The first ever career fair in the Baltic region was held in 1996 at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga. It was initiated by SSE Riga students; the concept itself was borrowed from SSE in Stockholm. The event was called “SSE Riga Career Days” and SSE Riga students were pioneers in arranging such events in the Baltics. In the beginning it was organized by only one person, Matīss Paegle. In 1999, when other Baltic universities started to arrange career fairs, SSE Riga renamed the event to Days of Opportunities (DoO). During its existence exclusively students have organized DoO and currently there are 15 students in the team. Days of Opportunities take place every spring and have become a traditional meeting place for the best students and companies from the Baltics.
From the interview with the first DoO organizer, Matīss Paegle:
“We were 55 students. There was no SA at that time, but close communication with SA from Stockholm inspired us to arrange the event. The first DoO gathered approximately 30 companies and the majority of students started to develop their career with help of this fair. I am really glad that this tradition has been successfully developing over the last 15 years.
I wish all students three things. First, I would like to emphasize that work experience after B.Sc. program gives you additional benefits when applying for an MBA or Masters’ degree. So don’t hurry to jump into Masters straight after you receive the Bachelor. Secondly, don’t overestimate you abilities and capacities when entering the labour market. Life will challenge you and show how good you are in your work, not in theory.
Finally, today the employment situation has changed from an employee ruled to an employer ruled one. Be ready to show with work, not words, what you can give to you company, not asking what the company can give back to you.”
From the interview with pro-rector Diana Pauna:
What does DoO mean to you personally? Which event has been the most memorable to you?
Each year the day itself is a very busy one for me. It is filled with attending presentations, meeting the alumni, and establishing new contacts. Meeting old and new friends makes it a special day. Still, I would have to say that the very first event was the most memorable one for me. I don’t remember all the details of it, but I do remember the feeling and the novelty.
Where do you see the event heading?
Well, the concept itself has worked very well so far. It seems that after the introduction of study fees there has been a change in attitude. Instead of just intellectually strong students who want to study at a good school we have students who genuinely want to study economics and business. The companies will recognize this and as the economy picks up again the event will possess great potential. Taking this into account I expect DoO to expand to new sectors such as the medical industry, fashion, wood processing companies, etc. Also, I really like the idea of Days of Opportunities – guest lectures and other activities happening throughout a longer time period will enhance the event greatly. Even though students can have opportunities to develop themselves every day, let me slightly paraphrase the logo of the DoO 2004 and wish the Days of Opportunities be the DoOrs to the future!
Best memories of DoO organizers:
“30 companies for 55 students. Each student got at least 5 internship or job offers.” Matīss Paegle, Year 1996
“Extensive marketing efforts resulted in receiving applications from firms in such previously unrepresented sectors as IT, advertising agencies and even a local bar and casino operator.” Ģirts Eglājs, Year 2003
“The interest in DoO was so high that it was a serious issue to fit all the stands on the SSE Riga premises.” Aleksejs Prokofjevs, Year 2005
“Leading a team of the Days of Opportunities 2006 organisers was one of the best experiences of the SSE Riga times. I recall it as a year long project that resulted in a marvellous day with great returns. We managed to achieve the highest number of participating companies and the record revenues for the Student Association back then.
There are the standards that have to be met every year – students expect to meet companies at their stands, to see their presentations, and the brochure, so there is not much room for change in this respect. Therefore I believe that every team of organisers tries to add something to the event to stand out from their predecessors. The change that we brought was a memorable opening ceremony with famous speakers (politicians and ambassadors) and a motivational presentation for those who wanted to see and hear something different amid the usual presentations by the employers. Although I have not followed the newer Days of Opportunities, I am sure every next one has been better and better due to the ambitious organisers. Keep up the good work!” Evita Medne Year, 2006
“After another successful DoO company representatives came and shook the hands of the whole organizing team. They announced: Now I know that the money we paid was 120% worth it! We’ll certainly come again next year, awesome job guys!” Deniss Aksjonovs, Year 2008
“The feeling of accomplishment after the closing ceremony. I’ll never forget how proud I felt of the work we had done and my team that had struggled for almost a year and finally delivered a recruitment event of the highest quality in times when companies were laying off people rather than recruiting.” Jānis Zeps, Year 2009
“There are 2 unforgettable things regarding DoO 2010. The first one is that the fair took place for the whole week and the guest lectures were highly attended. The other thing is the fight between snow and the DoO army. It was tough – around 100 kg of salt was used and a couple of shovels broken, but in the end the strongest won.” Jurģis Skudra, Year 2010