This week, we’ve been talking about the surge in popularity of the Tech industry among MBA students and graduates. While these numbers can certainly be attributed to the strength of the applicants and the market demand, many top MBA Programs are increasing the amounts of programs and resources they are providing for students who are interested in the Tech Sector.
Many schools are including more and more technology related topics into their academic courses, both in the Core Classes and Elective Classes. Cornell recently announced it was redesigning its core curriculum to include a greater emphasis on technology issues such as big data. Furthermore, as any MBA student can probably attest to it’s hard to not talk about companies like Amazon, Wal-Mart, etc. in business school, and inevitably, when you talk about these companies you can’t ignore how they leverage technology in key areas such as operations, marketing, and strategy.
On the elective front, schools are trying to keep up with the evolving pace of technology trends. Haas has both a design-thinking class as well as a design-thinking club, UCLA Anderson has a Digital Strategy course which was co-developed with Google, and HBS teaches a class in Product Management 101.
In many instances, students are walking into their internships with a handful of classes which directly and indirectly address topics and concepts that are related to technology companies.
Student Activities are an integral part of the MBA experience at Top MBA Programs, with Student Activities and Student Clubs playing a critical role in the career discovery and career exploration process. While many schools have some sort of Technology-related club, there has been a surging increase in additional clubs that are complimentary to Tech or a subset of the Technology related field.
For instance, Haas has a Design Thinking Club, Sloan has a Data Analytics Club, and HBS has a Bitcoin club. These clubs host events and activities that expose students to the industry, connect them with alum and industry practitioners, and prepare students for careers in this particular field.
Tech Treks – Almost all schools host a Tech-Trek to Tech hotbeds such as the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston and New York. These provide opportunities for students to visit specific companies, learn about what’s currently happening at those companies, and connect with various employees and alum.
Conferences – Conferences are great opportunities to learn about key themes or trends in the industry. Haas’s Digital Media and Entertainment Club (DEMC) hosts its annual Play Conference which attracts over 1000 people each year. The event includes keynotes, breakers, a hackathon and networking forum with startups and tech companies.
Guest Speakers – Most schools and student clubs partner with alum or industry luminaries to bring in guest speakers. Some of these are fairly informal, such as brown bag lunches with Alum, while others, such as when Anderson brought Peter Thiel
Peter Thiel speaks at UCLA (Anderson)
Perhaps the most important aspect for career-related outcomes are the activities and resources providing for recruiting. Schools and student organizations are providing lots of resources to help students achieve their desired career outcomes
Group Treks – As mentioned previously, Career Treks, like this one at HBS, are pretty much standard across all MBA programs. During these treks, students visit a handful of companies to meet employers, recruiters and alum. While the purpose of these treks are informational, inevitably they tend to cover some sort of component of recruiting. While going on a Career Trek and visiting companies like Google, Apple or Facebook won’t guarantee you an offer, it does give you the chance to get a sense of the culture and the people, specifically alum from your school. I recently heard a data point that Fuqua had to increase the size of their trek (double) to accommodate the interest amongst students.
Recruiter Relationship Management – Almost all Career Management Offices/Career Development Offices have staff dedicated towards building relationships with employers. Given the popularity of tech companies these companies tend to be high on their list. At some schools, the Alumni/Development Offices will work closely with the CMC staff to identify alum at target companies who can often build relationships between that particular company and the school. In these cases, there can be mutually beneficial relationships formed between schools and employers.
Resume Books – Many student organizations will compile what they call “resume books,” which are a collection of resumes from first and second year students. These books will then be shared with prospective employers so they can identify potential candidates that they can contact down the road for interviews. At some schools, some organizations can charge money (and employers will pay $$$) to have access to these resume books.
Campus Presentations – Finally, perhaps the most visible opportunity on the recruiting front is a campus presentation. Companies will come to campus to meet students and talk to them about full-time and internship opportunities. While the many of these tend to happen earlier in the year, they really can fall at any time on the academic calendar.