Industrial Roundtable 2019

Students weather long lines to meet with top recruiters at Industrial Roundtable, the largest student-run career fair in the U.S.

The lines for this year’s Industrial Roundtable (IR) started early in the week and didn’t disperse until the final call late afternoon on Thursday, Sept. 12.

The event, first held in 1980, is facilitated by Purdue Engineering Student Council. IR features three components: seminars, the career fair, and interviews.

With students looking for their next big opportunity, there were lines to register for the Industrial Roundtable stretching from one end of the Stewart Center to the other. On the eve of the fair, companies held seminars and Q&A sessions to inform students about the various internships, co-ops, and full-time opportunities for which they were recruiting.

A Purdue student talks to a Ford Motor Company recruiter at Memorial Mall during the 2019 Industrial Roundtable.

On both days of the Industrial Roundtable, the heat picked up early, topping out at more than 90 degrees, but that didn’t faze most attendees. A few students formed a line at the major company booths such as Microsoft and Lockheed Martin as early as 7:45 a.m., more than an hour before the career fair officially started. Some lines looped around long stretches of Oval Drive, but those patiently waiting said it was worth it for a potential opportunity.

Even as the sun beat down on the long lines, students ducked in an out of academic buildings to go to class or just to take a water break. Company recruiters held their posts until 4 p.m. on both days to ensure they didn’t miss out on potentially meeting their next big hire.

All the usual heavy hitters made their presence known by wearing bright shirts and sending a large contingent of recruiters, many of them recent Purdue graduates. Companies like Eli Lilly and PepsiCo took over large swaths of Memorial Mall and addressed those in their long lines with eager questions about students’ backgrounds.

A more frequent occurrence at this year’s fair was the presence of tablets to help streamline the interview process. Many companies checked in students using QR codes or registered them on a floating tablet stand that became the prerequisite pit stop before talking to a recruiter.

Over the two days, IR brought in more than 300 companies to campus to meet, recruit, and learn about the latest generation of Purdue students who are eager to join their respective industries.

A Purdue student introduces himself to an Evonik recruiter at the 2019 Industrial Roundtable.