Ag career fair sets record – Iowa State Daily

Thousands of students hoped to make a lasting impression at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Fall Ag Career Day on Tuesday, Oct. 16.

Students from all of Iowa State’s colleges were welcomed by a record number of 208 organizations gathered at the Lied Recreation Athletic Center.

These organizations ranged from large businesses and government agencies, such as John Deere, Monsanto, Iowa Department of Natural Resources and USDA Farm Service Agency, to smaller businesses and co-ops, such as Context Network, Heartland Co-op and AgVenture.

For some of these organizations, this will be the only college career fair they will attend this year. For many of the others, they will have recruited more students at Iowa State than at any other this career fair they will attend this year.

“Iowa State is very respected, and world-renowned in agronomy and agriculture business,” said Liam Vincent, business analyst at Context Network, a small agricultural consulting firm from West Des Moines.

Vincent and Andy Pringnitz, also recruiting for Context, both graduated from Iowa State last year.

“We are looking to grow as a company and this is a great place to start,” Pringnitz said. “Mike Gaul in career services puts on a great event.”

Context Network was not the only company that boasted about Iowa State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

“Iowa State students are the No. 1 university at John Deere, with around 75 of the 480 interns we hire each year,” said Lindsay Sander, university relations recruiter at John Deere. Sander had a team of eight recruiters at the career fair, with her being the only recruiter who did not graduate from Iowa State.

Sander said John Deere helps the college know what they are looking for and is always having an open conversation with leaders at the college.

Especially with more companies than ever before, the competition between the companies recruiting the top students has become much more competitive throughout the years. As more companies have made their way to Iowa State, more students have more options on which companies to choose from.

“In the last year or two our rate has dropped to 80 percent accepting offers,” Sander said. John Deere offers a structured internship, housing, payment and project opportunities.

“John Deere plans to double from a $25 billion corporation to a $50 billion global corporation, and this is how we do that,” Sander said.

Vincent understands the need to be competitive, even though Context is a younger company than John Deere.

“Context tries to remain competitive between firms by having more experts, clients, and having more recourses then any other company,” Vincent said.

Victoria Mrotz, junior in animal science with a pre-veterinary medicine option, attended the career fair looking for an internship. This was not her first time at the career fair, but Mrotz said she was still nervous but prepared by giving herself pep talks in the mirror that morning.

Mrotz said her dream internship was a hands-on internship that had to do with the reproduction aspect of the agriculture industry, specifically genetics.

“The career fair is a great opportunity for us as students,” Mrotz said. “Vet schools are looking for how you better yourself and the experiences you have as a student.”

Kelsey Lohff, senior in agricultural and life sciences education, prepared for the career fair by researching companies beforehand.

“You have to make a plan on who you are going to talk to. You have to know what their company is about,” Lohff said. “Any company has human relations or a need for promoting the [agriculture] industry, but this career fair gives me the opportunity to talk to even smaller co-ops than just large businesses.”

Likewise, companies are looking for the students who will fit in most with their company.

“We are looking for students who are passionate about our company, and for the agriculture industry,” Sander said.

Posted Wednesday, October 17, 2012 on Published as centerpiece article October 18, 2012. Volume 208, Number 76.

Photo: Jonathan Krueger/Iowa State Daily

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