Carlson Goes West Again!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Are you passionate about the Tech world? The world which is innovating and changing with every second! I am back with an amazing experience of another trek. This time with a new city and different mix of companies. We discovered Seattle this time, the city known for the Space Needle, the Pike Street Market and the future of technology innovation!!
Just as last time, "Carlson Goes West" was organized by Graduate Business Career Center of Carlson School of Management and attended by MBA (Master in Business Administration) and MSBA (Master of Science in Business Analytics) students. This time we were also accompanied by undergraduate students. The trek was scheduled a week before the school started for the spring semester. It was planned to give students a better perspective of current market trends and innovations in the tech industry and introduce us to the companies on the West coast. During the trek, we visited a mix of companies that had completely different core competencies and highlighted a wide variety of industries, such as Telecommunication, Technology, Consulting and eCommerce.

We started our trek at Amazon’s headquarters, located in Seattle downtown, where we were greeted by the senior product and program managers of Amazon Prime Day, Amazon Fresh and Amazon Prime. Amazon’s success is known by its 14 leadership principles. Through interaction with each of the employees, we could easily figure out how each one at Amazon lives their leadership principles.  The interaction really helped us to understand the work culture at Amazon. We visited various offices located across different buildings at the Amazon headquarter including its new Doppler Office tower. We learned an interesting secret about the naming convention of most of the Amazon’s buildings. The names are mostly based either on their secret project names or the special technology being used in their new products. So, as Echo uses Doppler effect to provide such a high range of sounds, you can easily guess how they named their new office tower.

Carlson Students On Site at Amazon

The next big visit was to one of my favorite companies, none other than one of the biggest tech giants, Microsoft. We were hosted by a mixed panel consisting of folks including a product marketer, an internal strategic consultant, a program manager and business analytics analyst. They not only shared their experience but also informed us how the culture of the company is changing and becoming more customer oriented. The fun addition to the campus visit was a stopover at the huge Microsoft shop, with all the softwares and games available at a discounted price. Being a foodie I was also amazed by the amazing cafeteria, with all possible cuisines! 

Students Watching Microsoft Presentation
Carlson Students in Front of Microsoft Site

For me, the highlight of the trek was the visit to T-Mobile. We were lucky to be hosted by David Carey, executive vice-president of T-Mobile. We were thrilled and stunned by the turnaround story of T-Mobile after 2011, the transition from a company losing 2 million subscribers every year to a company giving stiff competition to giant telecom players like AT&T and Verizon. It was a perfect example of how strategic decisions implemented correctly can change the trajectory of the company. T-Mobile’s turnaround story is based on 9 strategic technological disruptions they made in the telecom industry. They are soon going to launch the 10th one, in which they will be provide free video streaming to all their subscribers, without affecting your data at all. Mr. Carey also shared his views about telecom and cable broadcasting companies. He pointed out that with new technological innovations and scaling both these sectors will be competing for the same consumer.

Students Watching T-Mobile Presentation
Students Posing Excitedly at T-Mobile Site

During the trek, we also visited multiple small and medium size consulting companies. At ECG, a health care focused consulting company, we were hosted by Kevin Kennedy, the Principal consultant. He shared his amazing 25 years’ experience in healthcare industry and also informed us how healthcare industry is evolving in United States. Arryve and West Monroe were two other small consulting companies we visited. Arryve, with only 73 consultants, is still a new player and has a zeal of startup culture. They are primarily focused on management consulting. They were generous enough to walk us through a practice case. It was an amazing learning experience and especially at the right time with consulting interviews around the corner.  West Monroe, is a mid-size player with more than 600 consultants and is focused on tech consulting.

Carlson Students Discussing at a Table at Arryve