BSA hosts inaugural career fair
Students and recruiters from some of the world’s most famous companies gathered in the Trojan Grand Ballroom Wednesday night for USC’s first annual Black Career Fair, hosted by the Black Student Assembly.
Over 500 students registered to attend and networked with recruiters, formed relationships, found mentors and inquired about job opportunities.
Emery Ogah, a junior majoring in business and BSA co-executive director, was incredibly excited to host the event.
“This is the first time we’ve ever done this. It’s exciting to bring something new to USC in general, but to bring something for the Black student population here that’s already small, is so meaningful,” Ogah said.
The inspiration for the fair came from Ire Omitowoju, a junior majoring in arts, technology, and the business of innovation and BSA programming chair. She had noticed gaps in professional development opportunities for Black students at USC and wanted to make sure a space existed for them to network. Career services at predominantly white institutions, she said, weren’t designed with Black students’ unique experiences and concerns in mind.
“I presented the idea when I was onboarded [as programming chair] and Candace was like, ‘I love this idea. Let’s make it happen,’” Omitowoju said, referring to Candace House, a junior majoring in business of cinematic arts and BSA co-executive director. “We became partners in this and we have an amazing committee. We’ve been working since the summer to bring this to life.”
Omitowoju said she was optimistic about the culmination of her work and hoped it could provide students a unique chance to discover future careers.
“I hope that [participating students] are able to create genuine connections with the people that came, whether it’s the Black recruiters or other students as well. And also just be able to understand what it’s like to be Black in whatever industry that they’re interested in,” Omitowoju said.
Industries represented included entertainment, consulting, architecture and engineering, with recruiters from NFL, Paramount, Sony, PlayStation, Riot Games, Medtronic, Chromatic, Hawk, McKinsey, Deloitte, KPMG, SoundCloud and Boeing all in attendance.
Marcel Apatewen, a sophomore majoring in health and human sciences, said he was encouraged by the number of participating companies.
“I’m very impressed by the sheer diversity of the amount of companies that came and the interest that they have,” Apatewen said. “It’s really encouraging to see a lot of Black students on campus take charge of their future and network with these professionals.”
House said she was proud of the event and the work of BSA students that went into creating the fair.
“This event means the world to me,” House said. “We’ve been planning this since around the fall. Being able to cultivate it, have all of our committee members planning it week after week, getting these big companies and having the turnout we’ve had — this is the biggest turnout we’ve had from one of our signature events this year. We’ve had over 500 people registered.”
In the future, the BSA executive board is looking to expand the fair to include more opportunities and industries.
“We hope to have more companies next year,” Ogah said, “especially with the amazing [student] turnout rate that we had this year. We hope to show that to companies next year and encourage them to come and be involved with us again.”