I thought it would be interesting to write a post about some of the things the tech club here at Booth has done this year. These are common questions I have been asked and think would be useful to share.
Does the tech club organize any trips to visit different tech companies?
Yes, We have a very popular tech trek in December for first years. Last year we visited almost 15 companies including Amazon, Microsoft (Seattle), Adobe, Google, Apple, Juniper, Symantec, VmWare, Autodesk, Netflix, LinkedIn and Salesforce in San Francisco. It was quite a fun experience. The entrepreneurship / VC Club also does a trek and visits some smaller companies; last year they went to Dropbox, Square and Box, among others, they also went to several VC firms. It’s a very interesting opportunity, as you get to meet the companies in person and see which one suits you the best and learn about the roles they offer.
We also organize visits to several companies throughout the year, especially in Chicago, where Google, Salesforce and Groupon have big offices. We also help out students get contacts so they can visit companies on their own if they so need for their recruiting efforts.
How technical is the Booth class in general? It is engineering heavy?
Around 20% of the class has an engineering background. There are quite a bit of computer science engineers, but also industrial engineers, mechanical engineers, etc. The class is a little more technical than what I would have thought, but there are a lot of people recruiting for tech roles who have zero technical background. Furthermore, there have been some initiatives to enhance the part of the class that is non-technical and help them breach some of the gap. A group called Boothhacks this year to teach coding to the rest of the booth community. It’ll be bigger next year, so strides are being made to make the rest of the class more tech savvy.
Specifically for those interested in product management, are there a lot of resources available?
There are. I think most of the companies that recruit on campus do so for PM roles. Some of them require a computer science background (Google), others don’t (Amazon, Ebay, VmWare). You have access to all the second years that worked in product management, as well as the alumni network, where a lot of Boothies are in PM roles throughout the industry, so it’s easy to get a feel for the position and the things each company looks for.
How does startup and big tech recruiting work?
Most of the big tech companies mentioned before recruit at Booth and come to campus. The on-campus process is a little bit simpler. You submit your applications, companies release invitations to interview, and then after one or two rounds of interviews, they extend offers for full-time roles or internships.
For startups and smaller sized companies the process is a little more difficult. Using our strong alumni network and career services is an incredibly valuable resource to set up conversations and reach out to companies you are interested in. Networking becomes essential to landing a job in the area you want.
Overall, it is a matter of finding a right fit and a company you can bring value to. It’sindeed a harder, slower process, but several of my friends did it successfully this year, and did internships in amazing companies (Ideo, Nest, Opower, etc.)
How is the entrepreneurship culture at Booth?
Growing. They have been admitting more and more entrepreneurial-minded people, who want to start their own business or have started it already. I, for example, own a restaurant in Venezuela. There are several people who stayed this summer working on their startups and not doing a formal internship. There are also very good resources such as the Polsky Center and 1871, where you get access to a lot of people that can help and guide you through any idea you may have. I think it will be even bigger in the future with the push that is being made to keep this area growing.
The entrepreneurship and VC club is a very good resource once you come to Booth. They organize panels, startup weekends, and other activities that will certainly help you out if you want to start your own business. Be sure to reach out to them if you want more info on what they are planning for next year.
There’s also the New Venture Challenge Competition, which has been extremely successful here at Booth and the starting point for many companies. For example, Grubhub and Braintree came from it. Finally, I think there’s a lot of cool classes focused on the VC / Startup scene that help you build a more analytical framework and learn about the industry as well.
I hope some of these questions help you get a better idea of what the Tech Club and the EVC Club do, and how exciting it is to be a part of them when you come here to Booth!