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BPC Hosts First Chicago Career Trip

April 06, 2018, Franchesca Alejo

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Business students traveled to Chicago in late March for the inaugural Chicago Career Trip sponsored by the Business Placement Center.

They had the opportunity to meet with representatives from companies with job opportunities in their respective majors. The marketing and management students met with Breakthru Beverage Group and Coyote Logistics while finance and accounting students met with Cohn Reznick and United Airlines.

A group of nearly fifty students traveled to Chicago on the morning of March 29 and that Thursday evening were treated to a Portillo’s dinner after checking in to their hotel. The following day, the students met with representatives of the companies. They left the city around 4 p.m. and made a pit stop at Monical’s Pizza in Champaign for a pizza and pasta dinner.

Participants included undergraduate and graduate students. They expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to meet face-to-face with prospective employers.

 Marketing senior Cassi Benson, from Shawnee, Kan., was one of the students who participated.

“I absolutely loved the trip!” Benson said. “I had a ton of fun, made new friends and learned a lot about up-and-coming businesses. This was a very well planned trip,” she said.

Benson hopes to move to Los Angeles upon graduation and work in marketing or as an event planner for the service entertainment industry.

Shyam Patel, a management sophomore from Carbondale who hopes to help with her family business in the future, also recognized the trip as a unique experience. Her favorite part of the trip was the United Airlines tour. She recommends other students take advantage of these opportunities.

“Never miss a chance like this,” she said.

Alex Attebury, a marketing senior from Saint Augustine, Fla. likewise encourages current students to go whenever opportunities like this arise.

“One hundred percent, do it and take advantage of these opportunities,” he said. “Not all college students are lucky enough to go on these trips, and they're extremely beneficial,” he said.

Graduate assistant Thomas Becker who is pursuing his master’s in business administration was one of the core organizers of the trip. He was in charge of coordinating with the restaurants, the hotel and the companies visited and he credited the valuable assistance provided by BPC staff members for helping him handle the many planning duties involved.

“Helping plan the trip was an amazing and stressful experience,” Becker said.

“I know it will be one of the best professional development moments in my college career. I also know that a trip of this magnitude, without the combined help of everyone in the Business Placement Center (Jasmine Robinson, Amber McDonald, Champ, Kelsey Byars, and Payton Hilton) would not have been possible,” he said.

He also noted that the participating companies were critical to the success of the Chicago Career Trip. He noted that many of the firms employ SIU College of Business alumni.

“The help of such a strong and involved alumni base was a key part in creating such a successful professional development event for our students. For instance, Ricky Barr, managing director for the internal audit department of United Airlines and SIU master of accounting 2006 alumnus, was the driving force behind the students being able to visit United Airlines,” Becker said.

In response to the positive feedback from the students, the BPC staff way they will make sure to continue planning similar trips in the future. They are considering a number of other cities to visit so stay tuned to see where the BPC will go next.