Tess Bloch-Horowitz is a junior at Stanford who is majoring in Science, Technology, and Society and minoring in Feminist Studies. After her quarter in New York at Venmo, Tess is back on campus and has provided some insights on school and career. She will be at McKinsey NY as a Summer Business Analyst after this school year.
Thinking back, what led you to join SWIB?
I joined SWIB because I was looking for a community of women who I could learn from and engage with. SWIB was the perfect opportunity to combine my interests in business and feminism, while spending time with amazing people.
What are some unconventional skills that you've gained from SWIB?
Years of event planning for SWIB have given me IT skills including the ability to work a projector and connect mics -- skills that I've been able to apply at work as well as in school.
What's changed most about you since your earlier years at Stanford?
When I came to Stanford, I never imagined that I'd pursue a career in tech. I thought I was going to be an English major, and wouldn't have dreamed of even taking CS 106A. SWIB helped me realize that non-technical roles in tech companies exist and that I was interested in them. Mentors pushed me to take challenging classes, and supported me through them. Now, I have the confidence and skill set to work in a technical environment, and I have realized how much I love doing so.
#1 best experience from SWIB?
There have been countless amazing events that I've had the opportunity to attend and contribute to through SWIB, but I think my favorite experience has to be one of the smaller moments in SWIB -- an elevator pitch workshop that we did when I was an intern. I learned so much in that workshop, but more importantly, that was when I really started to get to know my fellow SWIB members by hearing about their passions and interests.
You have experience with trendy startups, from Rent the Runway to Venmo. How did you work your way into those opportunities, and what were some of the defining moments?
SWIB gave me the confidence and skills that I needed to work my way into opportunities including at Rent the Runway and Venmo. I got my job at Venmo because of the advice I received from a SWIB mentor, which was to cold email companies that I was passionate about working at. I emailed Venmo never imagining I would get a response, let alone an offer. After I went through the interview process, I was told I had gotten the job because of my resume (redesigned with the help of SWIB), previous tech experience (gained through a Springternship), and my interview skills (learned in SWIB workshops).
#1 interview tip?
My #1 interview tip is to keep your energy up. Interviewing can be exhausting and stressful -- not just for you, but for the interviewer as well. Being energetic communicates your interest in and passion for the job, and it also just makes the process more fun.
What was your personal journey in choosing your major?
I wanted a major where I could challenge myself without being confined to one department, and STS fit that perfectly. It wasn't an easy journey -- I changed my major at least five times freshman year -- but I'm happy where I ended up. STS allows me to take classes across the disciplines and develop both creative and analytical skills, all of which I'm able to apply in the business world.
What was your personal journey in choosing your industry of choice?
I chose to work in tech and consulting because of my love of problem solving, my desire to receive mentorship, and my passion for working on teams. SWIB helped me realize that I thrive under pressure, whether that is dealing with a last minute IT or catering crisis, speaking in public, or helping people with recruiting. It also showed me how important it is to be working on a team, and to be mentored and trained by people you respect -- all of which I found in consulting and tech.
What is your coolest accomplishment from Stanford?
Last spring, I had the chance to take an independent study with Tobias Wolff, who is a professor here and one of my favorite authors. It was an amazing experience and really allowed me to explore my love of reading and writing while getting to know someone I'd admired for a long time.
A few words of wisdom?
The most valuable skill that I've learned through SWIB is to ask for advice, whether that is from peers, faculty, or friends. I've always been hesitant to reach out and ask for help because I didn't want to be a burden. As I've gone through SWIB, I've had the opportunity to mentor others. I've learned so much and had a lot of fun getting to know them, and it's made me realize that giving advice or asking for it isn't a burden. My words of wisdom would be to always ask for help -- the worst thing that could happen is someone says no, and the best is that you find a mentor and get invaluable advice.