Fall 2015 in Review

It has been a busy semester for the GradTech Club! We are grateful to all the students, faculty, BC alumni, and other technology professionals who participated in and contributed to everything the club did this fall.


At the end of August, we surveyed alums and current second years about what skills they wished they learned at BC or would like to learn before graduating. Multiple alums said they wished they had learned SQL, and current students presented a variety of areas of interest, including coding languages and advanced Excel skills. We used this feedback in our planning for semester events.


The newest type of event that the GradTech club introduced this semester is the bootcamp, a 45-minute session to gain exposure to and practice with hands-on technological skills. In the fall, we featured 4 bootcamps on Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) & pivot tables, SQL (Parts 1 & 2), and ArcGIS.


We launched our first bootcamp on Visual Basic for Applications and pivot tables in early September. Two second-year MBAs shared how they have used these tools in their previous jobs. Attendees were guided through recording macros, creating basic code, and debugging code using VBA.



Professor George Wyner of BC’s Information Systems department facilitated two SQL bootcamp sessions covering database concepts, filtering and sorting records, joining tables, and summarizing data. During the session, students practiced writing queries using W3Schools immediately after learning the language’s syntax. Students provided very positive feedback, and the sessions provided strong foundational knowledge for first year students headed into the second half of the semester in which they would spend more time learning SQL in the classroom. Students shared that after the session, they were less intimidated about SQL and motivated to continue learning it on their own!


Barbara Mento, Data/GIS Manager from BC libraries, has taught sessions on ArcGIS to students in various undergraduate and graduate programs at BC. During the session, she guided students through data downloading from ReferenceUSA and Data Planet, one of many databases available for students’ use through the library. By downloading longitudinal and latitudinal data in the form of shape files, students plotted Bank of America ATMs on a map of Massachusetts. One student remarked, “I knew about GIS from my friends who studied geology, but the event really showed me how relevant and applicable the program is for business problems.  GIS has a wealth of information that can really take any presentation that involves a map to the next level.”

In addition to bootcamps run by the Tech Club, students can benefit from research tutorial sessions organized by Boston College library staff. Some MBA students took advantage of this resource to gain exposure to Stata, R, SAS, and more.


Early on in the semester, Boston Tech Trek visited HubSpot in Cambridge. A number of BC alums met with visitors to talk about their roles and experience at Hubspot. One student visitor shared that the office appeared to be “one of the best working environments in Boston.”

Later in the semester, Boston Tech Trek visited Wayfair in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston. Members of Wayfair’s Data Science and Business Intelligence teams presented a business overview of the e-commerce company. Topics discussed included how Wayfair uses data to micro-target certain classes of customers and the role that technology plays in its business model.

Boston Tech Trek also visited Runkeeper, LogMeIn, and Google throughout the semester.



In early November, the Consulting Club and the GradTech Club welcomed John Mazan of PwC for an information session about technology consulting. John led attendees through the materials that every tech consultant out of business school is presented on his/her first day on the job. One of the main takeaways from the session was a framework for evaluating companies’ technological priorities, needs, and capabilities long before providing clients with recommendations regarding particular technology solutions.

This Fall, Boston College launched the Shea Center for Entrepreneurship to support entrepreneurial coursework, co-curricular activities, experiential programming, and research. Boston College celebrated its opening with a weekend full of events, one of which included a keynote speech from Phil Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, and a panel discussion with venture capital and Wayfair executives.


On November 11, the GradTech Club and Graduate Women in Business co-hosted five graduate and/or undergraduate BC alums working in tech. Our guests joined us from Apple, EMC, Pivotal Labs, Tapjoy, and Boston-based startup BeautyTouch, and they hold roles in product management, sales, engineering, and general management. Each of them described their journeys in tech, the strengths and challenges in the industry, and shared advice relating to landing jobs and being successful in a male-dominated environment.


The GradTech is only one of many tech and entrepreneurship clubs at BC, including the Computer Science Society, the Information Systems Academy, Start @ Shea, and the Women Innovators Network. As students passionate about tech and entrepreneurship, MBA’s have open invitations to other clubs’ events, including speaker series and coding nights. We look forward to continuing collaboration with other clubs.

For resources related to the events mentioned above, check out our website at https://bcgradtechclub.net/.



We have exciting events in mind for next semester! Stay in touch with the Tech Club to hear more details about API (application programming interface) and Tableau bootcamps, mentorship for undergraduate startup teams in BC’s new accelerator program, a Raspberry Pi project, and fintech and digital marketing events! Contact bcgradtechclub@gmail.com if you would like to be more involved!



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