For the first time in the history of WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, a Career Day was held online this September due to the constraints imposed by COVID-19. Also, the Founders Career Day taking place in two weeks, in which WHU alumni recruit students for their start-up, will take place virtually. In an interview, Heike Hülpüsch, Director of the WHU Career Center, recounts the successful transition into the online format.
You can also network online.
This is not only an insight that Heike Hülpüsch has gained in recent months but also an experience that many WHU students had at the virtual Career Day. The success of the WHU Career Days, in which companies from various industries compete for talent, depend on informal encounters and personal exchange. Over a piece of cake or a cup of coffee, students talk to company representatives and get to know them. They shake hands and arrange a follow-up meeting if things go well. Even if such nuances are particularly difficult to facilitate in a virtual setting and a handshake no longer seems appropriate, Hülpüsch and her team have nevertheless succeeded in creating an inspiring and casual atmosphere online.
A virtual Career Day has many advantages
Similar to a regular Career Day taking place on campus, the virtual equivalent allows for interviews, workshops, and spontaneous questions to be asked at live booths. One great advantage of the virtual format is the flexibility gained. Both students and company representatives can participate remotely and do not have to be present on campus. This way, students who are in their semester abroad can participate as well. In addition to the increased flexibility, the Career Days are even more personalized: Students can send in questions in advance or during a speech, which can then be incorporated into the presentation. Moreover, all information is bundled on the online platform of the Career Day, which makes it easier for students to prepare for and follow up on the event.
Initially, as Hülpüsch recalls, she was sceptical about the virtual format and was unsure whether the concept would be well-received. It was not easy to promote the online format, after all, as she did not know whether the concept would prove successful. Not least because of the virtual environment, the last Career Day was a "great success," she says. Thanks to the new flexibility, even more students took part than in previous years.
The Founders Career Day, which will take place on November 26, promises to be even better, Hülpüsch says. More functions have been added to the online platform and 1-1 chats will be offered, a kind of optimized, virtual speed dating. This will also allow companies to invite students for interviews based on their profiles. However, the individual preparation that the students need before Career Days would remain almost unchanged: Students should prepare their documents, be open to new ideas, be enthusiastic, and, above all, have fun.