He’s an Alpha, he went to Emory and he left undergrad with a job at Facebook, the largest social networking company in the world.
We at Watch The Yard connected with Kevin Satterfield, an initiate of the Mu Alpha Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and got his take on landing jobs in the tech industry at companies like Facebook.
Check out the interview below.
Tell us quickly about your job at Facebook and what it entails?
I work with global retail brands such as Neiman Marcus, BJ’s Wholesale Club, and Costco to develop their omni-channel marketing strategy on Facebook and Instagram. That usually entails building long-term relationships with key stakeholders of each partner in order to drive product adoption and incremental spend.
You studied political science in undergrad, how did you land a job at Facebook right out of college?
The tech industry wasn’t in my line of sight when I was looking for internships during my junior year in college. I didn’t have any immediate connections from Emory and I wasn’t aware of any internships for candidates with my different background. With that being said, I had an Emory alum and fellow greek, Treasure Arthur (OXi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta seated at Emory), reach out to me about an internship program at Google that is designed to expose underrepresented groups to the company and industry overall. She connected me to another Emory alum, Glenn, who did work for Google at the time on the recruiting team. Glenn provided constructive feedback for my resume and helped me prep for the interviews. I ended up interning at Google that summer and that opportunity is what enabled me to not only continue to pursue roles in the industry but it also made me qualified as a new graduate for any job that caught my eye.
How do you think being a involved with greekdom as a college student helped prepare you for what you do now?
In order to be successful at my job now, that requires a lot of time management and ruthless prioritization on my part. I have to think strategically about how much I’m working with one partner compared to another, and that investment has to pay off. I learned these same skills on campus when I was juggling academic priorities, chapter duties as Vice President, and extracurricular responsibilities as President of the Black Student Alliance among other things. All of these things required my time and energy, but being part of the chapter forced me to be very diligent about how I spent my time doing those other things I listed. I took all of those skills I learned at Emory and translated them to how I approach my day and my book of business.
What is your best advice for someone who wants to get hired at a large company like Facebook?
Do your due diligence by visiting the career site of each company to get a better sense of which functions they’re trying to grow. Every company, big or small, has one and they should be available to the public. Once you’ve narrowed your research to 2-3 opportunities, use your professional network to get introduced to people who are currently at these companies (and in these roles). Use these introductions as a way to understand more about the interview process, their experience in the role, and what the hiring managers are looking for beyond what you see on the application.
As someone who works at Facebook, what are some skills you think people who are undergrads or recent grads should pick up in order to make themselves more employable?’
The honest truth is that more and more roles within the tech industry are relying on statistical analysis for the day-to-day work, so being comfortable with programs such as Excel, Tableau, or R/Stata/SQL are always safe bets. You don’t have to be an expert in these tools, but being comfortable navigating them goes a long way. Moreover, a significant portion of my work requires communication with cross-functional teams at Facebook or my clients so getting more experience in relationship-building of any type is always a strong investment.
A lot of young people don’t know that you can work for a big tech company like Facebook even if you are not a STEM major. Often times this is because they don’t know the names of the jobs or departments at these companies. Can you give us names of jobs or departments at Facebook that they should look into?
For Facebook, the most popular teams for individuals young in their career are Sales/Marketing, People & Recruiting, and Community Operations. These are all teams that you’ll find on the non-technical side of the company, and this is where you see the most diversity with respect to background.
What can Black greeks who are established in tech related careers do to help the next generation?
Firstly, I think it starts with being connected to your chapter no matter how far removed you are. I’m appreciative that I have prophytes in and out of the tech industry, so if I ever needed advice or guidance about a career shift, I know I can lean on them. On the flip side, anytime a role opens on my team or a team that I can speak to, I make sure to surface that opportunity to everyone in my chapter whether they’re looking for new opportunities or not. I can speak from personal experience when I say that it really does take someone bringing an opportunity to your attention to act on it. Outside of my being engaged with the chapter, I think it’s important to make yourself as visible as possible in certain spaces (i.e. sorority/fraternity conventions and local professional happy hours) because these are environments that naturally foster conversations about career growth. Those individuals that are serious about making the move to tech will maintain that relationship and seek counsel when/where needed.
One major takeaway from Satterfield’s interview is that you should look for internships early on in college to get your foot in the door at large companies. If you are in undergrad make sure to network, ask questions and try out as many possibilities as you can, you will be surprised where great internships can take you.