Visit to 15 Tech Companies Over Winter Break

The last day of the 2014 Tech Trek over winter break ended with great news from the Poets and Quants:

“Led by strong hiring by Apple, Amazon and Microsoft, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management today (Dec. 19) reported an upsurge in the number of graduating MBAs landing jobs in the technology sector. Tech firms hired a record 18.4% of the school’s graduates this year, up from 12.2% a year earlier.”

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The Tech Trek over the winter break is among the many Career Treks that are organized by students to visit companies to gain in-depth knowledge about specific industries and opportunities. Along with two other classmates, I led a trek of 20 students to visit 15 technology companies over five days. The trip is supported by the Kellogg CMC but is entirely student led. Each year, a group of students interested in a career in the technology sector picks the companies that they would like to learn more about, reaches out to these companies through the Kellogg network, and schedules company visits. The format and length of a visit varies greatly from company to company, but typically starts with a short presentation of the company, followed by an opportunity for students to ask questions to a panel of current employees, and ends with a tour of the company’s office/campus.

It is a great opportunity for us to learn about things that are not publicly available. We can ask specific and difficult questions to the current employees, we learn about the culture, and it helps us imagine what working at the companies would feel like. We were able to speak to a total of approximately 80 employees from these 15 companies. We learned about the various roles people have at these companies, and how much the responsibilities vary even with the same functional title such as “product manager.” We asked about the various cutting-edge developments that we read in the news. Many times employees are reluctant to answer such questions, but if you can catch them privately, it can lead to very unique discussions.

The tech trek was an invaluable experience. I was able to travel and spend 5 intense days with other students passionate about technology. We learned from each other through the discussions that we had in between and after the company visits. I look forward to the many more opportunities that lie ahead of me to learn and grow with the Kellogg community.