“Why are you here and not somewhere else?” is a Booth mantra that manifests itself in many ways in our community. With Booth’s pay-it-forward culture in mind, it was a no-brainer that Reed Semcken and I applied to be the 2018 Marketing West Trek leaders. Booth offers a variety of career treks, ranging from “Bank Week” in New York City to the Healthcare Trek in California. The goal of each is to give students the chance to visit companies and cities where they might want to work.
Our goal was to set up a trip that would allow for a holistic experience for our marketing trekkers; we wanted them to get to see the companies where they might work and the cities where they might live (Seattle and San Francisco).
The beauty of being part of the Booth community is that the pay-it-forward culture doesn’t end when you wrap up your final course – it continues well beyond your two years in Hyde Park. We were able to lean on the Kilts Center for Marketing to make connections for us with many distinguished alumni and secure visits to exciting companies out West.
We started in Seattle with visits to Microsoft, Alaska Airlines, Amazon, Boeing, and Starbucks. Some of the highlights included entering the world’s quietest room, running flight simulations, and touring Amazon’s Spheres. Through these stops, we learned about the importance of data in marketing and the role it plays in product innovation. If you are reading this, you probably already know, but marketing as a function is not about drinking an Old Fashioned while planning advertisements (despite what Don Draper would lead you to believe!).
Beyond our company visits in Seattle, we took the time to do some sightseeing, and had the opportunity to roam Pike’s Market, browse the Chihuly Glass Museum, and sip some fancy coffee at the Starbucks Roastery!
Next was three days in San Francisco, where we had the opportunity to visit Salesforce, Premier Nutrition, LinkedIn, Google, Old Navy, and Lyft– a great mix of tech and CPG. By leveraging the Booth network, we were able to benefit from having candid conversations with our alumni hosts who talked to us about how they used their Booth MBAs in their day-to-day roles. While we chatted, they cited Jean-Pierre Dubé’s Pricing Strategies and Ann McGill’s Managing in Organizations as courses with learnings they still build on today. An overarching theme of these visits, in addition to data and innovation, was the importance of having a strong corporate culture with uplifting leadership. It was great to learn that management at all of these companies find ways to show that they truly care about their employees.
Outside of these office connections, San Francisco turned out to be a gastronomical adventure! Our trip wouldn’t have been complete without a trip to In-N-Out Burger and a dinner in Chinatown. To cap it all off, we made sure to stop by the Original Ghirardelli Chocolate Manufactory and tour Fisherman’s Wharf.
In all, this trip was a reminder about why we are at Booth and not somewhere else: the invaluable network and opportunities it gives us for the summer and beyond. Thanks to the Kilts Center for helping us make connections at the companies we visited, and thanks to the Booth alumni who hosted us this year!