If you have an interest in technical subjects but don’t like the idea of toiling away on your own every day, a career in tech sales could be a good compromise. Tracy Britz, Senior Account Manager at LSI shares how she used her electrical engineering degree and people skills to find the perfect position.
What is your current job title? If you’ve changed titles since you started at your company, what was your job title when you started?
I’m currently a Senior Account Manager. When I started in 2000 I was a Field Sales Engineer.
What do you do in a typical day?
9 – 10 a.m. Internal meeting. Review list of actions with engineering team prior to client meeting.
10 – 11 a.m. Client Meeting. Weekly technical program review (engineering level). We engage in a program that takes about a year in design before it goes into production. This is the post-sales design phase prior to production. It takes a few hours to prep for one of these meetings.
11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Client Lunch
2 – 3 p.m. Client Meeting. Technical update, which means we’re exploring options for next generation solutions. This type of pre-sales meeting includes roadmap discussions and allows us to discuss innovative technology for their next generation product. I usually need a few days to prep for this type of meeting.
4 – 5 p.m. Client Meeting. Executive Management Review (executive level). In this type of meeting, the executives from LSI would be in the same meeting with my client’s executives so they can discuss things at the executive level. It takes several days and multiple internal meetings to prepare for one of these meetings and anticipate what types of issues might come up.
What are your favorite aspects of your job? What are the things you would change if you could?
My favorite aspect is customer interface. I’m only in the office 50% of the time. The other 50% I spend at client sites working to build innovative solutions. Most of my clients are doing cutting-edge work which is very exciting.
What I would change: As a salesperson, you’re on duty 24/7. Since you are the primary interface to the client, the phone can ring at any time of the day (or night) if issues arise.
What did you study in college? How does your major relate to your current position?
I majored in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Mathematics at Cal Poly, SLO.
When I graduated from college I accepted a position in a rotation program: one year as an Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) design engineer, three months in technical marketing, then a final placement as a Field Sales Engineer, selling ASICs. An Electrical Engineering degree is required for this role as it is one of the most technical sales positions that exists in the industry today. Nearly all of the salespeople in my office have an Electrical Engineering degree.
What advice would you give to college students who are interested in working in your field?
If you’re interested in technical sales, having a technical background is key. Having worked as an Electrical Engineer, I am able to establish credibility and trust among my client base, all of which are electrical engineers.
What type of internship experience did you have while you were still a student?
I did an internship every summer while I was at Cal Poly. I started off with engineering internships, but I gradually realized that I didn’t want to be solely technical; I wanted to go into a sales-type role and do client interface, so I made it a point to start changing my internships. The last internship I did was a technical marketing internship at HP, and that’s how I ended up applying for my job at LSI.
Homework time! An important part of the internship experience is discovering things you don’t like (and hopefully a few things you do). Think about a past internship, volunteer, or work experience. What were some things you didn’t like about it? How can you apply that knowledge to your job search?