USC Price School of Public Policy

Fall Networking Night

SPPD Networking Night Draws Record Attendance

By Ben Dimapindan

Bucking the trend of the recent economic downturn, the Office of Career Services at USC’s School of Policy, Planning, and Development drew a record-high attendance among employers and students alike for its Fall Networking Night.

More than 100 graduate and undergraduate students packed the Radisson Hotel Ballroom Oct. 13 to meet and interact with nearly 80 employers representing the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

“We had organizations in local government, education, nonprofit, real estate and consulting — a broad cross-sector,” said Carol Rush, SPPD associate dean for student affairs. “It gives our students a chance to learn about different career choices and also to get their foot in the door, make connections, which could lead to potential internships or full-time opportunities.”

Tom Kribben, SPPD career services director, added that the heightened interest from the professional community, particularly at this time, “strongly reflects the reputation of our students.”

“Organizations realize the high quality students that we have at SPPD,” he said, “and that makes the process of recruiting employers a lot easier given the recognition of our school.”

In addition, Kribben noted that many of the employers were returning SPPD alumni.

According to Kribben, “the commitment from the alumni helps to secure professional opportunities for our students, which is especially critical during the present economic climate.”

Joanna Jurich, a student in the Master of Health Administration program, credited SPPD with being “extremely instrumental in helping me learn about my field, because there are so many options, so many different career paths to choose.”

“Not only am I learning about different areas in class, but through the activities and events… the school brings in many outside professionals,” she said. “That’s something that I can take advantage of as a student, and it’s something that career services and SPPD are providing.”

Christine Oh, a Master of Public Administration student, added that having the opportunity to speak with alumni and other professionals who are making a positive change in their communities, “reinforces my passion and commitment to public service.”

The networking night was the second major employer-relations event in the fall semester organized by the SPPD career services office.

In September, career services hosted the SPPD Public/Non-Profit Career Fair, featuring more than 75 exhibitors, which included representatives from local, state and federal government, as well as local, national and international non-profit organizations.