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Hello from Texas: NACE Conference 2011 – (The American version of the AAGE Conference)

Posted by David Jenkins

Cowboy boots

What am I doing in Texas?

We decided to have a look internationally this year and as such I’m currently in Dallas, Texas attending the NACE (National Association of Colleges & Employers) Conference, and will also be attending the CACEE (Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers) Conference next week. While I’m away I thought I’d try and kick off a blog series on my travels, so here’s the first post.

The Fun Stuff

Ben Reeves (AAGE) , Paul Russell (APSC) and I landed in Dallas a few days before the conference. Paul went straight to the resort (which I’ll get to soon, it’s insane!) while Ben and I got straight back on another plane to Austin (as Bree from PwC and Amy from KPMG had highly recommended we get there). Austin was very cool, as you can see in the photo there were cowboy boots galore. We went to some local cowboy bars and ate some cowboy food, very nice lead up before the conference.

Then we hit Dallas and went straight to the Gaylord Resort. I was expecting a regular hotel next to a convention centre but we’re in our own ecosystem over here! It’s a massive resort with everything, its own shopping mall, its own water park, its own selection of bars and restaurants. I don’t think Australia has anything close to this in existence. For getting around I need to travel with Ben or I get lost, google maps unfortunately hasn’t mapped out the resort which is what it needs.

Gaylord Resort

The Conference Day 1 - Global Campus Recruitment Symposium

Yesterday was the Global Campus Recruitment Symposium, this was the first year and was about 150 delegates. Ben actually helped put it together all the way from Sydney and had many thank you mentions from the Americans throughout the day,

The sessions consisted of mainly talks from the Global Heads of some large graduate or management traineeship programs as they are often called over here.  Most of these programs were focused on getting the international students of American Universities across to their Asian offices, which was very interesting to note. It seemed to be a similar situation to Australia with a lot of international students not being able to join the local programs due to visa's, but the local offices in places such as: China, India, Singapore and Hong Kong can’t hire enough and these are ideal candidates for them. Some of the global guys that operate in Australia seemed to know the Australian names I dropped, which was great as being able to drop names, helped make me look like I was important :)

NACE Conference

The Conference Day 1 – Kick off of the NACE conference 2011

After 1,600 delegates had registered there was a key note speech from Guy Kawasaki, which I was very excited about being a tech entrepreneur! I wasn’t sure of the relevance in terms of what he had to do with grad recruitment and his presentation didn’t mention the words, however he was a great speaker so I wasn't complaining. For me it was great hearing the early days of Apple, we’re obviously not going to make it that big! But it was nice to know early on they had similar challenges, so I personally took a lot away from the talk.

Next were networking drinks, if you think the AAGE manages a big crowd well (which they do) the NACE guys have about 5 times as many to look after. The drinks basically consisted of us being poured into a massive hall and given a few drinks and random Mexican food. Then you get invited to a whole bunch of other drinks spread throughout the resort so Ben and I tried to get around them all while also stopping off to check out the NBA finals which Dallas are playing in between events.

All in all it’s very interesting to see how thing’s operate over here. Very different to Australia, but to be honest I think Australia’s leading the way and the Americans just like to think they are. Helps that they don’t seem too concerned about what others are doing in the world. At least they know where Australia is though, I’ve given up saying I’m from New Zealand.   


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