October 20, 2009

A Brief Encounter, A Foot in the Door

Case Western Reserve University Biomedical Engineering students try speed networking in a rough economy

Leave it to engineers to mould a dating strategy into a job-finding mechanism.

In an age of instant information and an economy that continually cries "Faster!," approximately 80 Case Western Reserve University biomedical engineering students, alumni and industry partners will meet one-on-one in the briefest of face time, called a speed networking session.

Speed networking is based on speed dating—minutes-long pairings of potential lovers which have led to lip locks to wedding bells.

Over matters of the heart, studies show men and women know within seconds whether they'd like to meet again.

Do the same speedy perceptions work over matters of the mind and wallet? Well, this is Case School of Engineering's first try.

In honor of the 40th anniversary of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, the department will host the inaugural speed networking session in Nord Hall at 2 p.m. Oct. 22.

Erik Peterson, a doctoral student, knows about life in academia but wants to ask alumni about life in industry. "I've been going over in my head, trying to boil my questions down to a couple that I can launch into right away."

Participants will pair up for five minutes, which, theoretically, is time enough for elevator speeches, a few questions and an exchange of contact information. A bell will ring and participants will move on to another pairing. In less than an hour, each participant will make 10 potential job contacts.

Kim Morris is an engineer who designs electronic leads connecting pacemakers and defibrillators to a patient's heart. Her primary goal in speed networking at her alma mater is to answer students' questions.

But, Morris is also a campus recruiter through her employer, Boston Scientific. She'll keep an eye out for talent and believes this format has an advantage over a traditional career fair: "This is a more targeted group."

Although senior Kathy Ward plans to pursue a Ph.D., she signed up because she wants to learn now what jobs are out there and what companies are looking for.

Ward believes that for most students, this structured format will be less stressful than standard networking events. But, "I'm a talker," she said. "In a way, it may be a little tougher for me. This will be good practice to be concise."

For more information contact Kevin Mayhood, 216.368.4442.

Posted by: Kimyette Finley, October 20, 2009 12:31 PM | News Topics: Case School of Engineering, Events, Faculty, School of Medicine, Students, news

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