After transferring to USC from Santa Monica College last semester, Gabriela Mucha and Jadrian Tan noticed that, while USC offered many competitive business clubs, there was no club for students who aspired to work for the business side of the technology industry.
To remedy this problem, Mucha, a junior majoring in business administration, and Tan, a sophomore majoring in business administration and computer science, created Techie, a networking organization for students who wanted to know of the opportunities of going into the technology industry without having to code. The organization, which launched this spring, has around 30 members from a variety of majors and hosts professional development workshops, guest speakers and social events.
“The idea first started at the beginning of the fall semester, when I was going through the recruitment process, and I’ve had some interviews with big tech companies,” Mucha said. “I’ve noticed that there’s no club at USC that has resources for people who want to go into tech.”
Techie’s goal is to create a supportive community of like-minded people, regardless of differences in year or major, Mucha said. While joining the club did require an application, Mucha said everyone who applied was accepted.
The application was a way to show members’ dedication and effort to join the club and to ensure that people would be excited to come to meetings, Isabel Gonzalez, Techie’s director of marketing said.
Gonzalez, a junior majoring in communication, initially learned about the club through a Facebook group for USC transfer students. Since Gonzalez grew up in Silicon Valley, she was surrounded by the tech community and has decided she wants to go into that field. She thought Techie was an opportunity for her to professionally grow, so she reached out to Mucha personally, and from there, the e-board was formed.
“Since it was going to be targeted at the intersection of business and technology, and that’s the career that I’m pursuing, the club was perfect,” Gonzalez said. “I wanted to help along with the process of starting the club up.”
As a new organization this semester, Mucha said that there are benefits and challenges to starting a club during the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s definitely challenging to start a club during [the coronavirus] when we had no way of reaching out to people other than basically social media,” Mucha said. “Our entire marketing campaign was Instagram and hoping that people will see. But it also gives a good opportunity … it just wouldn’t be possible to have that many guest speaker events if it wasn’t for [the coronavirus]. Being on Zoom definitely helps with things like this.”
Kathleen Kwon, a sophomore majoring in business administration, said she heard about Techie through a Reddit post.
“Since this is my first semester at USC, it has been very intimidating to find the right environment for me,” Kwon said. “Seeing how the e-board members of Techie were talking about [how] they want to be inclusive, they want to provide a safe space for the business students, for any USC students, it was very encouraging.”
Techie is still attempting to grow, Gonzalez said, and is in the process of receiving more funds from USC, building their presence on social media platforms and creating a LinkedIn for their organization. The organization uses LinkedIn to find professionals to speak at Techie’s events, and are scheduled to have a recruiter from Twitter and an Xbox employee.
The organization also shares opportunities and internships with one another, Gonzalez said. The e-board continuously lets one another know of internships, or programs going on outside of the organization. Currently, Mucha, Gonzalez, Tan and Aung Si, a junior majoring in business administration who is not in Techie, are participating in a USC Boeing Business Case Competition that Mucha found, where they create ideas and come up with a solution on how Boeing can become more sustainable.
“I definitely don’t think we would have had that opportunity if we didn’t get all connected through Techie,” Gonzalez said.
Despite the challenges Techie faced and their start in a virtual environment, Gonzalez said the organization is thankful for the support and interest they’ve received and are excited for their continual growth.
“We’re very grateful that certain people showed interest in the organization,” Gonzalez said. “I’m definitely looking forward to more opportunities like [the case competition] where Techie members can branch out and work in groups and in teams with people that they know from Techie outside [of the organization].”