I have a confession to make. I'm a major geek. I play video games, I paint miniatures, I run tabletop D&D games. When we visited EA Games over the break on our B&T trek, I nerdgasmed everywhere. I only recently came to the realization that I could now, upon graduation of MBA, transition into a career that I never contemplated before - working in the video game industry.
I really loved the culture and work/life balance that the tech firms all had. Work/life is very important to me for reasons I'll explain in another post. However, it was an interview I had with a tech company that revealed my weakness in trying to get into a tech job, let alone a gaming job: on paper, I don't look like I would fit in with tech. My resume detailed my life experiences and accomplishments and while I highlighted the skills that a job posting would ask for, it read like I came from finance in oil and gas (which I did). So think of all the adjectives that come into mind when thinking finance oil & gas - yeah, doesn't fit with tech, right? The interviewer pointed this out to me when he admitted that he called me in to interview merely because he was curious as to why I was applying and wanted to get to meet me - and then I blew him away with my knowledge of the company and my general enthusiasm. Although I didn't have marketing experience at all, everything else was in my favor.
So I had big weaknesses to overcome. I knew I could shine well in an interview; it was getting an interview that was the problem. Therefore... network! (oh, and re-do resume, but networking was much better option)
Thorough LinkedIn, I managed to connect with a (former) producer at Bioware. We had a great conversation - I could tell at first, from reading my LinkedIn profile, that he had his doubts, but the first thing I rolled off was essentially the sentence at the beginning of this post and therefore my geek cred was established. At the finale of the conversation, he mentioned the Game Developers Conference and asked if I was going. I hadn't heard of it, so I mumbled something. He then suggested I go and if I do, let him know.
When I hung up, I immediately looked up the conference (and thus remembered what it was), noted that the dates were during the week of finals except for Thursday and Friday, and checked airfares. For me, "suggested" means "you should". I did it with Deloitte at the case competition (our judge "suggested" we stay to watch the finals, so I did and I'm sure that was partly what got me an interview). After that, I reached out to one of the ETC's main professor's Jesse Schell, whom I contacted late last year, to see if any ETC students are attending. He sent out an email to the entire student body of ETC and I've had three people so far contact me to say hi and that they're going. Talk about awesome networking opportunities! Also found out on Friday that one of the second years who did his internship with Ubisoft is also attending.
I tell prospective students that I'm probably one of the only students in the class that has truly taken advantage of the cross-campus opportunities that are there. I believe it's partly because I seek them out - I didn't know of the ETC until it happened to be that one of my Entrepreneurship classmates, and later teammate, was a student there. It was through him that I connected with Jesse. I'm in the Technology Leadership track partly because I would have to do a CS class. Lastly, I'm planning on taking an Advanced Negotiations class in the Heinz school because the author of one of the books I read at the beginning of each year is teaching it - Linda Babcock of "Women Don't Ask" fame.
It's just exciting that these opportunities exist.