A strong finance foundation combined with nerding out on tech – at Booth – one can have the best of the both worlds. Let tomorrow’s bankers tell you why being on the cusp of technology is so important these days.
How time flies! It is the holiday season again. Wondering why last winter in Chicago did not bother me much, I realized that it was this time last year 50 of us embarked an amazing trip to Seattle and the Bay Area – the Booth Tech Trek.
Booth Tech Trek is a student led trip that helps Boothies who are interested in a career in technology explore top tech companies in Seattle and the Bay Area, and to connect with alumni and each other. One of our beloved trek leaders, Vivian, did a great post at the beginning of the year from a trek leader perspective. After going through the summer internship and recruiting, I think it would be interesting to revisit the experience as a participant again and share with you why more and more people are thinking of Booth as an entrepreneurial and tech school.
There were countless reasons why I chose to come to Booth: flexible curriculum, variety of companies and industries that recruit on campus, rigor of the academic program… the list goes on. However, one of the biggest factors was the school’s location in the city of Chicago. Having grown up on the east coast, I wanted to explore a new city during the two years of my MBA. Booth was the perfect fit since it puts on display the best of what Chicago has to offer. Harper Center in Hyde Park is surrounded by beautiful parks, interesting Gothic architecture, and Harry Potter-esque libraries. On the other hand, Gleacher Center in downtown is located right in between the shopping district of Magnificent Mile and Cloud Gate (aka The Bean) in Millennium Park.
My name is YaoYao Wang and I’m a first-year MBA at Booth. This past quarter I helped organize a West Coast Marketing Trek for my classmates over Winter Break. The trip provided great opportunities for Booth students to get a leg up in internship recruiting, get to know the great companies which hire Booth talent, and spend some quality time with classmates. As I found out, organizing a trek is hard work, but a rewarding way to engage with the broader Booth community and give back to your classmates. Here are my five easy steps for organizing a trek
Hongtae Kim worked in investment banking in Hong Kong prior to coming to Booth. He was an undergraduate at the University of Chicago and decided to return mainly because he loved the academic atmosphere of the University of Chicago and Booth, and enjoyed the city and the Chicago Bulls. He is concentrating in Marketing, Strategy, and Entrepreneurship at Booth, and will be working at AccuRadio, an internet-radio startup based in Chicago, over the summer.
His story shows that in order to land your ideal internship, it sometimes requires patience, motivation, and a little luck—coupled with leveraging the huge, diverse, and generous Booth alumni network. While Booth alumni are well-represented in finance, consulting, and corporate fields, the independent and entrepreneurial nature of our students and alumni means that you can find us in unexpected places.
Coming to Booth, one of the most common pieces of advice I got was to fully utilize the Booth alumni network. As an international student, I was a bit skeptical of how much I would be able to leverage the alumni network and didn’t know how I was supposed to do it. On top of that, I was looking into a music-related career path which isn’t a “traditional” post-MBA field.
While it sounds like a cliché, the Booth alumni network is everywhere and willing to help you out, and you could encounter alums in some random places. For instance, I met Kurt Hanson, Class of 1980, in San Francisco at the SF Music Tech Summit which is a conference for music tech startups. I had decided to fly to SF to make connections and learn about what’s going on in the industry, but I wasn’t expecting to meet any MBAs, let alone Booth alums. Naturally, when I bumped into Kurt (by accident) at the cocktail networking session, we were both pleasantly surprised to meet someone from Booth at the event. Kurt was invited as a panelist as a veteran in the radio industry and the Founder / CEO of AccuRadio, an internet-radio start-up based in Chicago. We casually talked about Booth, our backgrounds and the conference, and the following week, Kurt invited me to visit his office in Chicago. We continued our discussion on the music tech industry over dinner.
After a couple of meetings, I asked if I could work for his company over the summer as an intern, and he was excited to have me on board. Like most start-up recruiting, there was no formal vetting or interview process. He talked about his company and his views of the industry and I expressed my strong interest in the business. I also identified a couple of areas in which I could help the company as an MBA intern. I will be working in a broad range of projects including revamping the company’s search engine marketing efforts, supporting fund raising efforts, and identifying international business opportunities. While the projects are varied, I am certain that the range of my summer experience will help my transition from banking into technology. I am very excited about the opportunity, as the company sits in the exact field I was pursuing, and I will have the autonomy to define my own projects and apply my classroom studies to my summer internship.
When it comes to networking, especially if you have a narrow target list, I think the most important thing is to be aggressive and seek out different venues, rather than relying solely on the on-campus recruiting process. My decision to fly out to San Francisco to attend a conference that fit my interest was what made the difference for me. I ended up meeting a potential mentor in the music tech industry and a Booth alum who was happy to help me out. Especially as a career switcher, having first-hand interaction with an insider helps you express your interest and make a case for yourself.
I am looking forward to my summer in Chicago, especially after going through four winters in Chicago! More importantly, I am excited to get great experiences and networking during my summer that will help me achieve my career goal of carving a niche position in the evolving music tech industry.