College of Business

Business Technology Club Hosts Emerging Technology Speaker Series

Student Club at College of Business takes Initiative to Discuss Emerging Technology with Industry Professionals

November 19, 2021

Vishal Arya


The Business Tech Club hosted its third guest speaker discussion on November 19 with Vishal Arya, a UC Berkeley grad and a Business Analyst at Facebook (Meta). During the first half-hour of the discussion, Vishal explained how pursuing his current role was driven by a long-term vision to help mitigate climate change during his career. "When I set out to apply for business analyst roles, I was thinking more so about the skills I would be acquiring during my time there and how the experience would aid my journey in the grand scheme of things," Vishal shared, "a quote from the WMO that has always stuck with me is, 'we are the first generation to fully understand climate change and the last generation to be able to do something about it."

"I try to imagine the impact I want to have during the last ten years of my career— when I am at my most experienced, and then I try to work backward from that point; that is what has led me to pursue a role at an influential company like Facebook."

Vishal also shared an excellent resource for students in the chat called the 80,000 Hours Organization, a non-profit designed at the University of Oxford to support students and recent graduates in their quest to build careers that effectively address the world's most pressing problems.

During the second half-hour of discussion, students engaged in Q&A with Vishal, asking questions related to the interview process at Facebook and what an average workday looks like in the role of a business analyst. Vishal emphasized how often he uses the SQL language in his position, which was the perfect complement for the students from BUS469 who attended the event. In addition, Vishal highlighted how making connections and getting involved in student leadership opportunities helped him grow into the professional that he is today.

Speakers from earlier in the semester included Nelly Guerra, a first-generation AgTech research scholar from UC Davis Graduate School, and Ira Steele, a University of Alabama graduate and IT Account Executive from SHI Inc., the most prominent women and minority-owned tech enterprise in the U.S.


The club's event featuring Nelly Guerra, was initiated by The Business Tech Club, in collaboration with the COB AgriBusiness Club. Guerra, a Graduate Research Fellow at University of California, Davis, shared insights on her journey to pursue agricultural research at graduate school and then shifted the conversation to discuss how robotics, data processing, and IoT have enhanced agricultural processes—allowing farmers to maximize their production and feed more people. The event took place just four days before Greater Vision 2021 and the group discussed various topics pertaining to precision agriculture in the Salinas Valley. 

Nelly Guerra


Ira Steele


Guest speaker Ira Steele joined the Business Tech Club on campus in October. Ira, a former sales coach, engaged the attendees in a two-hour conversation that covered a wide variety of topics. Starting with his personal journey, Ira explained how he worked his way from a restaurant server to an account executive at a large tech firm. Although new to his current role, Ira demonstrated what conversations he would have with clients while in his most recent position as a Strategic Alignment Specialist and IT consultant. The remaining portion of time was dedicated to interesting conversations about the work-from-home movement and several case studies of how blockchain technology has been applied in financial markets around the world. A student who attended the event mentioned in the feedback survey, “I liked how it wasn't as scripted as a normal PowerPoint presentation. We were open to talk about a few topics, and go into as much depth as the audience wanted.”

Bus Tech Club Group Photo

"The common theme of this 'Emerging Technology Series' was that we chose topics that were related to how newly developed technologies are being applied and re-shaping some of the traditional ways of doing business," explained Smokey Heisey, the BusTech Club's Founder and Co-President. "It's helpful for us to have open conversations about how these technologies can or will impact us in the future, and that was something we wanted to explore."

The Business Tech Club is an active student organization, advised by Professor Mohamed Abouzahra, that provides opportunities for students to exercise their creativity, education, and knowledge related to information systems and technology. More information about the club and how to join can be found here: Business Technology Club (