” Not only did they recognize the increased popularity in business school, but they also detailed some schools that are expanding their data-centric majors for undergraduates such as University of Maryland and Ohio State University.  

With major schools instituting more options for data-driven students, I am excited for the future of our data practice and the data sector in general!