Matt Tesmond, MBA’21
Kelley provides ample opportunity for us students to get up close and personal with a wide variety of companies. From networking nights to academy week trips, to case competitions and sponsored tailgates, we have a ton of opportunity to explore different career paths and company types through both the formal and informal events. One of the most impactful experiences for me was our student-led West Coast Trek. Treks are student-led excursions, locations not normally visited, that center around a certain business type or theme. Myself and two others designed the Tech Trek to straddle Seattle and San Francisco, focusing on not just the tech giants you might expect, but also on the high growth start-ups that could well be tomorrow’s tech giants.
Our group of 15 started in Seattle, where the focus centered on growth. We began with one of the city’s hottest start-ups: Highspot. We learned the structure of a modern, B2B salesforce, before an engaging conversation with their VP of Finance on how to build sustainable growth in a company that is starting to take off. From there, we delved into the world of data (and LinkedIn’s most searched skill) at Tableau. Finally, our team headed to Sprout Social (coming off a recent IPO), where we heard about how their product managers balance innovation with customer need to help their clients grow their social media programs.
Our Seattle trip ended with a visit to Microsoft, with a tour of their content production studios as well as Reactor, their initiative providing training and guidance for start-ups and developers. While each company had different growth goals and different avenues of achieving those goals, the focus on helping their customers grow was a constant across each of the organizations.
San Francisco was all about power. We toured companies actively changing the world in Google and Uber, hearing about new initiatives each was enacting to continue redefining our world. We concluded our trip with Juniper Networks and Xilinx, two companies whose tech and innovation literally power companies on the cutting edge of emerging technologies.
Ultimately, the power that stood out most though was that of the Kelley network. Nearly every company-across both cities-offered a bevy of former Kelleys who were all eager to hear our stories, tell theirs and share advice on how to get the most out of the MBA.
Coming from tech, it was a real joy to introduce a few classmates to what the companies look like on the inside and the vast opportunity that awaits.