Isenberg’s Director of MBA Recruiting, Alumni, and Corporate Relations Trista Hevey always works to introduce the school’s MBA students to alumni with interesting jobs across a wide spectrum of industries. With social distancing making in-person meetings impossible, she realized that networking events would have to join the school’s classes in the virtual space.
“With the campus shuttered, we have to innovate more than ever online,” emphasizes Hevey, who kicked off the series of alumni chats in March with a Zoom meeting featuring Isenberg graduate Brett Steele ’10, a senior sales manager with the high-profile online real estate matchmaker Zillow. He spent 45 minutes with 32 MBA students, offering insights and advice and fielding questions.
“My expertise is in relationship building,” observed Brett, who manages an eight-person team that empowers builders by helping them to resource new construction. In that role, he steers clear of large corporate builders. “I get pleasure in helping smaller clients like third generation home builders in family businesses.” Success, he added, calls for soft skills. You need to excel as communicator, self-motivator, and problem solver. “Make your manager look good and get your manager to define what you have to do,” he added. “No one will fight for your career like you.”
Brett joined Seattle-based Zillow in 2017 following six years in business-to-business sales roles with Columbia Threadneedle Investments in Boston. “Before Zillow, I’d lived in Boston for my entire life,” he reminisced. “But Seattle is the Boston of the West Coast. We haven’t looked back.” Zillow has always been a leader in transparency, he added, but it previously had a policy of no working from home. Times have changed: During the current crisis, “my kitchen has become a command center. The remote medium is amazing.”
The next alumni session, scheduled for 3 p.m. on Friday, April 3, features three panelists discussing the transition from student life to work:
Emily Holloway, Product Manager, Data Science & Advance Analytics at MassMutual
Ian Mitnick, IT Portfolio Manager at MassMutual
Braedy Taugher, VP, Business Analyst at Steward Partners Global Advisory
And a session scheduled for April 8 at 2 p.m. will feature Safwant Saif, a 2018 MSB&A graduate who works as an analyst for YouTube Music at Google in New York. He will discuss navigating the job search as an international student. Log in to the webinar here.