McIntire’s Commerce Career Services (CCS) creates opportunities for its students to learn about the business world in a variety of exciting ways. There are lots of guest lectures, panels, colloquiums, and in class speakers every month, but one of the most interesting ways that McIntire helps students to connect with businesses is through trips to cities that companies actually operate in day to day.
This past January during winter break, CCS brought McIntire students on its inaugural Start-Up/Tech Trip to New York City to visit growing and important companies like Uber! Students that went on the trip were able to visit 11 companies in the startup sphere over the course of three days, and talk to McIntire alumni that work in the close-knit community.
To learn more about the trip, I sat down with James Kittleman, a Business Analytics track student in the M.S. in Commerce program, who had great things to report on his time spent in the Big Apple. James explained that the students were treated to some awesome panel discussions comprised of McIntire alumni and their co-workers. They would talk to the group about what it’s like to work in the startup world, explain the ins-and-outs of the industry, and often give career advice about how to break into the startup job market.
James was struck by the interesting nature of the startup world. He explained that the vibes of the industry are very different than that of the traditional 9-to-5 job that is seen as the norm. This unorthodox nature of work and more entrepreneurial approach to a career is a growing field and exciting to many new students with analytical degrees. The startup option offers students who are leaving college with degrees in emerging fields like Business Analytics an opportunity to explore how they want to shape their impact at a company. One exciting facet about startups is that the job description of the team members is often changing. James explained that this fast-paced and mixed approach to work helps to keep teams on their feet and thinking in new ways.
Although all of the 11 companies the trip visited were exciting, two that stood out for James were Livestream and Uncubed. Livestream is a leader in live streaming events like Facebook Live, Instagram Live, The World Chess Match, and La Liga (the soccer league in Spain). Uncubed is a company that works like a middle man in the startup world. Companies will relate to Uncubed information about jobs they have open and their culture and then Uncubed will post videos and information about the company and the position so that people looking to work in the startup world can apply.
One of the most interesting takeaways from the trip was the variety of ways that people can get into the startup community. There are problem solvers that solve their own problems and then scale that to a large company. There are also people who are technical who can work with people who have the ideas. Then further there are people who like working in a smaller community, who just enjoy the perks of the more relaxed feel—like dressing down a bit and having a more relaxed and intimate connection to the direction of the company and its growth. A great benefit to working in startups is the ability to work with a smaller group of people and have a tangible, large impact quickly after starting. Not to mention the ability to shift positions within the company quickly and transition from role to role while learning skills and applying yourself differently.
Entering the startup world poses an exciting and invigorating alternative to more traditional job routes, however, it can be hard to break into the close-knit community of companies and culture without understanding your way around. McIntire offers students a chance to get to know influencers that have already established themselves in the startup sphere. CCS provides students with the ability to begin to network and make connections with people and companies that resonate with them. This past Start-Up/Tech Trip was not only an interesting and fun experience for the lucky few who were able to attend, but also an opportunity for students to gain knowledge about entering the growing world of startups.