Spotlight On: MIT Sloan “Tech Trekkers”

More than 120 MIT Sloan School of Management MBA students will get an on-the-ground look at the current economic  recovery beginning this week as they visit dozens of cutting-edge companies in Silicon Valley, Seattle and the Boston area during their annual job-hunting, network-building MIT Sloan Tech Treks.

Such treks provide MIT Sloan students with a valuable opportunity to network with alumni in the technology industry; from the banking world of New York to the governmental and nonprofit organizations of Washington, D.C., or the media and entertainment industry in Las Vegas, Treks may occur anywhere there is a rich vein of business to explore.

As they embark on their separate trips, some of the MBAs expressed cautious optimism that job prospects are improving, especially in technology. “One of the companies we tried to book last year gave us the cold shoulder, which I assume was because they didn’t have any open positions,” says Ryan Thurston, who is joining the Trek to Seattle.

“This year, the same company is at least willing to sit down and discuss a visit,” Thurston says.

While the Trekkers will visit major players such as Microsoft and Amazon, they will also meet MIT Sloan alumni and others at lesser-known companies, such as Seattle’s Madrona Venture Group, which invests in smaller, seed-stage companies seeking to grow.

“Visiting such a range of companies will give Trek participants a good sense of what the Pacific Northwest offers in terms of technology and job opportunities,” says Thurston. The Seattle trekkers will sponsor a venture capital panel and “startup mixer” to give participants more insight into the region’s entrepreneurial community.

Manjul Sahay, an engineer by education who turned toward being an entrepreneur right after college, is looking forward to meeting with companies in Silicon Valley. “I want to experience first-hand the famous start-up culture of this area,” says Sahay. Among the companies included in the Silicon Valley trek are Facebook, Google, eBay and LinkedIn.

MIT Sloan students participating in the Boston area trek will also meet with a wide range of companies, including Novell, Nokia, Akamai, and Skyhook Wireless. Boston Trekker Mayank Kapoor, who hopes to work for a technology company as a product manager after graduating MIT Sloan, also anticipates a more favorable jobs climate, at least in technology.

“Technology companies are definitely upbeat about the economy,” says Kapoor. “In their presentations, they are telling us how their revenues and profits are growing this year compared to previous years. And they are actively looking to hire people as well.”

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