Switching things up, Part I: From I-Banking to Tech

Before business school, I was working at Credit Suisse in their Investment Banking division. The world of banking helped me understand how big corporates do business and gave me an opportunity to meet senior management of some of the biggest companies in the world. It was a dynamic and financially rewarding job. However, having fallen in love with technology during my undergrad, I missed being involved in the next wave of technology products. While I was busy clocking 80-100 hours every week in my banking job, the world of technology was becoming more exciting with each passing day. I couldn’t stay away any longer and decided to switch careers to technology.

I did my undergrad in Mechanical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. It’s where I got my love for technology. In my second year there, that love translated into a website – Hellointern. With a team of 4 co-founders, I started the website to alleviate challenges faced by students in India looking for internships. As I loved playing around with new technologies, and web development provided me with a low cost of implementing these new technologies, I enjoyed developing the website. At that time, nothing was more enjoyable than picking up PHP/MYSQL and basic HTML/CSS to build the website to solve real-world problems. This experience played an important role when I was considering my next career move after banking.

I talked to my friends and mentors, and it seemed that a business school would provide me the required tools as well as opportunities to make a move into technology sector. Silicon Valley being at the forefront of software technologies in recent times, it made sense to pursue my higher studies in the U.S. While evaluating various American business schools, I looked at the resources available, as well as how well I would fit within the school’s culture. I had a solid grounding in finance and accounting, and Chicago Booth, with its flexible curriculum, offered me the chance to take up courses in fields I had not yet explored. Additionally, Booth’s data-driven approach is very much in line with how top technology companies solve problems. Hence, choosing Chicago Booth to pursue my MBA was easy.

After applying in the first round, I got an admission offer from Chicago Booth. I felt a great sense of achievement. However, I realized that technology firms might be a bit skeptical to hire someone who has had no full-time work experience in technology. At that time, I got an opportunity to work at a friend’s startup – Bookmycab. It is a call taxi service with operations in Mumbai at that time. I was in charge of upgrading the technology infrastructure of the startup to maintain its competitive edge against growing number of competitors. I learnt a lot during my stay at Bookmycab, and used the most recent technologies to upgrade the operational infrastructure of the company. My experience at Bookmycab validated that I love working with technology, and gave me confidence that I could switch careers with support of resources and opportunities, which Booth will offer.

Having arrived at Booth, ready to switch my focus to technology, I was happy to find a number of career choices on offer to Booth students. Also, I turned to Career Services and Booth Technology Group for support and advice. In my next blog post, I will write about the resources at Booth for students like me, who are interested in career in technology, and how these resources helped me eventually bag an exciting internship at Amazon.

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