Michigan Wolverines know Indy is a great place for college basketball; even better for a tech career

Two Michigan Wolverine fans at March Madness basketball game

Photo courtesy of Courtney Kolb

When Michigan University fell to UCLA in the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament, thousands of Wolverines were disappointed. And Indianapolis tourism officials may have bowed their heads as the last Midwest team left the Big Dance floor.

Michigan’s proximity to Indy meant that many Wolverine fans were in the stands (and spending money before and after the games). But with Michigan’s season over, the chances of another big influx of fans from the north is unlikely. Tourism leaders still hope to welcome crowds this weekend for the Final Four games between Houston, Baylor, Gonzaga, and UCLA. But everyone expects to see more locally based fans this weekend.

Courtney Kolb and Rachel Shutty are among the woeful Wolverines. They’re both Michigan natives and graduates of the university as well as new Hoosiers working in Indiana’s tech sector. They remain bullish on their team, but more importantly to tech sector leaders, they’re also bullish on Indianapolis! 

Indy is the place to be in tech because the cost of living is low and the opportunities are plentiful,” Courtney said. “Opportunities range from startup to enterprise, and the tech community is tight-knit. It’s easy to network and make moves.”

Michigan graduates recommend working in Indy’s growing tech hub.

Courtney and Rachel champion their new city whenever they get the opportunity. And they’ve both found that wearing Wolverine gear is a great way to start the conversation. 

I’ve met people in airports that have called out ‘Go Blue!’ while I’m wearing Michigan apparel,” Courtney said. “I let them know where I currently live and have found success. In fact, I gave my business card to a woman at one airport whose daughter was soon to be graduating from Michigan and looking for career options.”

Rachel’s Michigan gear has gotten her noticed a lot over the past few weeks. When she talks with people, she always recommends Indianapolis for both work and play. 

I feel like [Indianapolis is] definitely emerging as a tech hub amongst other cities like Chicago and Detroit,” Rachel said. “It’s creating more of a culture and pulse in the city for young people and working professionals. Plus, it’s more affordable than other cities, which I think makes it easier to stay here long-term.”

Those comments are music to our ears because there’s no better way to attract new tech talent to Indy. People like Rachel and Courtney help explain the benefits of crossing state lines and making Indy your next career stop.

Rachel discovered Indianapolis and started her career here.

Rachel was born in Columbus, Indiana, but grew up in Clarkston, Michigan. Now, she works at Salesforce as a Success Guide and lives in downtown Indianapolis. Last year, she started job hunting, and then Salesforce came recruiting on Michigan’s campus. She was intrigued by the opportunity to live in a larger city while starting her career nearby her home. 

“I love Indy as a city, and I feel that I’ve made it my own these past nine months,” Rachel said. “There’s always something happening and something new to explore. I personally like the coffee shops and small businesses that remind me of Ann Arbor. I plan to stay here as long as I can.”

With travel out of bounds due to the pandemic, Rachel has talked with her college friends during weekly tea tastings and bake nights. They live in Chicago and Rochester, Minnesota, with tech jobs of their own.

“We’re all starting out at new jobs. And it’s great to empathize with each other about it and encourage each other,” Rachel said. “I think they would be happy here as well if given the opportunity!”

 

Photo courtesy of Rachel Shutty

Rachel loves exploring and having fun in Indy.

Even with her virtual work and pandemic restrictions, Rachel said Indianapolis has proven to be a great place to live. She lives with her boyfriend near Massachusetts Avenue and plans to walk to work when the Salesforce Tower office reopens.

“It’s a really fun place to be,” Rachel said. “We like walking around Mass Ave mostly, but the Circle is also well within walking distance. It was such an experience when they closed down the street last summer for outdoor dining. People skateboarded, played music, did some flame-throwing, you name it. It was like a mini festival!

“Indy is a great place to be in tech because you will always find a lot of other young professionals here,” she continued. “The career opportunities are balanced by plenty of entertainment curated for that group. The work culture isn’t overly intense. And you don’t have to move too far away if you’re from the Midwest.”

Courtney found career success in the Indy region.

Courtney is now the Manager of Data Integration at Ultimate Kronos Group (UKG) and lives in Broad Ripple.

“I graduated from Michigan in 2008 with a major in Environmental Studies and specialization in Urban Planning,” Courtney said. “But the economic crash that year made a career in environmental work a challenge. I took night classes in IT for a couple semesters and repositioned my degree.”

Courtney credits her alma mater for getting callbacks and connections to recruiters and hiring managers. Michigan University is globally renowned in general and especially for their tech and engineer programs. And as if she’s a native Hoosier, Courtney sees the connection between that academic rigor and basketball.

“The school has a legacy of clever, well-prepared, hard-working graduates that make something of themselves out in the real world. It’s the same kind of confidence you see in strong, well-coached basketball teams. It carries through in everything you do,” she said.

When she didn’t find a job in her home state, Courtney was quickly snatched up by InfoDynamics in Indianapolis. Then, she started working at Kronos Incorporated, which became UKG.

“I’ve never really looked back because there are tons of great opportunities here,” Courtney said. “My first experience was a great springboard for taking a technical job at Kronos at their downtown Tech Center. And there was opportunity to grow into a management role.”

Indiana is a great place to start your tech career.

While the NCAA tournament will wrap up soon, Indiana’s thriving tech hub will keep on growing. Every day, we work hard to put Indiana in the national spotlight and welcome tech talent from across the globe. If you know someone working outside Indiana who’d be happier here, TechPoint’s Job Board is a great resource to share. And our Jobs in Tech 101 guide helps you match your skills and interests to the right career for you.