There is an unwritten rule at Mines. Every time a distinguished figure addresses a group of Mines students, that figure is expected to spend at least one minute of that address heaping praise on the quality of Mines students. However, as the authors of a prominent game theory textbook so eloquently put it, talk is cheap, actions are a far better indication of intent and beliefs. Anyone can say good things about Mines students, so the real test is what actions are being taken by those in a position to act. That is, employers.
This year, as always, the actions of employers spoke louder than any distinguished speaker could. Career Day was sold out with both gymnasiums in the Student Recreation Center overflowing. Hundreds of recruiters, including Mines alumni, spent the entire day meeting with students and giving out more of the famous Career Day goodies. This year, Career Day was attended by over 3100 current Mines students and recent graduates. Over 175 companies, including many notables such as ExxonMobil and Lockheed Martin, were there to talk with students and take résumés. Some of these companies even brought ten or more representatives to the career fair. It would be a fair assessment to describe it as ‘quite a spectacle.’
But to leave the description at ‘quite a spectacle’ does not do Career Day justice; it is far more than a spectacle. It is the manifestation of years of hard work and a chance to feel the meaningful verdict of actions. Whereas the talk we are accustomed to is cheap, Career Day is not. According to the Career Center, the typical cost of Career Day is about $65,000, but this is just a pittance compared to what our future employers spend. Many companies had to pay for airfares and accommodations for five or ten people in addition to losing around three days of work (not to mention all the goodies given to students). Career Center director Jean Manning-Clark estimates that by the time it is all said and done, some of the companies are spending well in excess of $10,000 on career day.
Though the verdict of action mirrors the words we are used to hearing, it has a far greater impact. The fact that many of the best companies in the world thought that it was worth tens of thousands of dollars to travel attend Career Day and get a shot at recruiting Mines students is a testament to the value of a Mines degree. And let us not forget that the high starting salaries offered by these companies speak volumes as well.