Over 200 Participants Meet Up with YU Students and Alumni in Tech and Tech Recruiters
On October 30, the Career Center brought together over 200 students from the computer science programs at Stern College for Women (Alan Broder, chair), Yeshiva College (Judah Diament, chair) and the Katz School’s master’s degree programs to meet with YU students and alumni working in tech companies as well as recruiters to discuss opportunities and options for their future.
Susan Bauer, executive director of the Career Center, explained that TechUcation came about after a similar large-scale event was done last year for finance students. “The computer science students came forward asking for something both educational and recruitment-oriented for them. The addition of the Katz programs in STEM, coupled with the growing interest within the student body and the need for talent driven by industry growth, made TechUcation timely and relevant.”
The event began with a keynote address by Claudia Perlich, senior data scientist at Two Sigma and a member of the Advisory Board of the Yeshiva College computer science program. She reviewed her own idiosyncratic career arc, beginning from where she stumbled into tech and artificial intelligence (AI), moved into the world of tech and business (obtaining an internship with IBM Watson), then shifted to data analytics and advertising, and then from there into her current outpost at Two Sigma, applying big data to financial decisions.
One thing she cautioned the audience about, as the tech world becomes more dependent upon AI to generate knowledge and opportunities, is making the assumption that the data, because they are numbers, are always right. “Scoring, metrics, botnets that skew scoring and metrics, fake news, information bubbles—our algorithms have built-in biases, and this is where we need to be very vigilant in how we interpret the data we have.”
The rest of the evening was given over to two panel discussions. The first panel, moderated by Bauer, featured two YU students (seniors Avraham Katz of the Yeshiva College computer science program and Kayla Boldt of the computer science program at Stern College) and two alumni (Ariel Krakowski ’12YC and Michelle Levine ’16S) speaking about their internship and employment experiences. They covered such topics as how to prepare résumés (Boldt suggested adding activities that demonstrate leadership and Katz recommended learning subjects outside one’s major to broaden one’s knowledge base), create self-initiated projects that show passion and focus and networking/networking/networking as often and as widely as possible. Boldt summed up the panelists’ suggestions by noting that “you need to do the things that make you memorable.”
The second panel, moderated by Brendan Collins from Google, featured three employers who recruit: Liran Weizman ’15S (JPMorgan Chase), Steve Ramos (Tata Consultancy Services) and Will Klaynman (Justworks). Collins began by explaining that what brought him to this event was his belief that Yeshiva University, and schools like YU, have too long been ignored by the large tech companies. “We sometimes make the mistake of thinking,” Collins said, “that the name of the school is the name of best school a student got into.” YU students often turn down other strong academic options to come to the University because of their belief in the school’s mission. This strong sense of purpose manifests itself in an academic rigor and passion that tech companies should acknowledge and reward.
The panelists agreed that the kind of people they seek out are good communicators and cooperators, as Weizman noted, while at the same time are comfortable with pushing themselves into projects motivated by their interests and their passions, a quality that Ramos seeks out. Klaynman added that the people he looks for are capable of both mastering a specific subject (such as a coding language) yet are also open to broadening their skills and horizons.
A lot of questions came up about résumés, such as format (standard or novel), language and arrangement. Collins spoke for the panelists when he said that a good résumé is one that does the recruiters’ work for them. “And think of the résumé as a boarding pass,” said Collins. “It will get you into an interview, but it won’t get you into the job.”
Bauer was pleased with how the event turned out. “The audience was able to leave with tangible and actionable items regarding the application timelines, recommended cover letter and résumé formats for tech, what you can do as a student at YU to build upon your experience and the knowledge of what recruiters are really looking for. Additionally, the computer science department chairs left with new industry partners wanting to recruit our students and collaborate on curriculum.”
Bauer and her staff are already at work setting up the next year’s TechUcation. In the meantime, the next large event is an invitation-only presentation on December 12 titled “What is Wall Street…Other Than Investment Banking.” “This is the event’s second year, and we are excited to have Dan Chesner, Managing Director Prime Brokerage, Morgan Stanley, as our keynote speaker. Additionally, we are partnering with close to 40 alumni and for the first time with the student-run Investment Banking Society for building insightful and educational panels focused on finance other than investment banking. This event is intended to educate students as they prepare for the competitive summer internship recruiting process.”