ThinkChicago 2013 Links Participating Students to Chicago Tech Jobs

ThinkChicago 2013, a collaboration between Chicago Ideas Week (CIW), the City of Chicago and the University of Illinois, gave over 200 college students a behind-the-scenes tour of Chicago-area businesses and startups—and induced many of them to start their careers in Chicago.
“I was hoping I wouldn’t have to leave Chicago,” said Bart Miczek, a University of Illinois–Chicago graduate who secured a position as a software engineer at Orbitz through his involvement in ThinkChicago. 

Mayor Rahm Emanuel discussed the Chicago
tech scene with ThinkChicago participants.

Miczek participated in ThinkChicago during CIW, where he took inspiration from Myspace COO Chris Vanderhook and CEO Tim Vanderhook at CIW’s Next Talk, toured 1871 and got exposure to many of Chicago’s leading tech companies. 
 “When I thought tech scene, I only thought California.  Chicago was not on my radar,” ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza participant and Georgia Tech grad Bryan Boyer said.  “[ThinkChicago] gave me a new perspective on the tech scene [in Chicago].”  Without that exposure, Boyer says he likely would not have ended up working at the Chicago web company kCura.
Rahul Dhodapkar, a junior at Yale, admits that some of the pull for his participation in ThinkChicago was the music festival.  “I love music,” he explained.  “The Killers were fantastic.”
He gained much more than free concert tickets, however.  Today, he works remotely for Sears—a position he interviewed for via his ThinkChicago participation.
“I hadn’t known a lot about Chicago before or thought of Sears as a tech company,” Dhodapkar said, adding, “I really like Chicago.  It’s a major draw for me [post-graduation].”
ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza is currently accepting applications at  More information about ThinkChicago’s Lollapalooza and Chicago Ideas Week programming can be found at the Chicago Ideas Week website.

Erin Robertson is managing editor at Chicago Ideas.

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