Joshua Tan, a 2014 graduate of the managerial economics major says that as he approached his graduation he “felt nudged to apply for more traditional business roles like accounting, recruiting, and operations.” With the Silicon Valley nearby, he also saw recent alumni opting to work for tech giants (even in temporary contract positions) to jump start their careers. The Managerial Economics major (UC Davis’s business major), is one of the most popular majors at UC Davis in part because of the wide array of career paths it prepares graduates for, including banking, finance, marketing, accounting and agricultural and environmental policy. However, Tan says, "I always pondered why working in the tech space was never explicitly listed as a traditional career path for Man Econ majors.”
For Tan, his entry into the Silicon Valley tech world would wait. His first position after graduation was as a business analyst with an after-market auto parts franchising company close to Davis. Tan says his business economics emphasis, with advanced coursework in management science, economics, statistical & financial modeling, and mathematics, “gave me the strong quantitative analytic skills necessary to succeed in my first post-graduate role as a business analyst.” But after only a year in the new position, Tan found that he wasn’t truly passionate about his new position; he missed the challenge of the college environment and wanted to transition into a career working for a more exciting tech start-up.
A year after graduating from UC Davis, Tan applied and was accepted as the first graduate student into UC Santa Barbara’s new Master of Technology Management program. Tan said the program was ideal for him, stating “it is geared towards early-career professionals in STEM who are building a career in technology ventures.” Again he found that his coursework in organizational decision-making, product life-cycles, optimal product mixes, and financial management prepared him well for the application process.
In the summer of 2016 Tan earned his master’s degree and completed his thesis on software solutions in the accounting industry—on which he received valuable input from his former Intermediate Managerial Accounting instructor, Todd Jensen. After a move to the Bay Area, Tan worked as an experience analyst for a digital agency specializing in technical content development for big tech clients like Intel and NetApp. Tan says that once again his major learning came in handy, “I had a prior understanding of consumer behavior research and market segmentation.”
Tan is currently the manager of technical and community support at Accelo, a company that caters to small and midsized businesses in the accounting and digital marketing arenas. He happily wears many hats in his role at the startup—working cross-functionally on the success, product, marketing, and sales teams—where he hosts webinars, attends industry conferences and works directly with a diverse client base. He says that “it goes without saying that I owe a great deal to the Managerial Economics program at UC Davis, which thoroughly equipped me with the work ethic, STEM background, and resiliency to forge a career in technology.”