The fall colors are fading away and the pretty little Charlottesville is getting cold and cosy. Before I get into winter hibernation mode, I wanted to share my learning’s from a recent trip to Silicon Valley. I hope those of you doing off-grounds tech recruiting and interested in learning about the hottest tech companies find it useful.
Recruiting has so far kept me busy in second year. After spending an awesome summer on the west coast, I came back to Darden with a strong will to find a full-time role in a fast growing tech firm. Many of my Darden peers who are interested in tech industry will empathize with me about the challenges of tech recruiting. First, the rapid pace of changes make the industry extremely dynamic and exciting . Most of the action happens on the west coast, specially in the silicon valley. Being on the east coast makes it challenging to network with these fast growing tech companies. Second, it’s an industry which is very open to people from all backgrounds and is thus very competitive. A recent article in WSJ talks about how elite MBA grads across all top schools in US are flocking to work in technology.
Microsoft and Amazon are two big west coast tech firms that recruit on-grounds at Darden. While these are great companies, the world of technology is vast and offers numerous other opportunities. It’s hard to discover this expanding universe sitting on the east coast. Darden fortunately has an extremely helpful and amazing alumni network in tech industry which is growing stronger every year.
I and a couple of other Darden second years focused on tech recruiting visited bay area in October to learn more about the fast growing tech firms, specially the small and the mid-sized ones that do not have an established MBA recruiting program. We were able to set up meetings with twelve companies including Tripit, Bloomreach, Eventbrite, Jawbone, Twitter, Box, Twilio, Groupon , Intuit and Salesforce, mostly with the help of Darden alumni.
I strongly believe that for anyone recruiting in the technology industry, it’s very important to visit the companies that you’re interested in. While all tech companies look for a strong passion for technology in prospective candidates, there are a lot of big and small differences between each firm, the roles and responsibilities and the company culture. Understanding these differences is important. In the process of learning about the companies that I’m interested in, I’ve been able to determine my fit across these wide variety of firms. The ability to see a clear fit translates into passion and excitement which makes recruiting an enjoyable experience.
During our bay-area visit, we rarely had formal recruiting conversations. Our main goal was to understand the companies, their business model, culture, the roles and gather information that would help us effectively prepare for the tech interviews. A small and focused group made it easy for us to dig deeper into the experiences of people we met and draw useful insights. We also met some of the Darden alumni over informal coffee chats and absolutely enjoyed hearing about their inspirational stories and their journey into the tech world.
I strongly encourage all the first years who are recruiting for tech industry to go for the Seattle and San Francisco bay area job treks. I have learnt that there is no one secret sauce to successfully navigate the vast and growing tech industry. You learn new things in each and every interaction with people who share similar passion for technology. It’s an industry that loves risk-takers. If you love being challenged everyday, love to innovate and thrive in unpredictability, march out and create your own path to your dream company.