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Fridays from the Frontline: Kindergarten Teacher, with MBA from Ross, Pursues Lifelong Tech Dream

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How does a kindergarten teacher with a liberal arts degree score an internship at Apple? Find out in this week’s edition of Fridays from the Frontline. Jeremy Schifeling, helped in part by an MBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School, not only landed a marketing internship on Apple’s iOS team, he went on to work at several educational tech firms and at LinkedIn before founding his own company designed to help others from non-tech backgrounds break into the field.

He contacted us and generously offered to share his story, complete with data revealing that there are three times as many non-tech job opportunities for MBAs at internet firms (in marketing, HR, business development, etc.) as there are positions for computer science (CS) majors and engineers. So if you’re from a non-tech background and want to know how make the shift, this post’s for you.

As always, we welcome the contributions of other current MBA students and applicants, as well as alumni! Please email Jeanette or Marianne if you would like to add your voice to the mix. Many thanks to Jeremy for his great post!

The following post was contributed for publication on Clear Admit by Jeremy Schifeling, CEO of Break into Tech.

Pursue Your Tech Dream No Matter Your Background

I’ve always been a huge nerd. While all my childhood friends were outside playing football, I was busy installing DOS on my first computer. And when I should have been writing book reports, I was, instead, blogging on Prodigybefore blogging was even a thing!

But I never thought I’d get a chance to actually work on my nerdy passions. Not with the scarlet letter that I wore ever since college: A liberal arts degreeeek! No CS major, no tech job, I always assumed.

So instead, I started my career as a kindergarten teacher. And though I’d try to find outlets for my geekdombuilding a class website, teaching my students PowerPointI figured that was as close to the tech world as I was ever going to get.

So, many years later, it was with great trepidation that I entered business school at the University of Michigan’s Ross School. Especially because on the first day, I met no fewer than seven former engineers who not only wanted the same tech jobs I did, but who were actually qualified to get them.

But here’s the crazy thing: Fast forward exactly eight months from that first day of orientation and I was on my way to a different kind of orientationNew Intern Training at Apple. Sure enough, I was lucky enough to land a plum marketing internship on the iOS team, the exact same role that all those engineers coveted.

And here’s the crazier thing: I wasn’t alone. On that same bus headed to Cupertino was a former snowboard designer, a former Navy submariner and a former manager at China’s largest egg processing facility. And not a single computer science degree between the four of us.

How was this possible? How did we all make the transition into a world that can feel so forbidding to non-techies?

The secret is in the data. Because if you crunch the numbers on LinkedInand I haveit turns out that for all of Silicon Valley’s geekiness, three-quarters of its jobs are non-technical in nature:

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Which just makes sense if you think about it. Sure, it takes a lot of coders to make an awesome app. But it takes even more HR people to hire those coders, project managers to keep them organized and marketers to bring their work out to the world.

And the result is that there are tens of thousands of liberal arts folks working in techjust like me:

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So if you’re also a nerdor like me, a nerd in hidingknow this: The tech world is wide open for business. Just don’t be afraid to knock on its door.

Jeremy Schifeling is the founder and CEO of Break into Tech, a resource site for anyone who wants to land a great tech job—no matter their background!