Tough Times

A Student’s Perspective on the Career Enhancement Event

Written By: Jonathan Holstein

The beginning of the school year marks a new chapter for most students: a clean slate with new hopes and limited stress. Classes are generally sidelined for Gig Em’ week activities, Greek rush events, and all manner of fun activities…

However, if you are an Aggie Petroleum Engineer, you probably spent the first few weeks of the semester frantically editing your resume, attending company info sessions, applying to every available Hire Aggies position, and sobbing through the night because you are convinced that McDonald’s is the only company that will ever hire you (guilty as charged). If in the past years most of the PETE students were able to find internships before their Senior year and full-time positions after graduation, now they find themselves in a heated competition, with over 600 students competing for fewer than 100 positions. Nevertheless, times will get better, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics is even projecting a 26% job growth through 2022.

Despite the bleak prospects facing current PETE students, there are many benefits of being a Petroleum Engineer, including an access to a tailored and major-specific career fair – the Career Enhancement Event (CEE) The CEE is hosted by TAMU-SPE at the beginning of every semester. One unique feature about the CEE, as compared to the Engineering Career Fair, is that each company gives a short 5-8 minute presentation in which they have the opportunity to talk about their operations, career opportunities, and what type of hiring they are doing. These presentations are followed by a traditional open floor where students may interact and get face-time with recruiters.

This year, the CEE was held on Friday, September 11th, in the Memorial Student Center (MSC). Twenty-four companies and over 650 students attended the event. The tough reality that the students faced this year is that many companies were only hiring 2-3 interns, and the full-time positions were also very limited. Given the number of companies participated and high students attendance, we can estimate about sixty internship openings for several hundred students Despite tough economic times, most recruiters seemed very optimistic that things would get better, sooner rather than later.

When the floor was opened for students to talk to recruiters, hundreds of students, myself included, swarmed the large banquet halls of the MSC, where company representatives stood waiting. My first stop was Linn Energy; I managed to get there before most of the crowd and only waited ten minutes to talk to the recruiter. After this, my general plan was to talk to any company that didn’t have a line so I could maximize the number of companies I talked to. Despite this humble plan, I found myself waiting upwards of forty minutes in different lines. Many companies, such as Chesapeake, BP, and BHP, simply had too long of a wait time for me to justify the visit. Even with more than four hours of open floor time and leaving a half-hour late, I did not make it to every company I wanted to see. Two days would really be needed to get face-time with all the companies.

Despite having a few flaws, I cannot stress enough how important and wonderful this event really is. Having face-time with a recruiter and saying things that your resume cannot is the best way to land an interview with a company. Of the three companies I have scheduled interviews for next week, I talked to two at the CEE. I honestly do not believe I would have gotten the interviews without talking to the recruiters in person. Let’s just hope that the next CEE will see higher oil prices and a greater number of internships and job offerings.


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