Chris Kalamchi (BS 2012 in Finance)
College Growth Market Manager at Tilt in San Francisco, CA
Describe your current job role.
I currently work on the growth team at tilt.com, which is a tech start-up based in San Francisco (started by a 2008 WFU alum!). Within the growth team, I specifically focus on the college market, which has been our largest lever of growth over the past two years. I currently help run and manage our US college ambassador program, which has over 1,000 students (20+ from WFU!) across 100+ universities. My challenge within our program is to find the right students to help us spread and promote Tilt by using it with their groups of friends on campus.
One of the best parts of my job is the variability in the day-to-day tasks. From chatting with power users to experimenting with new ideas to spur step-function growth, or running data analyses to identify potential opportunities, I’m never exactly sure what will be thrown my way.
What do you know now that you wish you had known about being a working professional?
Now that I work in tech, I’m surrounded by such accomplished people that some in other industries would consider kids! I think when I started my career I just assumed that I didn’t know anything and relied on the older people to tell me what to do. I had a really eye-opening experience when I started at Tilt when I was given the freedom to run with any and all ideas that I think would be successful. I wish I had known how much value you can add and how much you can learn right out of school, so don’t short sell yourself!
How did Wake Forest prepare you for the world of work?
The first would be work ethic. Trust me, those long nights in the ZSR Library can get old, but they will help prepare you for the real world and put you well ahead of a lot of the competition in your first job.
The second would be the focus on group projects that a lot of my advanced classes in the School of Business emphasized. I think these projects and interactions directly relate to how most teams that I’ve worked with operate in the real world. One of the best skills I learned is how to work with others, play off of their strengths, know their weaknesses, and also know those things about myself. These understandings have helped me grow and improve as a teammate and an employee every day.
The last thing would be the hard skills I developed in the School of Business. I can’t express how important it is to know how to manipulate data in my day-to-day, and I am grateful that I learned some baseline Excel skills in school which set me apart early on in my career.
Describe an interesting project that you’ve worked on recently. What did is involve and what was the impact?
Two recent projects come to mind. The first was that I had the opportunity to travel to Sydney, Australia to help our one-man office launch during its first back-to-school period (which is our busiest time). It was an amazing experience to not only see Tilt expand to a new continent but to interact with a whole new subset of users and students and to learn how this market could potentially use our product.
The other project hits a little bit closer to home, as I’ve had a unique opportunity to work directly with the Wake Forest community. I’ve been lucky enough to work with the University Advancement office to help them set up events on Tilt that directly benefit WFU students. The most notable would be the “Wake the Library” campaign that we organized, which raised over $4K to help support students during finals. I’m excited to have more opportunities like this to help give back to the WFU community in the near future!
What advice would you give to current Wake Forest students and/or young alumni who are about to start their first professional full-time job?
If you’re interested in tech or making the move out West, Wake is starting to emphasize this as a potential outlet for students, so don’t be afraid just to go for it (even if all of your WFU friends are heading to Charlotte, NYC or DC). If any current students or recent alums want to chat more about heading West, do not hesitate to shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Also, your first job doesn’t need to be a predictor of where you’ll be in 2-5 years. The best thing you can do right out of school is to work your butt off, make a good impression, and gain people’s trust. Then when you want to explore other options that may better align with your true passions, you know you have an army on your side willing to help you make that next leap.