Employers chase talent amid economic uncertainty at Notre Dame career fairs

The Center for Career Development hosted the 2022 In-Person Fall Career Fair in the Duncan Student Center from Monday through Wednesday this week.

Events on the first night included Engineering Industry Day and a sustainability expo. Exactly 150 employers filled out table space in the Dahnke Ballroom on Tuesday for the All-Colleges Career Fair. On Wednesday, the postgraduate service and social impact fair helped close out the three-day event.

Protiviti, a global business consulting firm, was one of the employers present at the fair Monday to recruit students with business technology and data analytics skills.

Timothy Wilson, a 1984 Notre Dame graduate and manager in the data and analytics solution group in Protiviti’s Chicago office, tabled at the fair to draw all possible interest for his firm.

Like most of the consulting industry, Protiviti grew during the pandemic, Wilson said.

Despite the economic downturn in the U.S. economy since the start of this year, Wilson does not see growth in the consulting industry stopping any time soon.

“I see plenty of continuing need for consulting going forward. Clearly, we are doing something right,” he said, referring to Protiviti’s growth.

Ever-present volatility, which has been the market reality the past couple of years, is beneficial for Protiviti’s business, Wilson said.

“In periods of broad uncertainty, consulting offers a real advantage because it can offer short-term support and long-term strategic vision,” he said.

Wilson noted enduring changes in the business world since the beginning of the pandemic.

“The market is changing, and companies are going to need consultants to help navigate change,” he said.

Josh Cabrera, a senior research analyst for Marquette Associates, was another Notre Dame graduate at the fair searching for young talent. Cabrera agreed with Wilson about the pandemic’s boost to the consulting field.

“The capital market volatility ironically increases the need for investment consulting support,” he said.

Recruiting after the pandemic has changed as a result of the hiring difficulties brought on by the tight labor market, Cabrera said.

“Work from home is affecting what job applicants value,” he said. “They are valuing more flexibility than straight compensation.”

Firms must now be “flexible to the needs of the average employee,” Cabrera said.

Though Cabrera prefers employees to come into the office to interact with the team, Marquette Associates must now offer a hybrid work from home environment, he said.

Brandon Ladd, a 2022 Notre Dame graduate with a degree in finance and history, returned to his alma mater to recruit for Walmart’s accounting and finance development program. Walmart, like many of the companies present at the fair, was looking to hire seniors or graduate students for full-time positions in addition to interns, Ladd said.

Throughout 2022, Walmart and other large retailers have struggled to recover stock losses during the market’s latest dip. Ladd was nonetheless confident that the program he was recruiting for was a “comfortable companywide initiative,” he said.

Walmart was looking to hire more this year compared to last, Ladd said, and he did not believe that the U.S. economy is “really in recession.”

“People still have to go get their groceries,” he said.

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UK Diplomat Catherine Arnold visits University

The University of Notre Dame welcomed Catherine Arnold as a guest speaker at the Eck Visitor Center on Sept. 12.

Arnold is a British academic administrator and former UK diplomat. Since Oct. 2019, she has been the Master of St Edmund’s College at the University of Cambridge. Arnold is the fifteenth person to hold that post and the first woman.

After being introduced by vice president and associate provost for internationalization, Michael Pippenger, Arnold gave a speech reflecting on the roles of academic institutions and religion in shaping ethical, global leaders.

Arnold used the example of the recently late Queen Elizabeth II of England to reflect on change and constancy.

“’I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong,’” she quoted from the British monarch. “Even before taking the reins of power, she proved to be an exemplary leader.”

Arnold said she believed human nature was the primary obstacle to leadership and unity.

“As technology changes all around us, humans remain stubbornly constant,” she told the audience.

She specifically provided one of her alma maters, Cambridge, as an example of how allowing a Catholic influence through its St. Edmund’s college would strangle free thought.

“Both [the church and the college] had a fear of change,” Arnold commented. “It is not enough to hold a world-class degree… indeed, there is more room in educational establishments other than just academic fundamentals.”

She followed by saying that Notre Dame is a leading example of how the combination of mind and heart can be accomplished.

Pippenger said he sees this theme at work in his duties overseeing Notre Dame international gateways and their goal to attract parts of the world not traditionally attracted. He said he calls Notre Dame an “experiment of globalization.”

Through discussion, Arnold and Pippenger said they agreed that by going out into the world and training to be a global citizen, students can recognize how religion plays into education, free speech, public policy, ethical business practice and other areas.

Arnold said she hopes Notre Dame will foster more “conscious leaders.” She said she believes that it is crucial to train leaders who understand their impact on others and that a conscious leader must be comfortable and resolved in making decisions that exclude others.

“The more power you have, the more you realize that there is often no right or wrong answer; you almost always exclude someone,” she explained.

Arnold also was able to provide the Observer with some guidance for Notre Dame students, connecting her lecture themes with real-world advice.

“Don’t ever listen to just one person’s piece of advice,” she said. “Seek out different people’s perspectives, and then continue to press both them and yourself with existential ‘why’ and ‘so what’ questions.”