Last year, as Deepal Singh Chhabra (MBA ’21) returned to India after concluding a cybersecurity project with the Michigan government involving key government stakeholders, he wondered, “Could an MBA help me take my career to the next level?”
“My skills were focused on technology, but I also knew the importance of being able to talk the business language to clients,” he said. “I realized I needed to enhance my business knowledge and acumen. Hence, I decided to gain this knowledge and return to the corporate world to contribute.”
The Broad Full-Time MBA program helps develop this knowledge, but it also offers something unique: the opportunity to gain real-world experience and talk to business professionals who are willing to share what they’ve learned.
That’s exactly what a group of 11 Broad Full-Time MBA students — including Chhabra and Blake Robinson (MBA ’21) — experienced over winter break during Tech Trek, a program that gives students insight into technology careers.
Kicking off the week in Seattle and ending in the San Francisco Bay Area, the students were accompanied by Wayne Hutchison, director of the Broad Full-Time MBA program, as they visited Google, Walmart, Airbnb, New Engen, Qualtrics and Microsoft.
At each of the six companies, they were greeted by at least two Broad MBA alumni who were eager to share information about what their company does, the fast pace of technology, their unique corporate cultures and what a career in tech is really like.
Between company tours, in-depth conversations and exposure to different cultures, these participants got an inside look at what technology organizations are all about.
Because he wanted to make the most of the opportunity, Chhabra prepared for Tech Trek in three ways:
- He used LinkedIn to connect with people he wanted to meet on-site as well as contacts he made at these companies during Broad Full-Time MBA networking events.
- He researched supply chain initiatives of each company he would meet.
- He prepared his elevator pitch so he could quickly and accurately convey his experiences and future career goals.
“Google has been one of my dream companies for the last 11 years,” Chhabra said. “Having the opportunity to be on their campus was nothing short of a blessing. From the moment I stepped into each of those six offices, I was impressed by the working culture and quintessential tech vibe.”
Robinson had a slightly different purpose for Tech Trek. Although technology is a popular field for many MBA graduates, he hadn’t really considered it for himself.
Robinson, who previously worked in digital marketing, decided to pursue a Broad Full-Time MBA to build out his self-taught skills. “I’ve taken a lot of online courses over the years but didn’t have any certifications or credentials,” he said. “I knew that if I wanted to do marketing, I needed an MBA to make that happen.”
Living in the Midwest, he also knew he didn’t have much exposure to tech employers — which meant he didn’t know much about them. Tech Trek gave him the opportunity to explore the possibility for himself.
“It was a great chance to get a feel for what types of companies are out there,” Robinson said. “It opened my eyes and made me realize that I could potentially see myself working in a tech company one day. You don’t have to be a programmer or coder to be successful in that environment.”
Students also had the opportunity to attend evening networking events with alumni in the region. “Hearing their perspectives about how to optimize your opportunities and your MBA experiences was very valuable,” Chhabra said. “Tech Trek was not only an insightful experience, but it was also the most refreshing experience of the MBA program so far.”