With Executive Mentorship, Adam Weitz Shifts from Finance to Technology

Adam Weitz was a VP and technology product manager at Citi, but he wanted to shift from the financial industry to the tech industry. However, with 12 years of experience in financial services at companies including Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch, he needed to bridge the gap between his tech experience in a financial setting and a role in a technology setting.

He says, "I wanted to be at a cutting edge company that's driving innovation. I really wanted to get that next level of senior management and exposure attached to my pedigree."

He decided to apply to Columbia University's Executive Master's in Technology Management, and he was accepted. Of his cohort, he says, "Everyone in our class is a mid-level manager or a senior-level manager. They're from [sectors including] healthcare, technology, banking, retail – all over the place."

Weitz says, "What really stands out over competing programs is how at Columbia, you get direct, one-on-one access to a very senior, accomplished technology leader." He references the Technology Management program's One-on-One Executive Mentoring offering, which connects students with a C-level technology executive.

In Weitz's case, the program matched him with Joe Simon, CTO of Conde Nast. Simon says, "The primary role of the mentor is to guide the student through the entrepreneurship course that is being taught at Columbia. But as you go through that, you provide advice when necessary."

Specifically, Simon advised Weitz on his Master's project on cloud computing as well as Weitz's job interview with the global cloud computing company Salesforce. Of coaching Weitz through his Master's project, Simon says, "With him, the idea was perfect. In general, you give students real-world experience: 'Don't look for that, look for this' – as well as how to read the audience."

"Joe Simon has been absolutely fantastic," says Weitz. "I was able to call him or email him all my questions. I could approach him whenever I needed."

Weitz says of consulting with Simon prior to Weitz's job interviews at Salesforce, "I spent an hour with him in his office on the executive floor at Conde Nast in midtown. He literally let me ask him any question I had regarding what Conde Nast is doing with technology, who their vendors are, what products they're using, how he perceives different industries, and so on."

"When you tell hiring managers that your thesis is under the guidance of Joe, they react right away because he's a very well-known figure who's focused on driving digital innovation."

Weitz recently accepted an offer from Salesforce as strategic value advisor on their Ignite innovation team. In an email to program director Dr. Arthur Langer and to Simon, Weitz thanked the two, saying that his success would not have been possible without their guidance.

Weitz tells me, "The role I got is absolutely fantastic. The program has really bumped me ahead in terms of my career and completely met my expectations – and I haven't even graduated yet."