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Student-Company Networking on the Yard Sparks Insight into Internship Recruiting Timelines

The Howard University Office of Corporate Relations hosted its annual CorpComm event on the Yard giving students an opportunity to start networking and scouting internship opportunities.

Howard students engage with company representatives who have set up booths under tents. (Photo by JD Jean-Jacques)

Representatives from more than 13 companies packed the Yard last week and pitched career opportunities to students who browsed by the hundreds. The annual CorpComm event prompted some students to reveal challenges and tips associated with recruiting during the school year. 

On Aug. 24, company representatives handed out candy and corporate cards to students as they spoke about the various internship roles their respective companies had to offer. Amid the first week of classes, some students on the Yard commented on what it’s like recruiting for jobs as a Howard student. 

Gabrielle Studevan, a junior health science major, finished speaking with Johnson & Johnson representatives when she said that trying to find internships while at school is “definitely tough, especially with the heavy course load with the pre-med track.”

Studevan, a Philadelphia native, emphasized that as she works towards her goal of attending medical school at an HBCU and eventually becoming a gynecologist, “networking is really big – that’s the biggest thing,  knowing people in the desired field you want to go into.” 

To this end, she feels that the CorpComm event hosted by the Office of Corporate Relations plays a key role in helping students make connections with those who represent the companies in which they are interested.

Jahmar Christian, a sophomore finance major, shares a similar perspective with Studevan. The transfer student from Antigua and Barbuda wants to pursue a career in financial services after completing an auditing internship in his home country this past summer.

“It’s somewhat difficult because you have to balance social, academics and everything else,” he said in regards to finding internship opportunities during the school year.

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He mentioned that the CorpComm event is helpful for finding opportunities, but that the onus is on students to realize opportunities for themselves.

“When you’re in college and university, you should want to go and get things yourself,” he said. “What Howard does well is let you go and do that.”

For Christian, BDO and Lockton stood out to him on the Yard as companies he might be interested in. They are accounting, consulting, and insurance firms, respectively. 

A DJ blasts music from behind the CorpComm welcome sign. (Photo by JD Jean-Jacques)

Another financial services company set up on the Yard was the public accounting firm KPMG. Shirbriya Fletcher, a development and exempt senior associate and company representative at the event, said KPMG has a “very close-knit” Howard alumni community. 

Fletcher attended Howard’s School of Business, graduating in 2018 as an accounting major, and interned at KPMG for three summers before joining the firm in 2019. 

“Even prior to me attending Howard University, there’s been a heightened interest in recruiting at HBCUs with companies recently, but KPMG has been recruiting since day one,” she said, referring to the late 2000s and early 2010s. 

“For a lot of our early opportunities, we’ve had a lot of Howard students partake in opportunities,” she said. “Even some of our partners today are Howard University alumni.”

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She mentioned Erik Causey, who is a partner at the firm and interviewed Fletcher when she applied to KPMG a few years ago. 

Fletcher mentioned, too, that she’s noticed companies recruiting students earlier and earlier in their careers. 

“We currently have some roles offered for 2025 already. We haven’t even hit 2024,” she said. “It’s pushing up a lot more in the summer.”

Fletcher said that when she was a Howard student the CorpComm fair was at least a month into school. “This is the first week of school,” she said regarding the event. “But I think it’s a good sign that the university wants the students to take advantage of the opportunities that exist at companies.”

Shirbriya Fletcher (right) poses with a KPMG colleague at her table. (Photo by JD Jean-Jacques)

Gadi Purcell, who represented OceanX, did a fellowship with the company for the Young Explorers Program last year, where he took a trip from France to Amsterdam. 

Purell, a 2022 graduate of Howard, studied chemical engineering and said this is the first year OceanX has attended a corporate event at Howard. 

He said OceanX “wants to get more Black students in Ocean science” and “give them the opportunities that ocean science students usually get in America.”

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There are several upcoming corporate events that will be held on Howard’s campus, many of which are listed via Handshake.

Copy edited by Alana Matthew


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