Oct 16, 2020

From Nonprofit to Tech

By Katherine Britt T’21


Upon arriving at Tuck, I was struck by the range of career opportunities. Prior to business school, I spent four years (plus a couple of college internships) working in development, campaign strategy, and external relations functions at an academic medical center, a youth arts social enterprise, and an international public health organization. My experiences in the nonprofit and health care industries were largely driven by a motivation to work in organizations that were creating good for the communities they served. Knowing that I wanted to expand my experience and explore a new industry while at Tuck, I kept this idea of value-driven work top of mind.

During your first-year fall at Tuck, you can attend briefings, coffee chats, office hours, and career events with companies and organizations from every industry, size, and business model. If you’re not careful, it can be really overwhelming! For me, I was fortunate to have not only my Career Adviser providing guidance, but also second-years (miss you T’20s!) who less than a year prior were similarly experiencing the recruiting flurry. These conversations helped me clarify my goals, values, and strengths while mapping my targets to technology and digital roles. As much as it sounds like a cliché, Tuck’s greatest strength is its people and I felt this most acutely while I was in the process of shifting from nonprofit to tech. (Shout-out to all the incredible Tuck alumni, professors, advisors, and classmates who made time to talk to me last year!)

I pursued tech because I saw firsthand in my previous employment how technology can be used to create transformational change—be it medical devices that support less painful, more accurate cardiovascular monitoring or 3D printing that opens up new creative frontiers. I also saw tech as an industry that is constantly disrupting itself, meaning for a fresh MBA, there was no learning ceiling—a perfect match for anyone who considers themselves perpetually curious and wanting a challenge.

Tuck made sure that I was well equipped for this career pivot, too. I attended company briefings and career fairs, meeting Tuckies and other MBA alumni as I got a sense of what opportunities excited me the most. I got up to speed on recent tech trends and terminology with events hosted by the Center for Digital Strategies. I prepared for interviews by building relationships with Tuck alumni and practicing interviews and cases with my classmates and second years. After receiving offers, I sat with my Strategy and Marketing professors to discuss the different opportunities and get their advice on what might be the best fit.

I ended up spending my summer interning at HubSpot, a software-as-a-service company providing a platform of marketing, sales, and service software with the mission of helping businesses grow better. This mission not only aligned with my priority of being somewhere value-driven, but also felt especially important as COVID-19 placed unprecedented strain on small and mid-size businesses trying to stay afloat while adapting to a digital existence. Though it was a remote/virtual internship (HubSpot’s headquarters is in Cambridge, MA), I was fully able to get to know the company and experience working in tech. I had the great fortune of working on the Go-To-Market Strategy team, which gave me the opportunity to work across all customer-facing teams (Sales! Onboarding! Success! Oh my!). My project considered segmentation and its role in improving the customer experience, and very early on I understood that my work was directly tied to high-level strategic priorities. Between the exciting project potential and HubSpot’s incredibly intelligent, generous, and humble employees, I knew this was somewhere I could see myself post-Tuck. And I’m thrilled to share that this career-switching story has a happy ending—I will be returning to HubSpot to join their full-time MBA Accelerated Leadership Program in summer 2021!

Carol Reyes

Katherine Britt T’21 is an Arlington, MA native who spent four years prior to Tuck working in business development, campaign strategy, and external relations for a Boston-area academic medical center, a hybrid social enterprise providing creative jobs for Boston youth, and an international public health organization. At Tuck, Katherine is a Center for Business, Government and Society Fellow, Outdoor Club Co-Chair, Career Mentor, and Marketing teaching assistant.