In addition to the strong recruiting in Texas and the Midwest, McCombs has a presence on both coasts. Students can gain exposure by taking school-organized treks to such places as New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle. The focus of the Seattle Trek, obviously, is the tech scene. In this visit I had the opportunity to meet the area’s biggest companies as well as meet an exciting start-up with Texas connections.
Microsoft has been a long-time recruiter of McCombs MBAs. It was great to listen to all of the McCombs alums discuss their enjoyment and fulfillment of working at Microsoft. McCombs places graduates in a variety of MBA roles, but the most common is marketing. Alyse Coogan, MBA ’14, talked about marketing Azure and the growth of Microsoft’s cloud computing platform. Kalin Mckenna, MBA ’11, was also on hand to talk about her role as the marketing manager of the Surface tablet. All in all, it was a fantastic experience and reaffirmed to me that Microsoft would be an excellent company to begin a post-MBA career.
T-Mobile was the next stop of the day. T-Mobile has really undergone a transformation and is disrupting the telecom industry with their #BeMagenta focus. They talked a great deal about the leadership development program which allows incoming MBA students to spend three 9-month rotations in a variety of business groups. After the 27 months you are then placed as a Director in a business area of need. Do you want to have a 2.5 year path to major ownership and responsibility in a company? T-Mobile might be the right fit for you.
Not much needs to be said about Amazon. Chances are if you are reading this blog on the internet, you have purchased something off of Amazon. Amazon provides an immediate opportunity for MBAs to produce real value to a company. There are no training wheels at Amazon. You are expected to come in, be customer obsessed, and deliver results. The singular drive to best serve the customer really shined through with our talks with MBAs at Amazon. The culture is intense, but so is the satisfaction in knowing that you can directly contribute to the bottom line.
A few of my classmates and I were able to schedule an “off-trek” visit with a growing start-up in Seattle. The CEO of Tune, Peter Hamilton, is a University of Texas at Austin undergraduate alum and was gracious enough to talk about the company, getting funding from VCs and how to keep the culture of a company consistent in the midst of big growth. Tune, a mobile marketing technology company, doubled revenues in 2014 and grew to employ over 250 people. Meeting with Peter was a great example of the strength of the UT alumni base and the willingness of Longhorns to help out in any way possible.
Zulily is an e-marketplace company that IPO’d in 2013. They have undergone tremendous growth and are a very unique business model. Unlike companies that emphasize fast shipping and almost immediate fulfillment, Zulily isn’t focused on quickly getting goods to customers. Instead, they offer a model where they will only ship out goods once they have reached a critical mass of purchases. They want MBAs that can think strategically about growing their business and how to stay competitive in a market that has seen rapid growth and cutthroat competition (HauteLook, MyHabit, etc.)
The modus operandi of business school is to have recruiters come to campus and pitch to you and your classmates on why their company would make a perfect fit for your post-MBA goals. The Seattle Trek, and other treks, provide an avenue to actually see company offices firsthand, to get hints of their company culture, and to generally obtain a greater sense of what it would be like to work in that environment every day. Because of this, I’d recommend that every MBA take the opportunity to visit companies on their home turf.