On March 7th, I had the pleasure to represent CANA at the George Mason University (GMU) Career Jam. The GMU Career Jam is an annual career fair, where students from select schools and majors at GMU gather to network with companies and organizations that are looking to add new talent to their team, market their company and brand, and also do some networking themselves. The event was hosted at Mason’s Fairfax campus on the bottom floor of the Johnson Center, in Dewberry Hall. This event hosted almost 50 companies/organizations, and over 130 students! To learn more about GMU Career Fairs and their other recruiting events, click here.
This was a very unique and amazing experience for me, as I am a 2022 GMU graduate and was on the other side of the table just a few years ago. This event was also very beneficial to CANA, and CANA esports, as we look to expand our brand awareness in the collegiate space.
Event & Takeaways
This Career Jam was organized very well from start to finish. Prior to the event, attending companies/organizations were sent a packet that walked through everything we needed to know for the event, including parking, wifi access, and a list of the other participating companies/organizations. There was an hour-long period before the start time for the companies/organizations to set up their table and network. It was interesting to see the variety of branding and marketing materials each company/organization brought to the event.
I met and spoke with many amazing students at this event. All students looked like they were on a mission. They were very intrigued and interested, they acted professionally, and most of them took the opportunity to talk to every table. Specifically for CANA, our monitor and CANA esports slideshow were eye-catchers for most. Even though all did not stop to speak with me, they all did a double take to see what CANA esports was exactly. CANA drew the most attention from the Computer Science (CS) majors, as our unique background in federal and commercial analytics was captivating to them. I enjoyed speaking with all the students about what CANA esports is, what we are doing in the esports industry, and where we want to go. With GMU having an esports club, many of the students were interested in our esports recruitment platform and our focus on scholastic esports. I had many interesting conversations that allowed me to gather first-hand insight and opinions on what students think of esports, the offerings we have, and how else we could support the industry. Each student had different comments and questions, but they were all hinting at one main point; they would love to see scholastic esports become more acknowledged and accepted. Data and analytics are a few pieces that can support this in a major way.
There were some students that were immediately disinterested once they heard me say, “We are a technology solutions company”. However, I piqued their interests and garnered their attention once I made it a point to stress to them that I am a Business Analyst who leads projects and a market. I work more on business operations and project management than I do on the technical side of CANA. I made this point to show these students that every company needs to have other areas of operations besides its technical capabilities and purposes. This way they know not to completely disregard an opportunity that comes their way due to the type of company
Other than engaging with the students, it was great to see many of the program directors engaging each company that was in attendance. CANA drew a lot of interest from the professors and program directors because GMU, like many other colleges currently, is working to integrate esports into its overall curriculum and offerings. I had the pleasure of discussing with them how scholastic esports is a crucial sector of the overall industry. It can drastically help build a sustainable pathway to success in esports. A structured scholastic esports system can mend the fragmentation the industry currently deals with, which can lead to an overall more sustainable business model and industry as a whole. It was fascinating to hear the thoughts and ideas of GMU professors and program directors on esports and how they plan to implement it at Mason. Their comments and questions were much more geared toward why is esports beneficial to both the students and the school from an academic standpoint. What most don’t realize is that esports is an amazing path for students in STEM careers. It gives them an opportunity to learn through something they enjoy. We had some really good discussions about the benefits just an esports club team can have, but also the major upside to having a curriculum built around esports. With every discussion had, I made it apparent that CANA esports strives to support scholastic esports in the best ways we can.
I wanted to thank George Mason University for putting this event together and inviting CANA to be a part of it. From this event, we were able to grow our exposure for CANA esports, meet with potential new talent, and build a stronger relationship with GMU. This was also extremely beneficial for my own professional development. I had an amazing time speaking with the students, attending companies, and GMU staff. As CANA esports builds for the future, with a main focus on scholastic esports, we look forward to more events like this, growing the relationships we made, and expanding our network! CANA esports - providing the analytics intel for success.
Jack Murray is a Business Analyst and esports lead at CANA LCC. Connect with Jack via his email firstname.lastname@example.org