Undergraduate Blog / Defining Your Babson

Interested in a Career in Tech – Attend a Hackathon

Post by Christina Gee ’17

Dear students who are interested in pursuing a career in tech,

Go to a hackathon.

We are inspired at Babson to be entrepreneurial and to pursue ideas even if we may not have all the resources available or know exactly how to do everything. If you are wondering what a hackathon is it is basically a weekend event that incorporates all of what Babson teaches you about being scrappy, and collaborating with engineers and designers to build or “hack” together on an idea you have and see it come to fruition.

If you’re interested in tech, hackathons are a great way for you to learn about what tech products you can build – at Michigan Hacks (MHacks) I sat in on a session that taught me how to program iOS apps in Swift as well as speaking to other students about the projects they were working on. It’s incredibly inspiring at the end of the hackathon for you to see what everyone can build in a manner of 36 hours (all fueled by junk food and no sleep). Some of the best projects that I saw were a tennis VR game, a machine that could make you ice cream in less than a minute, programming Amazon’s echo to detect a song on the top of your head or a website that aggregated Hilary, Trump and Obama’s speeches and allowed you to type in any sentence and they “speak” that sentence aloud.

Need a job or an internship? Most hackathons will have a career fair where recruiters will set up tables and entice you to talk to them with all their free stuff. While most recruiters will be looking for engineers, a great amount of them also are searching for UX/UI designers or product managers and I have learned to sell how our Babson business education can be beneficial in product positions.

More importantly, if you are interested in a career in tech attending a hackathon allows you to surround yourself with smart people who are also interested in tech and helps you empathize with engineers so that if you ever enter into a product management role, you’re aware of the technical terms and have a better understanding of how difficult it can be to build certain features.

And, if you’re not sold on coming to a hackathon just yet here’s one last point: Hackathons are a way to demonstrate that you are taking initiative to learn outside of class to build on your portfolio. My team worked on designing an app that helped people find hackathon teams before the hackathon based on skills, skill level, commitment to winning and a variety of other influential factors. If you’re interested in seeing what we created check out our project we demoed:

During this hackathon I got to practice a lot of the design skills I had learned from taking classes at Olin College. It was challenging to think about which information was the most important, how it should appear on the screen and to create a storyboard of how all these interactions flowed together.

One of the best things that makes Babson stand out as a business school from other colleges is the Undergraduate Professional Accelerator Fund. It’s very rare for colleges to help sponsor and subsidize tickets to attend events, thus giving us an enormous advantage to speak about during interviews or networking events. I’m incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to travel all the way to Detroit and could not have done it without the help of Accelerator Fund.

End of the story: Go to hackathons, get inspired and acquire lots of free swag!