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For the ninth year in a row, DigiPen’s annual Internship Fair connected hundreds of students with employers excited to learn about and utilize their talents. A total of 257 Dragons met in both one-on-one and group sessions with 19 game and tech companies — among them industry titans like Nintendo of America, PlayStation, Apple, Epic Games, and more.

The fair marked the second consecutive year DigiPen’s Career Services department has moved the event from its usual in-person arrangement to a virtual format via the online Handshake recruiting platform. “Since we had a few virtual fairs under our belt, we had a solid communication pipeline to students and employers this year. I believe we were able to manage processes and work with students and employers more efficiently,” says Mojan Ahmadi, DigiPen’s Director of Career Services.

Students were able to log onto the platform to attend group sessions covering company culture and internship programs, as well as pre-scheduled one-on-one interviews with companies for specific positions in disciplines related to their DigiPen degree program. A total of 995 student-employer interactions occurred on the platform during the five-hour event.

Although different from the usual in-person format, Ahmadi says Handshake has offered a number of unique advantages for students. “The beauty of virtual fairs in Handshake is that students select who they speak with and can create their meeting schedule in advance,” Ahmadi says. It’s a structure Ahmadi believes is more equitable and accessible to those who may not thrive in traditional in-person fairs.

The virtual approach has also allowed students to more finely focus their internship searches thanks to the wealth of information they’re able to review before attending. “Company and job information is available to students upon registering, so they can plan their day accordingly — knowing the companies they’re meeting with are looking for their specific discipline, are open to hiring international students, and more. It becomes an overall more efficient process,” Ahmadi says.

That upfront information has proven just as vital to employers who participate, allowing them to fine-tune their outreach efforts ahead of time. “Virtual fairs are also a transparent and informative method of recruitment for employers, because by seeing how full their schedule is in advance, they can assess whether they need to add more sessions due to high demand, add more representatives to attend, or re-strategize their recruitment approach,” Ahmadi says. “Little is left to chance when they make the investment to participate.”

That investment to participate has yielded excellent returns for both students and employers alike — internships that Dragons have landed through the fair have led to successful post-college careers and studios staffed with brilliant new recruits.

Thanks to each of the companies that participated in this year’s Internship Fair: Apple, Bungie, Demiurge Studios, Epic Games, House of How, Ikigai Technologies, Insomniac Games, Iron Galaxy Studios, Light & Wonder – Gaming, Midwinter Entertainment, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Nintendo of America, PlayStation, SPG America, Sucker Punch Productions, Survios, The Forge Interactive, Webtoon Entertainment Inc, and Zenimax Online Studios.