Top 10 Trends and Takeaways From Our Inaugural Campus Connections Conference

This year's inaugural conference, based on the successful MBA Connections conference we've hosted for the past 12 years, united career service professionals and talent acquisition experts responsible for shaping the future of campus recruitment.

This year's agenda included an overview of what’s next for GradLeaders via our roadmap to innovation and a discussion covering innovative ways schools and companies are using next-generation solutions to extract data that will inform career development, workflow and sourcing processes. Participants also enjoyed an interactive speed networking event and an informative keynote presentation from renowned author and speaker Mark White, highlighting what employers and career service professionals can do to more effectively reach Generation Z.

Here are some of the key takeaways and resources from Campus Connections 2017 that you won’t want to miss:

  1. Successful organizations are pushing out branding initiatives earlier and earlier to freshman and sophomores so companies remain top of mind when it comes time for students to select their career path.
  2. Culture-fit is still the most important metric for employers when looking at hiring undergraduate students. Companies are seeking students that want to build a long-term career. With the rise of social media and the influx of content from various mediums, authenticity is equally important. Career centers report that students recognize what companies are authentic vs. those that are not.
  3. It’s an ongoing challenge for both employers and career centers to help students maintain the counter-balance between landing a good job and maintaining a healthy stress level. On one end, there shouldn’t be a negative consequence if students don’t land their ideal job right away, but today’s landscape is growing more and more competitive. The question on everyone’s mind is: “How can I push students to be their best, yet help them maintain a balanced stress level?”
  4. Employers are finding that it’s helpful to look at which universities have students interested in moving globally throughout their career. They’re using metrics that calculate the percentage of students per major that are most likely to prefer a “mobile career” (either abroad or a rotational program) and then targeting these specific candidates.
  5. Career services professionals reported that students have a desire to know which companies are willing to pay a relocation fee. When this is offered, students are more likely to accept remote positions. Additionally, compensation is still an important factor to students when accepting a position, contrary to some recent press reporting that undergraduate students no longer care about money when selecting a job.
  6. Predictive analytics are growing in popularity from recruiting to career development and now within admission offices. Some schools today are even targeting right-fit students at the middle school-level by better understanding what personalities/skills are needed to be a successful, admitted student.
  7. Generation Z can be described as “the Starbucks generation” because they want choice and leisure. When you think of this term as a metaphor related to coffee, Gen Z seeks hot drinks, cold drinks, indoor seating, and outdoor seating. This generation grows bored easily, adapts quickly, and pursues change frequently due to their short attention-span of 8 seconds.
  8. As the needs for our next generation change, schools and businesses are redesigning work spaces for a more casual world, including various colors, open air, options for where to sit and irregular buildings modeled off of unique learning styles. Some employers and universities have transformed their classrooms and offices to be more collaborative with employees at a higher level sitting next to entry-level hires.  If you’d like to learn more about how corporate culture and design have shifted to accommodate the needs of Gen Z, you can purchase Mark White’s full book here.
  9. Virtual Reality (VR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will influence the future of education, work and the job search process. Companies are already starting to use hologram technology to show job seekers what their offices look like.  Some employers are also using similar technology so CEO’s can be in two places at once, creating a more personalized experience for students being recruited by these companies.
  10. Successful career centers are organizing externships for students so they can receive more authentic, hands-on work experience. As a best practice, some institutions even suggested giving students an initial budget and then cutting that budget to encourage students to adapt to a situation that could happen in a real work environment.

 Other Resources Mentioned at Campus Connections 2017:

  • Visit The Versatile PhD to aggregate information including cover letter templates, practical information on specific careers and more from successful masters and graduate-level candidates and professionals in diverse fields, that can also be applied to the undergraduate space.
  • PollEverywhere is the real-time polling tool we used; learn how you can present live audience feedback.
  • Cut through the clutter of dense, traditional business news with Morning Brew, a quick and quality daily e-mail newsletter for the millennial business professional.


Catie Ewen

Catie Ewen joined the GradLeaders team to create strategic, industry-related marketing and sales materials. Primarily responsible for content and digital marketing efforts, Catie helps GradLeaders build and maintain its brand, while promoting its exclusive network, recruitment technology, and career management tools. Catie graduated from Miami University in 2014, with dual degrees in both Journalism and Mass Communications.

To enable comments sign up for a Disqus account and enter your Disqus shortname in the Articulate node settings.