This year marked the 14th annual MBA Veterans Career Conference, with the live event that took place in Dallas, TX, from September 30th to October 1st, and the virtual conference held on October 5th, from 11 am to 3 pm. Being able to meet company representatives in person was a welcomed change, especially for WSB MBA second-year student veterans who had the opportunity to attend only a virtual conference in 2020. Overall, there were 34 sponsors present in Dallas and 59 sponsors who participated virtually; many organizations attended both.
The morning of September 30th began with MBA Veterans Executive Director Craig Griffin graciously welcoming everyone, introducing sponsors, and laying out the agenda for the next two days in a large conference room located in the Sheraton Dallas hotel. The first two companies to present were Johnson & Johnson and Farm Credit, followed by individual organization breakout presentations and lunch where veterans could sit among one another and/or with recruiters. More breakout sessions took place after lunch, as well as a career fair where applicants could access recruiters to discuss career interests and aspirations. Last was an invitation-only cocktail hour and dinner in which select attendees had the opportunity to further their networking in a more relaxed setting. Day two followed a similar schedule, including an open-forum board in which company representatives answered questions from the crowd.
The virtual career fair provided an opportunity, for those veterans who were unable to attend the conference in Dallas, to connect with many of the same businesses as the in-person conference, in addition to a host of many others. Participants were able to drop into different chat rooms at their convenience and network with representatives at their discretion. While not as personal as face-to-face dialogue, the simulated conference offered ample opportunities to connect and really supplemented the entire event.
In conclusion, this was a great opportunity for our country’s and school’s servicemembers to meet like-minded employers who value the transferable skills and intangible assets military members can provide. The number of companies and attendees was remarkable, the execution was nearly flawless, and the opportunities were endless. I’m already looking forward to next year’s conference and I highly encourage fellow MBA veterans to give this opportunity careful consideration.