Jawad Khan, a transfer student at ISyE, has learned to seamlessly integrated his creative and analytical sides in the heart of his academic whirlwind and currently serves as the Vice President of professional development for Georgia Tech chapter for the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineering (IISE).
Khan isn't just a student; he's an impassioned ambassador and case manager of the MentIE program, playing a pivotal role in meticulously engineering large-scale events such as the IISE career fair. In his hands, these events are not mere gatherings, but vibrant, dynamic experiences that bridge the gap between academia and the professional world.
Khan's profound journey into the realm of large-scale event management unveiled itself when he was a high school student and orchestrated a momentous gathering in his hometown, Tallahassee, aptly named "Tally Rocket Faire” which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
The event left an indelible mark on his heart as it became a way for him to enrich his hometown and give back to his cherished community.
The event prompted Khan to connect with faculty and leadership members from the University of Florida, who graced the occasion and imparted invaluable knowledge to young minds, enlightening them about the fundamental principles of space exploration and science.
Utilizing Multifaceted Experiences
In the nascent stage of his academic journey, Khan didn't embark on the path of Industrial Engineering (IE). Instead, he initially chose to pursue Mechanical Engineering (ME). This decision was rooted in his previous work experience, which had afforded him ample hands-on exposure to machinery.
“I am a huge fan of arts and culture; when I was originally considering what to study, I was considering doing a degree in industrial design or arts. Then I landed on ME because I loved working with my hands. I worked at a cabinetry shop and was an armature woodworker and a handyman for the county commissioner in my hometown. I figured it would give me the ability to be creative.”
He transitioned from ME to IE because he perceived mechanical engineering as being predominantly analytical with a primary focus on quantitative critical thinking. Khan, on the other hand, aspired to enter a profession that harmonized both quantitative and qualitative modes of thinking, allowing for a creative dimension in his work.
Building Connections and Career Fairs
Khan utilized the organizational skills honed through his experience in community events to enhance the efficiency of planning the career fair. He and his dedicated team set out on a strategic outreach mission.
Their purpose is to establish a robust connection with roughly 16K contacts to gauge their interest in attending the upcoming career fair. The intricate planning of the event begins six months in advance.
Executing an occasion of such magnitude and significance, such as the IISE career fair, demands intricate planning, tremendous foresight, and exceptional organizational skills as this is Khan’s fourth time organizing it.
This latest iteration of the fair hosted more than 50 professional organizations, all poised to recruit exceptional talent at ISyE. Khan and his team aimed draw a minimum of 700 students, with the ambition of securing internship opportunities for 80% of the attendees.
In pursuit of enhanced organizational efficiency, Khan employs management tools such as timelines and Gantt charts.
These insights assist Khan in evaluating the need for increased investment in the upcoming career fair based on companies' responses.
Another factor crucial to Khan, is ensuring employee satisfaction.
“This year the job market was challenging, so as a result we have a decrease in interested employers who wanted to participate in the career fair. Since I can’t necessarily expand my efforts, I made sure to maintain strong relationships with the connections we did have because employer satisfaction is important to me, so they come back next year.”
One of Khan’s favorite aspects about organizing the career fair is that he gets the opportunity to host an informal interaction with the recruiters. This approach, combined with his diligent efforts, has been instrumental in Khan successfully securing interviews with prominent large-scale corporations, including Tesla.
“Even though organizing events can be high pressure and a tedious process, it is really fulfilling to have it all come together.”
The deep sense of gratification he obtains from fostering authentic relationships with recruiters stands as a testament to Khan's unwavering commitment, dedication, and sincerity in his role.
Author: Nat M. Esparza