The Baker Orange

Networking dinner to connect students with jobs, professionals

Story by Hayley Morrical, Writer

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Baker students have the opportunity to spend an evening in a formal setting at the Oread Hotel off the University of Kansas campus, networking with companies at the Wildcats at Work Networking Dinner. The event is scheduled for Thursday beginning at 5:30 p.m.

The evening, hosted by RG Fiber, Perceptive Software, Cerner, Wells Fargo Bank, Edward Jones, Panda Express and Zurich Insurance, will begin with dinner and speeches by President Lynne Murray and her husband Jeff Murray.

“Our idea is to provide something in a more formal setting so students get that experience of what a formal dining setting is,” Susan Wade, director of career services, said. “A lot of job interviews happen over meals and we wanted people to have that experience of dining while interviewing.”

After three years, Wildcats at Work has evolved from an etiquette lesson to the networking session that it is today. The event, traditionally attended by business majors, offers job opportunities to a variety of majors.

Ben Sobek, senior Spanish and French major, plans on attending the event for the first time this year.

“I enjoy the experience of meeting new people and trying to show them what I’m all about,” Sobek said. “I think that’s a very unique skill. I guess I’m excited to practice that, meet some professionals in their fields and hopefully make some good friends and get good advice for my career future.”

According to Wade, these employers, who are mostly Baker University alumni, use this dining experience to search for potential in students. Many employers are known to frequently hire Baker graduates.

“People see it as an opportunity to see the cream of the crop because students who are motivated to do something like this have their resume ready and are ready to get out and do some internships,” Wade said. “Usually our best students step forward for events like this.”

In addition to a formal experience, Wade hopes the event helps students gain more experience in an interview setting and set them on track for their future career.

“The more that students take advantage to talk to employers, the more comfortable and confident they get as they start to interview and look for internships and jobs,” Wade said. “Confidence grows the more you’re exposed to something.”

Wade hopes students learn the value of networking in the professional world.

“It’s also incredibly important because 80 percent of all jobs are found through networking,” Wade said. “They’re not found without having a connection inside the company. So if you can have a Baker alumni connection in the company, how powerful is that?”

Although registration is full, Wade encourages all interested students to sign up on the waiting list or meet with her to look into future opportunities through the Career Services Department.