Dartmouth MBA Students Visit New Relic to Learn What It Takes to Succeed at a Modern Software Company

New Relic’s West Coast offices are a long way from Dartmouth College’s Hanover, N.H., campus. But the company has strong ties to the school: CFO Mark Sachleben, CPO Jim Gochee, EVP of Commercial and Enterprise Sales Erica Schultz, and VP of Customer Success Bill Lapcevic are all Dartmouth alumni—not to mention our CEO and founder Lew Cirne.

So earlier this month when a group of 37 first-year MBA students from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business flew out to attend a Silicon Valley Technology Boot Camp, I was eager to help organize an office visit for them. As the current Tuck MBA summer intern here at New Relic, I wanted others in my program to get a taste of life inside this modern software company.

The four-day boot camp program aimed to help MBA students learn about their career options in the technology field. They visited a wide variety of Silicon Valley companies—big, small, early-stage, late-stage, and post-IPO­, including big-name companies such as Google and Facebook. They dined with Dartmouth and Tuck alums working in technology, and heard presentations by executives at Nest, Pandora, Weather Underground, frog design, and more. New Relic was the last stop on their whirlwind tour.

Dartmouth MBA students

A Peek Inside a Modern Software Company

Steve McElfresh, our VP of “PeopleOps” (as we refer to our human resources division) gave the group an introductory office tour. As the Tuck students oohed and aahed at the majestic views of San Francisco Bay, Steve explained that each floor has its own distinctive “look and feel” and that the workstations reflect the nature of each department—New Relic’s marketing teams, for example, sit in communal “pods” with low partitions because they’re a creative, collaborative bunch that needs to be able to see and talk easily to one another. The tour ended with a walk through Nerdvana, the swank employee lounge that features a fireplace and its own onsite barista.

The students then met with New Relic executives: Baxter Denney, vice president of Online Marketing and Marketing Operations, gave a presentation focused on how the SaaS business model is core to New Relic. Baxter came away very impressed with his audience: “The engagement level of the students was high and the questions were very good,” said Baxter. “Some of the students focused on better understanding the impact of customer satisfaction on the business, while others wanted to understand why it was important to cross-sell and up-sell to create a higher lifetime value.”

New Relic executive Q&A

Baxter Denney, Chris Cook, and Yvonne Wassenaar of New Relic

Q&A with New Relic Execs

Baxter was then joined by Chris Cook, president and COO, and Yvonne Wassenaar, the company’s newly appointed CIO, for a lengthy Q&A session.

As MBA students thinking about their future, many of the questions were career-related. Asked what characteristics New Relic looks for when hiring in a high-growth, dynamic environment, Chris Cook answered, “Tenacity counts for a lot.” Chris admitted he doesn’t like to see resumes that indicate a candidate changes companies every 1 or 2 years. “There are always problems, there are always bumps in the road,” he said, but “I think there are a lot of lessons to be learned in going through those tough times and coming out the other end.”

Yvonne told the group that it is important people have a real passion for what they do. “If you don’t love your job, it will show and you won’t do as well,” she said. But Yvonne also said she looks for people who have the ability to work through problems. “I believe you can learn anything from a content perspective, but the harder thing is how do you think, how do you work through challenges?”

The students seemed to enjoy their visit and the opportunity to speak directly with New Relic’s executives. “Coming from a large software company, I understood SaaS as a concept and how it’s challenged my industry to think differently,” said Anthony Hemming, “but the presentations gave me a better understanding of how it changes the software business model…. It was great timing to have this visit before internship recruiting (or even classes) started—it’s given me a lot more to think about as I consider directions for internships and post-MBA career paths.”

The Value of an Internship

An internship is a great way for students to get a feeling for what life is really like inside a company as well as build up their resumes and grow their professional networks. Marion Long, New Relic’s Senior Programs Specialist who helps manage the internship program, says there are numerous benefits to an internship program for companies as well: “It enables employers to find future employees; test-drive talent; increase productivity and employee retention rates; and revitalize an organization with fresh perspectives and specialized skill sets,” she said. “New Relic’s goal is to provide interns with an opportunity to contribute meaningful work and leave with a positive, lasting impression of New Relic.”

For more information about working at New Relic, check out our Careers page and job listings.


Dmitry is an MBA student at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and an intern on New Relic’s Business Operations team. He is originally from Moscow, Russia, where he worked as the Head of IT Operational Excellence Office for Sberbank, the largest bank in Central and Eastern Europe, which has approx. 300,000 employees and is represented in more than 20 countries. Dmitry’s expertise is primarily in Operational Excellence, IT Strategy, and Project Management. View posts by .

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