For nearly a decade, the office of Career Services and Employer Relations within Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business has empowered students with the career resources and support needed to enter the workforce with confidence.

The office helps Pamplin students develop professionally while delivering the means and opportunities to assist in their job search. Collaborating closely with the university’s office of Career and Professional Development, Pamplin is the only college with a dedicated career services office.

“When former Dean Robert Sumichrast joined Pamplin, part of his strategic plan focused on enhancing placement rates for graduates,” said Jenn Tortora, director of career services and employer relations. “Our team is in place to help our students navigate the career search process and help the college achieve its goals.”

“We help students understand, navigate, and connect to the job market by analyzing data, cultivating relationships with employers, and sharing our knowledge with students,” said Tortora.

The Career Services and Employer Relations team does this in a variety of ways, including one-on-one career advising, creating student resources, leading career development programming, partnering with employer recruitment teams, and hosting recruitment events, the largest of which is the Business Horizons Career Fair.

The "Super Bowl" of career events in Pamplin, Business Horizons is recognized as one of the best career fairs in the country by evaluations from recruiters who attend. The event offers Pamplin, and all Virginia Tech students, the opportunity to connect with about 150 top industry organizations in both the fall and spring semesters.

However, Tortora wants people to look beyond just Business Horizons.

“We host upwards of 40 to 50 events per semester that connect companies with students,” she said. “They're not all as big as Business Horizons, but they play a key role in engaging students in valuable networking and connection opportunities.”

The sheer number of events hosted each semester combined with student career advising responsibilities and collaborating with employer recruiting teams may seem overwhelming for an office of just three people, “but the work is rewarding,” said Tortora.

“I think that is where our strength lies,” she said. “We get the opportunity to work with both students and employers and host events that connect the two. My close engagement with students enhances my advising and discussions with employers. It enables me to connect the dots between what a student offers and what an employer needs.”

“Each member of our team combines employer knowledge and industry experience with an understanding of career development and student needs,” said Hannah Landers, assistant director of career services and student programming. “Having a team with this well-rounded background allows us to serve students better.

“We find that Pamplin programs and departments thoroughly prepare our students for industry, while our team ensures that students receive ample professional development. As a result, Pamplin produces well-rounded, career-ready graduates. It is so rewarding to advocate to employers on our students' behalf,” said Landers.

By the numbers: Pamplin Career Services

Class of 2021

  • 89 percent of Pamplin students seeking a job after graduation secured a position within their fields
  • 99 percent of Pamplin students reported using at least one or more of the college’s career services, as reported by a 2021-22 Universum student survey
  • Most common employment locations post-graduation: Greater Washington, D.C., metropolitan area: 49 percent; Richmond: 9 percent; North Carolina: 7 percent; New York City: 5 percent; Roanoke/New River Valley: 4 percent; all other locations: 26 percent
  • Over 3,200 students and over 140 employers participated in Business Horizons, Pamplin’s hallmark career fair in September
  • Approximately 40 to 50 recruiting, networking, and professional development events are hosted each semester by Pamplin Career Services
  • Top employers: Deloitte, KPMG, EY, CGI, Accenture, Capital One, PWC, RSM, IBM, Grant Thornton, Amazon, Freddie Mac, Bank of America, Baker Tilly
Three members of the Pamplin Career Services team
The Pamplin Career Services and Employer Relations team is (from left) Jenn Tortora, Abbie Bond, and Hannah Landers.
yellow coffee truck
The Career Services and Employer Relations team hosted a mobile coffee event this fall.

The Career Services and Employer Relations team remains ready to adapt to the latest hiring trends and changes in the job market.

“The one thing we are noticing is that, since the pandemic, things are different when it comes to work-life balance,” Tortora said. “The working relationship between employer and employee is transforming.”

Before the pandemic, said Tortora, most graduates were either looking for a job or preparing for graduate school. However, a third option has since emerged.

“A lot of students want to take a break after graduation,” she said. “Mental health has become a big focus, and a lot of families are supporting students who just want to take a breather before they start that next phase of their life.”

This has altered how the team advises students.

“We want them to be cautious when they make a decision,” Tortora said. “Luckily, our students are in a great position upon graduation as many of them have multiple opportunities to choose from.”

As the labor market continues to evolve, one thing, however, has not changed.

“We have students for every employer at Pamplin,” she said. “Of all the feedback I have heard from companies, the most consistent is that our students enter the workforce prepared with skills and a professional mindset that sets them apart.”

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