Tepper MBA Candidates “Trek” Across the Country to Learn from Industry Professionals and Alumni

For MBA candidates at the Tepper School of Business, learning extends far beyond the lessons taught in the classroom. Several first- and second-year MBA students experienced this first hand during the fall break when many of the student organizations completed “treks” to various regions of the country.

The Graduate Finance Association completed their trek in New York City, where the group participated in 26 corporate visits in Manhattan and New Jersey. At each firm, students had the opportunity to meet and network with recruiters, alumni and senior executives. Board members of the club led 125 Tepper first-year graduate students for visits at top investment banks, wealth management funds, consulting firms and tech firms interested in hiring Tepper students in finance-related roles. Additionally, an alumni reception was held at the headquarters of J.P. Morgan in Manhattan. At the reception, dean Robert Dammon hosted a speaker panel with senior executive guests from Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and J.P. Morgan. 

Also traveling to New York City, as well as Boston, Massachusetts, the Consulting Club had the opportunity to visit several consulting and strategy firms including Alcoa, PwC, AIG, Liberty Mutual and Bain. The trek was designed to provide first year students with a first-hand perspective on the organizational structure of consulting and internal strategy firms, the daily operations, and the culture and work environment. Both legs of the trek also included a networking event with Consulting Club alumni. “This was a great opportunity for Consulting Club members to learn more about the work of consulting firms and network with the alumni prior to their application submissions,” Consulting Club member Nima Abarghooie said.

The Tepper Marketing Club gave 15 first- and-second year MBA students the opportunity to observe marketing roles at industry leading companies in New York City. Trek-goers networked with marketing and senior leaders of several noteworthy companies. Google provided an in-depth look at their unique culture, showcasing their Manhattan office which contains numerous restaurants, kitchens, cafes and custom workspaces. Executives at Samsung highlighted the company’s plans for explosive growth, and illustrated many of the ways in which their technologies are being used in retail, healthcare and education. American Express provided key insights into financial services marketing, while GSK walked the trek attendees through case studies, illustrating strategic changes which reinvigorated some of their most successful brands. Diageo and Chobani offered samples some of their newest innovations while demonstrating recent industry trends which are driving their businesses.

The BioPharma and Healthcare Club traveled to Princeton, New Jersey and Boston, Massachusetts to visit a host of companies from all facets of the healthcare industry. Over a span of five days, they visited eight companies ranging from providers and medical device manufacturers to healthcare IT and pharmaceutical companies. The BioPharma and Healthcare Club members’ first stop was at Bristol-Myers Squibb’s R&D facility, located in Princeton, where students learned about the strategy they consider when bringing drugs to market.

The group also visited several Boston-based firms such as ThermoFisher Scientific, athenahealth, Philips Healthcare, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Cerulean Pharma, and Biogen Idec, where they enjoyed tours and discussed the companies’ latest breakthroughs in their products and services. These visits also gave the students an opportunity to network with Tepper School alumni at the various companies. The group ended their trip in Boston with a stop at the Deloitte Consulting office to discuss the effects of the Affordable Healthcare Act on overall healthcare in the United States. “We are all extremely grateful for the opportunities and knowledge that we could have only received through this experience,” Tam Le, BioPharma and Health Club member, said. “I would highly recommend this trek for anyone who is considering a career in the healthcare industry.”

Veering away from the other groups and heading to the west coast, the James R. Swartz Entrepreneurial Fellows travelled to Silicon Valley, California. “The James R. Swartz Entrepreneurial Fellowship trek was an exciting experience that afforded the fellows a small taste of the unique, infectious entrepreneurial spirit of Silicon Valley,” Matthew Cantele, current Swartz Fellow, said. The pinnacle of the trip was a dinner with program sponsor and Carnegie Mellon University alumnus James Swartz, MBA ’66.  Swartz, founder of the prestigious global venture capital firm Accel Partners, shared his wisdom and career experiences as a successful venture capitalist with the fellows. The Swartz Fellows also had the opportunity to meet with prominent venture capital firm Mohr Davidow Ventures at their offices in Menlo Park. The meeting featured a panel of seasoned startup veterans, which included Tepper School alumni Adil Wali, MBA ’07, and Sophie Lebrecht. “Every fellow had a great experience and is looking forward to their second go-round in the Valley come January,” Swartz Fellow Nick Bartel explained.

Also traveling across the country was the Business and Technology Club. The group travelled to Seattle, Washington, where they enjoyed an up-close view of what it is like to work at some of Seattle’s most exciting technology companies. The four-day agenda included visits to a variety of companies, including the corporate headquarters of Amazon, Microsoft and T-Mobile and Google’s downtown Seattle office. The students also visited Porch, a rapidly growing startup company that is working to revolutionize the home improvement experience. The trek was capped off with an exclusive tour of Boeing’s Everett Factory, one of the largest aircraft production facilities in the world. Additionally, the students were warmly welcomed by the Seattle alumni chapter, who hosted two evening events: an entrepreneurship panel discussion at Amazon headquarters and a happy hour meet-and-greet in downtown Bellevue. The students also enjoyed a ferry ride to Bainbridge Island for a networking event hosted by notable alumnus Geoff Entress, MSIA ’88.

The Tepper MBA student treks proved to be a valuable experience for all who were involved. Some of the groups will complete additional treks in January 2015.