How the Start-up Fair is Different

Rebecca Patterson ‘18 and Sally Phelps, PGP Director

As we all know, career fairs at Olin are a great place to start looking for work, whether it’s an internship for the summer or a more lasting position.  Our Foundry does a Start-up Fair each semester, which generally comes a week after PGP’s career fair. 

Foundry Events Coordinator Manik Sethi ‘18 explained the benefits to Oliners of working with start-up companies.  “The Foundry likes to connect with start-ups for many reasons.  We find that our students can have a more significant impact working for smaller companies.  Start-ups also tend to be more accepting of younger students who may not have much experience, but do have a great attitude and ability to learn quickly,” Manik explained.  

This year the Start-up Fair is Wed, October 14th, and I want to share a few tips with you - things I learned last fall about the subtle differences between these two recruiting events.   Maybe you can avoid making the same mistakes I did!  

To start off, I dressed formally for the Start-up Fair, as one would for PGP’s Career Fair.  I walked up the stairs to the mezz, feeling like I was stylin’ in a blazer and slacks, heels clacking on the tile, and found….. a sea of people who looked much more comfortable in their clothing than I was!  

Speckled through the crowd were other First Years who, like me, were dressed to the nines.  

I realized most upperclassmen had opted for jeans or khakis in combination with a button up shirt or blouse.  They were all still dressed nicely, of course, but not as formally as I had.

The company representatives were also dressed a step down from what I had seen at the first Career Fair.  Some were even dressed casually, just in jeans and t-shirts.  This is not what I had expected at all.

Upon realizing that I was overdressed, I went back to the dorms to change.  Jeans, flats, and a button up were my attire of choice.  I returned to the mezz, and immediately felt more relaxed in comfortable clothing that reflected the tone of the event. This allowed me to interact more easily with the companies.  

I know that if I had remained in my original outfit, I would have felt out of place, which would have made my interactions feel forced.  Other students chose to stay in their fancy clothes however, and that worked just fine for them.  They were comfortable, spoke easily, and definitely made a professional first impression.

So when it comes to the Startup fair, dress nicely but wear something that you will feel comfortable in.  For me, it was dressing down a bit, but for you it may not be. Do what feels right to you.  


            “Check out Rebecca’s professional photo that she had taken.  Olin’s photographer Mike Maloney can do one for you too!”



Posted in: From Our Staff