reflections on ~the big city~

On this final Trek to New York City, I finally understood the power of data and the BC network by speaking to the BC alumni working at these amazing companies.  It was interesting to understand how technology can influence small start-ups as well as huge tech and financial institutions through data analytics and automation.  The material from our TechTrek Easts were especially useful, when companies spoke about their hopes of integration into artificial intelligence, machine learning and blockchain.  My favorite and most meaningful visits were Sprinklr, Dropbox, Metlife, Harry’s and Goldman Sachs.

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Sprinklr and Carlos’s talk really kicked off the trip well, and it got me excited for all the other ones on the agenda.  From Spinklr, I was able to relate to Carlos when he gave insights about his experiences as a first generation immigrant.  As a first generation immigrant in college, I was able to relate to his eagerness to take on new jobs and roles in order to support family needs.  His empathetic nature when running the operations within Sprinklr has encouraged me to take on leadership roles that help others succeed and grow as individuals.  His willingness to learn and to invent thoughtful ideas to overcome hardships has changed my mindset when facing challenges in my academic career and in my work life.  I hope to follow his advice to remain adaptable and keep a positive attitude in any kind of environment.

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Before this trip, I already had an affinity towards Dropbox from my presentation research, but the visit to the company helped me experience the company culture and personality.  When I spoke with Courtney from Dropbox about my previous experiences in Customer Success, she was happy to speak further about her current role at Dropbox and her career path.  I found that her experience was similar to mine, since she began her career at a BC start-up and used this experience to obtain a role at a larger technology firm like Dropbox.  I understood that leveraging the BC network through reaching out and asking questions would be an important part of this trip and beyond.  The panel at Facebook also spoke about their exposure to different opportunities through their connections and their curiosity to explore different technology companies.  Through my own network and connections, I hope to continue learning more about different firms and their technological innovations.

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At Metlife, I was extremely encouraged by Hugh to bring my entrepreneurial spirit to huge corporations that may still have outdated methods.  By hearing him reflect back on his career path, it was inspiring to hear that entrepreneurs that have a different mindset than huge corporations can continue to bring new ideas and innovations.  From Hugh’s talk, I learned that employees at huge corporations need to adapt this “get to good enough and go” attitude in order to produce new ideas and get new products onto market.  With this mindset of failing and learning quickly, corporations give new results to clients and help them reach their goals quicker.  Metlife has truly differentiated itself by being an older firm with continued growth in technology and innovation.  With my start-up experience and mindset, I really hope to bring this entrepreneurial spirit to improve a large firm’s efficiency and transform the organization as a whole.

In Harry’s blue-hued office, their talks about the innovative supply chain and competitors inspired me to learn more about the company and its culture.  At Harry’s, Matt gave insightful feedback about the difficulties when working with foreign suppliers and distributors.  Because Harry’s has its factories based in Germany, I was interested in seeing how cultural barriers interfere with the course of business.  As the Director of Global Sourcing, Matt spoke about taking the time to build relationships with the suppliers to overcome these barriers.  This willingness to learn about diverse ways of thinking spoke volumes of Harry’s company culture and its influence on the employees.  It was also exciting to hear about their new female razor brand, Flamingo, and how they hope to change the online and retail razor industry for both males and females!

Goldman Sachs quite honestly blew me away.  In the previous Fintech panel, Johnny Ayers and the other panelists spoke about how Goldman Sachs is their largest competitor in the Fintech space.  During the visit to the Goldman office, it was clear that the employees treasure the use of data in their forecasting reports and interactions with clients.  Our keynote speaker, Marie Louise, was extremely interactive and eager to share about her experiences at Goldman, which made this visit a great way to end the trip!  I enjoyed learning about her proposed changes on the structured school system and her reflections on her college classes.  Her genuine passion for data analytics and its use within a large financial institution changed my mindset about how to apply technology to these more established firms.

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This trip was an amazing experience, and the fast walking during the transitions replaced my workouts for the week!  I am thankful that our class prepared questions ahead of time, which gave me the confidence to raise my hand.  I will miss the weirdly beautiful panoramic photos and yummy picnic sandwiches.  It was an awesome way to get to know everyone in the class, and I hope to keep in touch with you all throughout our BC careers.  🙂

 

2 thoughts on “reflections on ~the big city~

  1. Thank you for sharing, Felicia! I completely agree with you that Carlos’s talk was extremely inspirational. It is clear that he has unrelenting determination as well as a special entrepreneurial spirit. It was just remarkable to me that he innovated at such a low level position, which allowed him to rise tremendously in the ranks. My main takeaway from this was that people do notice innovation even within massive companies, so if you can always try to tackle your projects in an innovative fashion, then you’ll gain the respect of your colleagues, managers, and be able to grow as an entrepreneur no matter what position you may have.

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  2. Great post Felicia! Like both you and Nick, I really enjoyed Carlos’s talk. I think we can all really learn about the importance of taking initiative from the story he told us about how he was able to created a new Bell standard. I also liked hearing about how Hugh maintains an entrepreneurial spirit at MetLife by always asking himself, “If I was not constrained by a large company, how would I solve this problem?” His statement about failing fast fast and learning quickly is one we heard at many of the companies we visited, especially ClassPass and Google. On a personal note, I will miss being your roommate! Thanks for being part of what made TechTrek such a great experience for me.

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