The Poole College of Management hosted the first “Small Business Internship Fair” on Friday, March 23rd in Nelson Hall. Co-sponsored by teddslist.com, an online hub for North Carolina-based companies, the fair was attended by over seventy students and sixteen local businesses. This event is the result of Poole’s focus on building relationships with local partners to create opportunities for Poole students.
As Director of Career and Internship Development, Brian Newton created this event to fulfill a need that he saw in the local business community. “While talking to Tedd Kincaid (of teddslist.com) the idea of an event focused specifically on local small businesses kept coming up,” said Newton. “With all the huge job fairs here at State and around the Triangle it is easy for small businesses to get lost in the crowd compared to big companies like IBM, Cisco or SAS.”
To nurture more access, Newton decided to change the typical setting. While most job fairs take place in a crowded conference room, this fair had a more open feel as businesses lined the walls of Nelson Hall. “I liked that I was able to talk with almost every station and that they were all interested in me and what I could offer,” said NC State student Drew Harbour. “I think it was also cool that it wasn’t in a room. It gave the fair an open feel to be in the hallway.”
This inviting approach also translated into meaningful connections for companies. Jordan Garrison of myhotlunchbox.com (a local business created to provide affordable and healthy school lunches) appreciated the setting. “I felt that this event was more personal than other, more general business events I have attended. I also thought it was nice that this event was specifically for small-businesses, because it showed that the students who were in attendance had interest in working in that type of environment.”
Newton also sees this as just the beginning of other possibilities. “While this fair was focused more on internships for students, we could definitely see this opening the door for more career events focused on small business. This fair not only gives local companies a bigger voice, but it also promotes confidence in our students as they get some practice talking to companies in a smaller environment, which prepares them to make connections in the future.”