Activities & Organizations

Students seek opportunity at premier career fair

Hundreds of students wearing their finest professional attire gathered Thursday at the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management for the Spring Career Fair and Luncheon.

Held biennially, the fair welcomed more than 60 major hospitality corporations to the second-floor ballroom of the Hilton College. Hospitality booths filled the ballroom to its brim as soon-to-be graduates maneuvered their way through the sea of career opportunities. Representatives from Top Golf, L’auberge Casino Resort, Marriott International and more were eager to recruit from the Hilton College.

“We’re hoping to recruit candidates that have the qualifications we’re looking for — very bubbly personalities, students that are excited to be in the hospitality industry,” said Dalia Taricios, human resources coordinator at the Doubletree Hotel. “We’re looking to help students get their foot in the door, to help them excel in other opportunities here.”

The fair serves as a mutually beneficial networking opportunity for students and companies alike. Graduates of the Hilton program are highly sought after in the hospitality industry, as the program is consistently ranked among the world’s best hospitality programs. In 2012, the Journal for Hospitality and Tourism ranked the program No. 1 in the nation.

“Most of (the companies) here are returning companies. Almost everybody here has been here at least once before,” said event management senior Mandi Harrington.

For some, recruiting at the University was a chance to return to their alma mater.

“I’m a UH grad, so we always have an interest in coming back here,” said Josh Decker, director of hotel operations at the Houston Marriott at the Texas Medical Center. “(Graduates of the Hilton College) are very driven, and they’re also very responsible. They’re looking for careers — not jobs. They stay loyal to the industry.”

Chipotle restaurateur Mario Murillo attested to the full-circle nature of the career fair.

“I was here four years ago, as a student, just looking for some great opportunities. I ran into this nice lady,” Murillo said, pointing to the recruiter to his right, “and now, four years later, I’m a multi-level manager. I’m a restaurateur.”

“We’re here for everything,” said Candace Moore, national recruitment lead for Chipotle. “We’re looking to open up 190 locations, so we’re recruiting for managerial positions, marketing positions, jobs within our corporate offices, everything.”

The fair caters primarily to graduating seniors in the hopes of allowing seniors to network with Houston-based corporations and companies around the nation.

“We have our student-run events,” Harrington said, “but this one — it’s big.”

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