Tech Trek East: Expectations Surpassed

Near the beginning of my freshman year, I learned that BC offered a class called Tech Trek that worked to expose students to the breadth of opportunities available at technology companies. After discovering my interest in tech, the idea of taking a class like this became increasingly appealing. Additionally, a number of my close friends had the opportunity to take Tech Trek West last semester and raved about their experience when they came back. The culmination of all the positive feedback prompted me to eagerly apply for Tech Trek East.

I had high expectations for the class, and I am thankful to say that my expectations were surpassed. After the trip, I felt energized by the incredible people, ideas, and environments we were lucky enough to encounter. Each visit provided me with new insights and helped me gain a better idea of the type of company I would want to join.

Some of the main areas that really stuck out to me included attitude, culture, and the BC network.

 

Attitude

Growing up, my parents always taught me that your attitude is the one thing that you can control in all situations. I’ve always been a big believer in trying to be optimistic despite tough situations that might unfold against your will. Listening to Carlos Dominguez, the President of Spinklr, talk helped me to more fully appreciate this concept. He is the epitome of someone that has been dealt a challenging hand of cards, and through his positive attitude and innovative spirit, he managed to still find success. He encouraged us to approach everything with a “zest and positive energy”. I think that this advice is so valuable and important. In order to survive the troughs of sorrow that Simon Berg referenced, you need to stay strong and maintain an optimistic outlook even when nothing seems to be going right. This is no easy task to accomplish and something that I hope to continuously work on and improve. Captain Kirk aka Marie Louise Kirk claimed that schools are doing a disservice to us by providing a predictable schedule with a paved path for success in the classroom. I was intrigued by the Harvard class she brought up in which the professor intentionally would instigate chaos to observe how the students reacted. She was one of my favorite speakers and caused me to question how I would handle a situation when, in the words of the incredible Sophie Miller, “shit hits the fan”. I hope that I would be energized by the situation and ride the adrenaline rush like these two women.

Classpass

Culture

After going to a few information sessions at BC and reading about companies, I realized how often the culture of an organization rises to the forefront of discussion. When I would talk with representatives from Deloitte or JP Morgan, I wondered how different or even established the cultures of these massive companies actually was. However, after visiting so many offices in a short duration, the variance in the “vibes” at different offices quickly became apparent. When we would talk to the employees, I would usually feel like I could either see myself thriving in the environment and becoming good friends with the employees or sensing that the company wouldn’t be a great fit. One thing that really stood out to me was when employees seemed to be passionate about the mission behind the company. When we were listening to Brendan Feinberg talk about the rapid growth of WeWork or Will Hennessy and Julia Fawal from TED discuss the power of spreading ideas, I could feel the energy radiating off of them. Before visiting Harry’s, I did not view the improvement of men’s razors as a valiant cause that I would jump to support. However, after hearing the panelist describe how much more there is to Harry’s than simply providing affordable, high-quality razors, I started to believe in their mission and could see myself fitting into their company culture. I think Google gets a lot of hype for the culture that they fuse into the workplace. After visiting the Boston office (and seeing how wonderful Sophie Miller and other Google employees are), I understand why Google receives more than two million job applications in a year. Although Google didn’t surprise me, I was surprised by how much I liked the culture at Facebook. I really enjoyed the people we had the chance to meet with, especially Aakash Kothari, and was surprised by the camaraderie and loyalty. When I (hopefully) become employed one day, I hope my behavior will exude a similar type of passion and contentment for the work I am doing.

office.jpg

BC Network

Even in my freshman year alone, I was fortunate to have numerous positive encounters with the BC network. Every alumni that I reached out to was extremely receptive and willing to help and support me. However, I didn’t realize the intensity or magnitude of the network until I was face-to-face with one incredible alumni after another. Whether it was Johnny Ayers, co-founder and SVP of Socure, reaching out to executives in the fintech space to provide us with the best experience or Brendan Feinberg helping to organize the Tech Council event, I was constantly in awe of people’s willingness to do everything within their power to help us. Despite the fact that we were visiting with extremely busy and accomplished people, I can’t think of one person that didn’t offer to share their contact information and welcomed having anyone reach out to them. I think few schools are able to match the strength of the BC network.

tech council.PNG

Although the themes of controlling your attitude, importance of cultural fit, and the power of the BC network stood out to me, there are so many other topics I could delve into. I feel so thankful to have had the opportunity to take this class. However, I also recognize that none of this would have been possible without the energy, time, and commitment from Professor Kane, Professor Doyle, Kelsey, our wonderful TAs Julia and Rohan, and the incredible BC alums. Additionally, I feel fortunate to have been surrounded by so many intelligent and driven classmates that made it a joy to go to class everyday. This class has certainly made an impact on me, and I hope to one day pay it forward to the students that come after us.

3 thoughts on “Tech Trek East: Expectations Surpassed

  1. Thanks for sharing Jenna! First of all, do not say you will “hopefully” be employed. You are going to absolutely be employed at an amazing company and one day will probably become a CEO! Like you, I enjoyed hearing the mission behind the companies we visited. I think those missions are what add strength to the company’s brand and helps them differentiate themselves from their competitors. For example, Harry’s is not only creating great and fairly inexpensive products, but is only trying to combat male stereotypes through their donations to various nonprofits. I think nowadays, individuals, especially ones our age, want to buy from a brand that they can get behind.

    Like

  2. Great post, Julia. I loved experiencing all the different cultures across the companies we visited. My favourite was Ceros, where every employee was encouraged to put their passions on display (and dogs were allowed in the office). Culture was never something I had considered to be important for my own personal career, but now it’s one of the factors that I will be considering the most.

    Like

  3. Loved the reflection, Jenna! It was so nice to get to know you on this trip. Two things: completely agree on your point about culture, I think with the rise of new “people officers” and efforts to maintain company culture to increase productivity will be huge. From past group/teamwork experiences, I know how integral the role of cultural relations between the members can be to the success of the overall team and accomplishments of its goals. Second, I agree on the vastness of the BC network was something I didn’t actualize before. But what surprised me even more was the fact that even though it is widespread and vast, people are still willing to help each other out as if we were just peers in college. I loved that atmosphere and being able to instantly get close to someone at Google or Facebook because of BC.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s