Students in business attire crowded the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on Thursday.

About 2,000 were there for the LSU Olinde Career Center’s biannual Career Expo, compacted for the first time into a one-day event because of the Mardi Gras holiday.

The Career Expo is LSU’s largest recruiting event and allows often nervous seniors and graduate students the chance to mingle with more than 200 potential employers in various career fields. Business and technology fields appeared to be the hottest to hire. Paul Ecclestone, business development manager for PacTec, a company that manufactures waste containment products, said out of the approximately 80 PacTec employees based in Clinton, four or five are former LSU students hired from last year’s two-day Career Expo.

“We may have been a little misplaced with our booth (today),” Ecclestone said. “These are mainly engineering students, but we’re recruiting for more sales and marketing positions right now.

“We’re kind of all staffed out in the engineering department,” Ecclestone said.

Despite the event’s engineering and business-heavy focus, students of all majors attended.

Preston Guy, an LSU senior from Baton Rouge studying mass communication and graduating in December, said he was interested in the event because he’s concerned about landing a good job in the coming months.

“I’m just trying to expand my horizons in case I don’t get a job in journalism,” Guy said. He spoke to recruiters from CenturyLink, Cintas, IBM, State Farm and WBRZ-TV about potential communications-related jobs.

Taylor Cox, interim media manager for the Olinde Career Center, said the expo typically draws about 2,000 students.

This year’s expo had 203 companies registered, Cox said, while 42 businesses registered for the E.J. Ourso College of Business Networking Reception and 45 engineering firms registered for the College of Engineering Networking Reception. Both are pre-Career Expo events meant to provide a more personal setting for employers interested in business and engineering students.

Although Louisiana’s higher education institutions are facing potentially devastating budget cuts, Cox said he didn’t think it would greatly affect recruiting from LSU in the coming years.

“We believe not only in our LSU administration, but we believe in our students,” Cox said. Everyone knows the administration, faculty and staff continue “to do their jobs at LSU, so these companies return year after year.”

Cox added that reports on students who land jobs or internships with Career Expo employers are typically positive, and that LSU students seem to provide exactly what participating companies want.