Michigan Ross Full-Time MBAs Organize Impactful Tech Week, Highlighting Why Tech Is For Everyone
Diversity and inclusivity in the tech industry were at the forefront of this year’s Tech Week, an annual conference hosted by the Tech Club at the Ross School of Business.
Tech Week, which ran Nov. 30-Dec. 4, consisted of five full days of programming and brought together professionals, current students, and alumni to discuss the latest industry and technology trends. The programming focused on the conference’s theme of Tech for Everyone, an idea anchored in making technology and the industry itself accessible to all.
Throughout the week, participants had the opportunity to explore how inclusivity can be built into technology, from hiring diverse talent to creating more accessible products.
“Tech Week at Ross is unique in that it covers a wide spectrum of functions within the tech industry outside of product marketing and product management,” said Janani Raj, MBA ’22, who is Tech Club’s assistant vice president of conferences and programming. “We’re really excited about this year’s programming because it represents so many different industries, backgrounds, and lived experiences.”
Raj said the COVID-19 pandemic posed a few challenges to organizing Tech Week this year. However, she said the virtual format allowed the organizers to secure speakers who would normally be unable to participate. Sponsors at the conference included Duo Security, Zillow, Qualtrics, Chewy, Rivian, and Dell Technologies.
For 2020, Tech Club partnered with other Michigan Ross student organizations, such as Women Who Launch, Design + Business Club, Human Capital Club, and Black Business Students Association to co-sponsor some of the sessions. Tech Week sessions included Black Advancement in Tech, Inclusive Design of Wellness Products, and Health Tech for Everyone.
Business + Tech at Ross
Michigan Ross has a number of resources for students interested in pursuing a career in tech, such as FACT (Functional Accountability Career Teams) groups. FACT groups are led by a second-year MBA student who guides first-year MBA students through the recruiting process for a given industry.
As Ogene explained, “You will have a second-year MBA student to lean on to help you prepare for your interviews, access to the Career Development Office, and a broadened network that you can leverage to learn more about companies you’re interested in. Most importantly, students have many action-based learning opportunities to get more experience in the tech industry. Ross also has a wide variety of tech-related courses available for students to learn some of the hard skills necessary for success in future tech roles.”
Tech Club vice president of conferences and programming Elaina Spiekermann, MBA ’21, said that the resources and opportunities available at Ross have been instrumental in helping her shift from a career in operations management to product management at Zillow.
“During my first year at Ross, I leveraged peer coaches and my FACT group to help equip myself with the skills I would need to effectively pivot my career path,” said Spiekermann. “Additionally, I found a fantastic group of fellow students who were also making the shift into tech for the first time in their careers. This informal support system was also a huge factor in my success.”