Student organization receives University accolades for reverse recruiting fair

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Ascend, one of the largest Smeal College of Business student organizations, was recently selected as Penn State Student Organization of the Month for December/January.

Ascend is a national organization dedicated to fostering the leadership potential of Pan-Asians in global corporations and consists of 27 student chapters and 15 professional chapters in the U.S. and Canada.

One of the events hosted by Penn State’s Ascend chapter that earned the organization University accolades was a reverse career fair event with Ernst & Young.

“Recruiters at EY wanted to learn more about the Asian culture, so we had our Asian students talk to professionals about how to better recruit people of those cultures.”

               -- Kelly Zheng, president, Penn State Ascend chapter

“Recruiters at EY wanted to learn more about the Asian culture, so we had our Asian students talk to professionals about how to better recruit people of those cultures,” said Kelly Zheng, president of Penn State’s Ascend chapter.

Ascend and EY co-hosted the event at 100 Degrees Hot Pot. Hot Pot is a traditional Asian food, and the informal atmosphere encouraged conversation among members and recruiters.

“Some of the things we talked to recruiters about included the difficulties students face when they come to study in a second language and the mandatory Korean military service for males — that’s why male Korean applicants are often older than the typical college student,” explained Zheng.

In addition, the Ascend members gave EY recruiters a crash course in pronouncing Asian names.

Recruiters responded favorably to the event. One EY recruiter who attended called it “the most unique and entertaining recruiting event I’ve attended thus far,” and complimented the organization’s leadership.

Ascend is known for its informal networking opportunities like this one, as well as the Ascend to Vegas event. Ascend to Vegas was attended by 150 people overall, including 40 professionals as well as Penn State Smeal MBA students who served as dealers for the casino-style event.

“Because our culture tends to struggle with communication when English is not our first language, informal networking provides a more relaxed atmosphere to help our members be more comfortable in talking with professionals,” Zheng said.

Ascend is one of the five student organizations in Smeal that falls within Diversity Enhancement Programs, and as a diversity organization the group works with Asian affinity groups around the University. The group also partners with other diversity groups in Smeal.

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