By Jonathan Riggs
Published Aug 20, 2014
Thirty-eight incoming Tuck MBA candidates took part in the inaugural Career Development Office event.
The past decade has seen an explosion in the number opportunities for MBAs interested in pursuing a career in the technology sector. This growth, together with the success of tech-focused Tuck graduates and the school’s multiple technology partnerships, led Tuck’s Career Development Office (CDO) to launch a Silicon Valley Boot Camp for incoming students to explore their West Coast tech sector options before the responsibilities of first year take over.
"We all know how busy the fall semester is, so this is a time when students don’t have classes or recruiting events to attend to," says Jonathan Masland, CDO director. "This isn’t about being funneled into a specific career or role. It’s an opportunity for students to relax and really explore Silicon Valley and the Bay Area and the breadth of its tech companies and functions."
Thirty-eight students took part in the Aug. 5-8 boot camp, which featured panel discussions involving top tech industry recruiters, second-year students conducting internships, and alumni with spectrum-spanning startup experience. Among the many graduates delivering presentations were Blair LaCorte T’90, global president at PRG; Ben Renda T’08, director at YouTube; and Leela Srinivasan T’06, vice president of restaurant marketing at Open Table. Attendees also received guided tours of Google, Electronic Arts, Zillow, and Boost Media, and participated in expert-led discussions on opportunities in digital content, tech investing, gaming, and big data.
At night, the students attended an alumni cocktail reception and small group dinner, where seating arrangements were organized by prospective role: product management, marketing, strategy, sales, business development, and finance. In addition to the formal itinerary, the students were also given time for sightseeing and networking opportunities as well as the chance to chat one-on-one with CDO experts.
"One of the aspects of the boot camp of which we’re proudest is how it highlights the range of careers and opportunities in the tech sector—we want these incoming students to see how creative and flexible their Tuck education will allow them to be, wherever they go," says Mathias Machado T’09, an associate director in the CDO. "Even though Hanover may be geographically across the country from Silicon Valley, the Tuck community is everywhere."
Ultimately, the value of the experience is embodied in the concept of access: access to a variety of West Coast companies, from startups to established juggernauts; access to information about the day-to-day reality of working in the tech field; and access to a vibrant, diverse network of alumni who are happy to build relationships. This is crucial, explains Masland, since for most of this year’s participants, the Silicon Valley Boot Camp represented their first Tuck experience.
"At its crux, the boot camp showcases all the ways in which our alumni support and welcome new members, which is a wonderful way to set the tone for what it means to be a lifelong part of the Tuck community," he says.