Mar 06, 2014

Career Treks - Tuck goes West for Tech

Sandy Chen is a T’15 from San Francisco, CA.  Prior to business school, she spent two of her most glorious years eating her way through the halls of Williams-Sonoma as their Sweet Food Inventory Planner.  She is also a former Industrials investment banker and founder of a career mentorship non-profit.  Sandy is currently working on her start-up at Tuck and looking for opportunities at the intersection of Technology and Retail.

Before coming to Tuck, I had already decided I wanted to pursue a career in Technology.  You’re probably wondering why I did not choose to attend one of the fine institutions on the West Coast.  Tuck was the best fit for me.  After attending the WIB conference, interacting with current students and sitting in on classes, I had the gut feeling that Tuck is where I belong.  I prioritized fit over location and reasoned that I would figure out a way to pursue my target career.

In the fall, we first years in the Tech Club worked with the CDO to coordinate a Tech Trek to the West Coast to visit companies of our choosing.  Fifty-six first-years travelled across the country together during Winter Break to visit fourteen companies in the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle.  While it felt like a huge feat, we managed to pull it together and all made it to the West Coast in one piece. 

On Wednesday, a few folks arrived to the Bay Area early to either visit Tesla in Palo Alto or attend an informational session with alums at Shutterfly in Redwood City.  I attended the Shutterfly visit, where we had an intimate discussion with alums and recruiters about the company culture and future of the business.  Afterward, Jesse Lampert’s (T’15) parents (Russ (T’87) and Christine Lampert) graciously hosted a Tuck dinner at their home. 

Thursday was a big day.  Most of us were in hotels in San Francisco, providing us the great opportunity of experiencing California rush hour traffic first hand.  With commutes in mind, we started our day early as we slowly migrated south to visit LinkedIn, Groupon, Google, Facebook, and Electronic Arts.  After our visits, what better way to end an exciting, jam-packed day of meeting alums and networking than with a Tucktails in San Francisco?  There we met up with even more alums who were excited to attract more Tuckies to the Bay Area.

How many T15s can you fit in an elevator?  En route to SF Tucktails!

Friday went at a much more leisurely pace, with visits to Intel, Pocket Gems, IDEO, and eBay.  This was the last day of the Bay Area portion of the trek.  While I stayed behind in San Francisco, others moved on to Seattle to visit Microsoft and Amazon, with a Tucktails hosted by Amazon.

Michael Fedor (TP15) of Pocket Gems talks about the dynamics of the mobile gaming industry

Our whirlwind excursion to the West Coast gave us the incredible opportunity to visit a wide range of tech companies, immersing ourselves in their company cultures and establishing new relationships.  By the time some of these companies came on campus to recruit, we all recognized one more familiar face in the crowd, reducing some of the stress of the internship search.  

Aside from being able to experience so many tech companies in such a short period of time, my favorite part of the trek was bonding with my fellow T'15s.  On Friday night we let loose a little and met up at my favorite bar in San Francisco, telling each other stories about our travels to the different companies and having our own mini Tucktails. 

And on Saturday, we were able to go on a tour of Lagunitas Brewing Company, where we were invited to the employee loft to hang out with alums of the company as they regaled us with tales of the brewery.

Hanging out in the Lagunitas loft with Leon Sharyon (T90)

The Tech Trek showed me that no matter where we end up, Tuck provides an unbreakable bond that brings us together.  I was overwhelmed by the support of the West Coast Tuckies in helping us plan this trek.  Without them, we never would have been able to pull off such an endeavor.  It is a comfort to know that despite our distance, the Tuck contingency is strong and supportive.

While tech recruiting for summer internships is still in process today, the Tech Trek gave me hope that even though I am not in the hub of my target industry, I will be able to pursue the career of my dreams through the strength of our Tuck network.