Just About Careers High Tech Panel

Johnson alumni from Google, Intel, eBay, LinkedIn, and Facebook share career tips with first-year students via videoconference.

Just About Careers High Tech Panel

It’s never too early for students to consider life after Johnson, and this year’s incoming class had a lot to think about after a full day of orientation that focused on MBA careers. Capping the Aug. 9 program was a videoconference highlighting opportunities in the high-tech sector as described by recent Johnson graduates working at industry heavyweights Google, Intel, eBay, LinkedIn, and Facebook. 

The consensus was that newly-minted MBAs would be wise to pursue positions in product and marketing management, finance, consulting, and engineering — and, if possible, have a skill set that touches on a selection of these areas. Panelists also agreed that their companies value creative thinking, problem-solving skills, and teamwork. 

At eBay, for example, the company seeks individuals with a background in strategic consulting and finance, said Sushmita Pilaka Saha, MBA ’11, a customer insights and global analytics specialist at the online marketplace. “To get a better idea of what is needed, speak with someone in a specific group, such as analytics, and be prepared to discuss how you will drive the business, rather than support it,” she said. 

Opportunities at social networking giant Facebook are primarily in sales and product marketing, according to Arshi Duffley, MBA ’12, a global strategist at the company. An advantage for most MBAs, she notes, is teamwork experience. 

Lori McMahon, MBA ’10, a program manager at Intel’s corporate philanthropy arm, said that her company targets MBAs with a recruiting program in its financial and leadership divisions. “They want to know what you are passionate about; maybe it’s mobile technology, or finance.” Like most other high-tech companies, she said, Intel has rotations: workers move from one area, and role, to another. 

The same is true at Google, where workers move among an array of jobs, depending upon the task at hand, said Chao Wang, MBA ’12, who works in business analytics and market outreach at the firm. “Because we do a lot of software development, MBAs could use their engineering or computer science knowledge,” he said, suggesting that students consider classes in programming and software development. Beyond that, he added, “The value of an MBA is being able to connect the dots and collaborate on problem-solving.” 

Such abilities also are vital during the job interview process, the panelists said, as recruiters evaluate candidates by presenting case studies and asking questions designed to determine the candidate’s knowledge of, and level of passion about, the company in question. 

“Technology companies want smart people who can demonstrate creative, innovative thinking. At interviews there will be behavioral questions and case studies that require different approaches to problem-solving,” Saha said. 

Intel’s McMahon pointed out that prospective employees must articulate how they add value to a business, what they know about the business, and demonstrate problem-solving skills. “Because technology moves at a fast pace, during interviews they want to know if you can make decisions quickly,” she said.  

Facebook also looks for people who understand the company and its objectives. “At an interview, you will be asked about what Facebook is doing well and/or projects you are currently working on,” Duffley said. “Employees are expected to be passionate about Facebook and its mission to make the world a better place.” 

It was fitting that the high-tech panel was held in lecture hall at Sage that was recently re-wired for optimal, remote audio-visual communications. The result was a seamless coast-to-coast connection that brought the panelists in Cornell-Queen’s boardrooms in San Jose, Calif., and New York City face to face with members of the class of 2015. 

– Jay Wrolstad


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