Tristan Sheldon is a Haas senior and transfer student from Cañada College in the San Mateo Community College District. I have known Tristan since junior college, where we both had executive leadership positions in our colleges’ respective Phi Theta Kappa honor society chapters. I remember him as a 4.0 student, avidly taking statistics and finance courses to work towards a career in finance. Hence, when I found out he decided to do data analytics for a gaming company instead of more traditional corporate finance positions, I had to ask for his story.
You were very interested in pursuing a career in Finance. Why did you decide to do analytics for Ubisoft instead?
During one of the career fairs, I noticed Ubisoft had a booth. As a hardcore gamer I am a huge fan of their Splinter Cell and Assassin’s Creed franchises for which I have clocked hundreds of hours on their titles. I spoke to the person at the booth and figured out that he was a gamer as well. Qe spoke for about 10 minutes on our favorite titles. In the end, I gave him my resume and he gave me his card (he wrote his Xbox Live Gamertag on the back). To this day we still play Titanfall and Battlefield 4 online together, and I see him around the office every once in a while. I have never felt more comfortable talking to someone at a career fair before, and this really changed something in me — to which I started applying to game companies instead of financial firms. At this point in my life, I also found finance to be rather dull and it seemed to give me a ‘get rich quick’ kind of motivation, but did not really provide any long term happiness for me.
You have previous experience as a Quality Assurance Tester for Electronic Arts (EA) games. How were the interview processes like for both Ubisoft and EA?
The EA interview process started out with an EA employee taking all the applicants to a computer lab. There, we were shown a 10-minute video of the Simpson’s Game and were told to write down all the bugs we saw during this time frame. After that, we were taken to a long room where we were interviewed by three different people. Because it was so long ago, I can’t remember the exact questions asked. However, I do remember that a few were based on my interest in EA and the gaming industry, in general. A week later, I received the offer and was instructed to go in for a week of training.
The interview with Ubisoft wasn’t much different from a normal interview that anyone would receive in a standard corporation. I was instructed to wait in a room where I was interviewed by three different people at separate times. The first person interviewed me on my knowledge on Excel (to which I had barely any); the second person interviewed me on my interest in Ubisoft, the position, and the industry; and the third person (my boss) interviewed me on life plans, examples of leadership, and management of multiple projects.
How did you prepare for the interview?
I didn’t do much preparing for the interview besides reading the requirements of the position that I applied for. I already had prior knowledge in numerous Ubisoft and EA products and felt like I could have a conversation about them with the person interviewing me.
I interviewed with EA back in 2008 right out of high school and I remember that I was incredibly nervous. I had a contact through professional gaming that worked at EA, and he helped push my resume along. Back then, getting a testing position at a game company was the equivalent to my friends getting into Goldman now — it was that incredible.
Almost a month after the career fair since I met the Ubisoft employee, I received a call from their HR manager asking me if I was still interested in the marketing analytics department. We scheduled an interview, and I looked over the requirements for the job. They wanted to have someone that had an above average skill at Excel. I am not very good at self-teaching myself software, so I played around with Excel for like 30 minutes, got bored, then started to play various Ubisoft titles thinking that this was a better way to prepare for the job — it was the gaming industry after all.
What advice do you have for students who are interested in trying out other fields, but feel pressured to get into corporate environments?
Life is not all about making money quick. When I interviewed ay Merrill Lynch for their investment management position, I looked on Glassdoor after and was really impressed with the starting salary and potential bonuses that new hires receive in their first year. However, I feel that I would not have been very happy after two years in this position and didn’t feel I had an exit to change careers if I wasn’t happy. My advice to other people is to pursue something they are interested in rather than pursue something for a pay check. I love my job because my greatest passion is video games. Every day I go into work, I always have a great time — there is always something new so it makes me excited.
Would you recommend your experience at Ubisoft?
Most definitely. You don’t have to be a gamer to work at Ubisoft. First and foremost it is a product development company and about 50% of the company doesn’t play video games. It is good to have that background knowledge but it is not a deal breaker if you’re interviewing. The environment is very laid back and everyone makes you feel very comfortable. During the summer internship that I did, there were weekly events happening for the interns ranging from Giants games to meeting the executives.
Class of 2014