Last night I spoke to a group of visiting MBA students from Harvard Business School and MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Other panelists included Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz, Glenn Kelman CEO of Redfin, Spencer Rascoff CEO of Zillow, Dan Shapiro, CEO of Sparkbuy and Tracy Wright, CFO of Drugstore.com.
We covered a variety of topics ranging from driving innovation to the technologies MBA students should have some familiarity with. However, the best part of the discussion was brought up by Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff, who encouraged all visiting MBA students to consider Seattle for their post-graduate career. Here’s a quick list of reasons why MBA’s from top programs should consider Seattle:
- Diverse technology community from exciting start-ups like the many listed on Seattle 2.0 to Microsoft, Amazon, Expedia, and Drugstore.com.
- Strong wireless industry and talent. Both T-Mobile and many of the key decision-makers at AT&T Wireless are located in Seattle’s Eastside. WhitePages was able to build our own successful mobile division (Top 10 iPhone and Android apps) by recruiting very experienced wireless experts from AT&T Wireless, RealNetworks, & Snapin.
- Games. In addition to Nintendo, and Microsoft’s Xbox division, Seattle is the epicenter of the casual games market with Big Fish Games, Wild Tangent, and Pop Cap.
- No State Income Tax (yet). For some, that can be a 5-10% increase in take home compensation.
- Boating capital of the world. We are surrounded by oceans and lakes for fishing, skiing, rowing, and swimming. You can hit the ski slopes and mountains in about one hour, and some of the best skiing is a great weekend trip away at Whistler, Canada.
- Some of the world’s best brick and mortar brands were started or are headquartered in Seattle: REI, Nordstrom, Costco, and Starbucks to name a few.
- The University of Washington has a top-notch Computer Science program (one of the best in the nation) which brings a wealth of talent to Seattle’s internet industry.
The one point I made at the panel may sound frivolous but is also incredibly important for MBA students to really get to know and enjoy each other. Through the MBA program at Harvard Business School, I was able to meet lifelong friends and build a strong professional network that has helped me in a variety of scenarios from advice to partnerships to getting funding and making deals. So to all of you completing an MBA degree, go out and get to know your classmates over a cold beer or a hot coffee and then plan on making the move to Seattle.