Adventures on the Tech Trek

Whoa, there, World. You’re telling me Winter Break is over? Winter Quarter is starting up, and the inevitable question from everyone will be, “What did you do for your holiday?” This year, three of my lovely peers and I coordinated the 2015 Tech Trek from 12/13 to 12/18 in Seattle and the Bay Area. Planning the Tech Trek was not an overnight effort, but a magical 2 months of fast-paced coordination between dozens of MBA recruiters, student services, and vendors. All of this culminated in 16 corporate headquarter visits and 49 students participating this year – the most of any trek at Booth EVER!

Now, you may be asking, what did we benefit from all this activity? Well, I’ll tell you!

Prepping for Future Interviews in the Trek Leader Application Process

You might be wondering, how does one become a “Tech Trek Lead” as a first year? Around October, potential leads apply with the Booth Technology Group. As part of the application, we each answer short essay questions about the kind of trip you would lead and what makes you interested in the tech industry. Afterwards, we were interviewed by 2nd years who planned last year. The experience was a great first step to building my profile for internship recruiting this spring.

Getting One-on-One Exposure to Recruiters and Alumni

As a Tech Trek lead, you get to reach out to 10-12 company recruiters including Google, Facebook and Microsoft. This means one-on-one exposure to the companies before the trek even starts. This year, I was responsible for 3 companies on the visit including Microsoft, Adobe and Cisco. My co-lead Rachel and I even got to buy gifts for each of the recruiters we worked with for the last two months.

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Turning the Trek Experience into Summer Internships

While going on the trek isn’t necessarily related to your summer internship, the exposure to the companies does give you more hands-on experience to incorporate into your cover letter and interview. At many of the companies, we toured with former Boothies who were able to give us insight on what the entire application process was like for them, what skills to highlight, and what the interview experience is like.

Seeing the Crazy, Cool Perks at Tech Companies

Sure, most of us have heard of the ball pits and bicycles at Google… but did you know that each conference room at Medallia is themed to a different country? Or that Box has a white board framed entirely by stuffed animals? Or that Amazon has a legitimate banana stand in the middle of campus? In addition to learning all of this, we got to speak to current employees and Booth alumni at each of the companies firsthand about their experiences through panels and campus tours.

Meeting New People at Booth and Beyond

When you have 49 people on a trip together, there’s bound to be people who don’t know each other quite yet. We got to network with people on the trip, but also with other schools, C-suite executives and even had some non-human interactions. At Adobe, we got to listen to the CFO Mark Garrett speak about the change to a subscription-based revenue model. At Cisco, we met the robot EVA at the Connected Mobility lab. At PayPal, we even got to play along with their customer experience experts in a variety of live use cases like a burger joint or an ice creamery.

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Starting New Traditions

One of the perks to leading a trek is injecting the experience with your own flair. Based on some of the feedback we received from last year’s participants, we changed up the schedule this year to add a little more fun and flexibility. Included in our changes was an optional afternoon of free time in the middle of the week where we had some of our participants ride bikes through Golden Gate Park, get burritos in the Mission, or do cover letters at Philz Coffee. My favorite change was the addition of a Tech Trek Happy Hour on the last night in Palo Alto, where we dined on delicious Louisiana food at the restaurant NOLA and got to know each other more. However, I’m pretty sure everyone’s favorite activity was one of the 5 trips to In-and-Out burgers that week.

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