How I broke into tech
and pursing a non-traditional career path
For many college students, forging a non-traditional career path is daunting— especially in a field like tech. I wanted to share my story of how I landed at SeatGeek in hopes that it might inspire others to take a similar leap.
When I was an Amherst College student, I felt this immense pressure to go into finance or consulting even though both fields were uninteresting to me. It wasn’t artificial; my peers constantly talked about careers in these fields (“I really want to be an investment banker!”) and the Career Center seemingly only surfaced job postings in these fields as well. It was an unspoken but well-established fact at Amherst that in order to be truly successful in life, you had to go into traditional fields like these upon graduation.
As my senior year rolled around, there didn’t appear to be better alternative career options for me…so I went into finance. I accepted a spot in a rotational training program at UBS because, well, maybe I would eventually find a desk I was interested in joining. I never did…after 10 months, I quit the bank’s program because I wasn’t passionate about what I was doing.
I had developed another passion in my free time at UBS though: technology. I’d long been interested in tech (especially apps, bitcoin and other futurist concepts) but always considered it to be more of a hobby. After all, I wasn’t a developer, so how could I make an app? But after spending time researching the space, I realized that — even for an American Studies major like myself — I could forge a career path without a technical background by delving into tech strategy, operations, and business development.
What happened after UBS is a long story, but I became the founder of my own bitcoin startup backed by an Amherst alum and the billionaire owner of a professional sports team(!). Through some stroke of luck they had seen my tweets about bitcoin (I have a habit of getting really deep into a subject and obsessing about it for months before moving onto something else; they caught me at the perfect time) and wanted to work with me. It was one of the most exciting times of my life, so much fun but ultimately wildly unsuccessful — we did a ton of planning and diligence and never even launched the thing. But it was also successful in a way in that it taught me some invaluable things like (1) how to launch, (2) how to take risks, and (3) how to be scrappy and “get shit done”— hard to learn this stuff sitting at a desk.
With the startup folding up, I parlayed my passion and experience into a biz dev / strategy job at an emerging NYC tech startup, SeatGeek. SeatGeek is a ticket aggregator and marketplace for sports, concerts, and theater events. I was the ~35th employee and didn’t really know what I was getting myself into, but it’s been such a fun and rewarding ride — in my 2.5 years here we’ve raised $100M+ in venture funding, have 100+ employees, and we’re rapidly disrupting the event ticketing space. The hope is that someday our technology and brand is as ubiquitous as Ticketmaster and Stubhub (we’re on our way!). And most importantly, I wake up every morning jacked up to go to work and passionate about what I’m doing for my career.
Interested in working at SeatGeek or getting into tech more generally? Shoot me a note: firstname.lastname@example.org