North­eastern Uni­ver­sity stu­dent Christina Zheng com­pleted her first co-​​op with the law firm Wilmer­Hale, where she worked closely with lawyers and para­le­gals to pre­pare doc­u­ments for intel­lec­tual prop­erty cases.

But the third-​​year eco­nomics and inter­na­tional affairs dual major would like to com­plete her second expe­ri­en­tial learning oppor­tu­nity in a con­sulting role with an orga­ni­za­tion that more directly aligns with her fields of study.

“Con­sulting lines up with my majors and with my per­son­ality,” she said. “The goal for my second co-​​op is to interact with clients on a face-​​to-​​face basis.”

To find her per­fect pro­fes­sional match, Zheng attended Northeastern’s career fair last Wednesday, con­necting with rep­re­sen­ta­tives for the tech­nology con­sulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton and the global data storage com­pany EMC.

Zheng was joined at the semi-​​annual event by roughly 2,000 stu­dents, who handed out résumés, honed their net­working skills and exchanged busi­ness cards with more than 200 employers.

The fair, held in Cabot Cage, was spon­sored by the University’s career ser­vices office, which has received best-​​in-​​the-​​nation acco­lades from The Princeton Review.

Employers at the fair praised Northeastern’s co-​​op pro­gram for preparing stu­dents for the working world and giving them an advan­tage over their peers when it comes to snag­ging top job choices.

Michael Kaminsky, senior man­ager of learning and devel­op­ment for Putnam Invest­ments, called attending the career fair a “great oppor­tu­nity to corner the market on talent,” which he said North­eastern stu­dents pos­sess in spades.

“There is no sub­sti­tute for doing the job,” he said. “North­eastern stu­dents are better pre­pared to be suc­cessful in the work­place.”

Microsoft pro­gram man­ager Rich Sgro, BA’07, echoed Kaminsky. He said he hoped to recruit as many as 10 stu­dents for full-​​time engi­neering and sales and mar­keting posi­tions as a way to foster Microsoft’s bur­geoning rela­tion­ship with the co-​​op pro­gram.

“We want to grow our co-​​op pro­gram by showing how good North­eastern grad­u­ates per­form in their roles,” he said. “North­eastern stu­dents who have com­pleted one or two co-​​ops know what to do in the office envi­ron­ment.”

Com­puter sci­ence grad­uate stu­dent Shai Shav, who net­worked with rep­re­sen­ta­tives for the accoun­tancy firm Price­wa­ter­house­C­oopers at the career fair, can attest to the power of co-​​op.

He has already been offered a full-​​time posi­tion as a devel­oper for the soft­ware com­pany Intuit, with whom he com­pleted a co-​​op. “I have really matured as a devel­oper because of my co-​​op,” said Shav. “I was able to apply the con­cepts and prin­ci­ples I learned in class and now I know what employers are looking for.”