I joined 30 other students on a trek around Seattle to meet with some of the area’s top employers and learn about opportunities available to MBA students.
We spent two days visiting Alaska Airlines, Amazon, Theo Chocolate, and Microsoft. Visiting these companies was very useful to learn about internships and jobs that may be available, what the culture and work environment is like in these organizations, and how to make yourself an attractive candidate during the application process.
First, we visited Alaska Air at the Sea-Tac airport. We learned about the fleet of planes, toured one plane’s engine, cockpit, and pet travel area. We learned how the airline is managed from servicing planes on the runway to making spare parts in the machine shop. We also gained insights into the corporate positions from creating financial forecasts to implementing employee lead programs.
Next, we met with Willamette alumni and current employees of Amazon. Located near downtown Seattle, Amazon has new office space that allows people to think creatively and collaborate. Touring the offices, we passed many whiteboards and frosted glass walls used for brainstorming and project planning. Alumni shared how much they enjoy the fast pace of the organization, working in teams, and the impact they can make on the world.
We finished day one with a tour of Theo Chocolate. We viewed the production line that starts with processing cocoa beans and ends with a packaging area where whole chocolate bars are wrapped and ready to be sold. It was exciting to hear how organic, fair trade chocolate is produced and the challenges associated with trying to maintain the quality standard used at Theo. During the tour, we tasted dark chocolates, and flavored chocolates like chili and gingerbread. We wrapped up day one in the gift shop with tasty treats.
Day two of the trek took us to Microsoft. We met in the building that houses the Xbox Kinect division. After an initial introduction and background on the company, students broke out into groups to meet with Microsoft employees and vendors. It was motivating to hear from both full-time employees and contractors. This provided us multiple prospectives on what opportunities exist within Microsoft.
All in all, I came away with a greater knowledge and understanding of how these organizations operate and what their employees like most about their jobs. Not to mention, we all had fun spending time in Seattle soaking in some extraordinary January sun.