Consulting at Five9 - Q&A with Matt Bange
Matt Bange, ITS '11 with a minor in business and concentration in economics, is the manager of solutions consulting at Five9, a leading provider of cloud contact center solutions. Bange started at OU freshman year majoring in biology, on a pre-dentistry track. He soon came to realize the sciences were not for him. In Boyd Hall, Bange's neighbor told him about an introductory ITS course, and he thought it sounded interesting. Bange received his first A grade in an ITS course, landing a 97 percent. Once Bange found something he could succeed in academically, a passion was ignited to keep pursuing ITS.
Q1: What does sales engineering entail? What interested you in this field of ITS?
Sales engineering in its simplest form is understanding customers’ challenges and positioning/providing solutions that create meaningful business outcomes. I enjoy sales engineering because I get to stay up to date on the latest and greatest tech while also being a consultant, showing customers the applications and outcomes that can drive their business forward.
Q2: How has what you learned at the McClure School helped your many different positions as a sales/solutions engineer and solutions consultant?
You get exposed to all kinds of technologies in ITS. One of the first things I learned was the OSI Model. The point is less about the model and more about the content of what you learn at the McClure School. You get to learn a little bit (sometimes a lot) about each layer and the types of technologies/solutions that exist at each level. The general awareness and breadth of concepts covered at the McClure School make you a utility player at Software and Telecommunications companies.
Q3: What did the McClure school offer/teach you that set you apart from other candidates in your job search?
A degree from the McClure School is incredibly unique, not only within Ohio University but also within the country. What I’ve found is that many folks in our industry have a business or social sciences degree or a generalized computer engineering degree. Entering the market with knowledge of niche concepts taught in the ITS program allows you to engage in conversations at a level that delights those who have been around the block.
As for specific classes, ITS 4440/Accenture Challenge is about as close to the real world as you could get. Julio’s wireless class was super eye-opening. I still remember walking around campus with my lab team looking at dB loss, etc. on a jailbroken Nokia cell phone!
Q4: Did you have to learn anything in the field that you didn’t get hands-on work with at the McClure School? How has that impacted your career?
- Active listening – Really listening to your customers’ challenges to understand their business so you can determine where you can and cannot help.
- Being okay with not having all the answers at once. Take the question as a follow-up item, using your teammates to collaborate on an answer/solution.
Doing these well early in your career will pay dividends, regardless of your focus.
Q5: What advice would you give to current ITS students interested in engineering and consulting, especially the sales side?
Get to know your professors and get involved with TSMA/Alumni events.
While on an industry field trip to Cincinnati Bell, then Professor John Hoag basically dared me to ask alumni Mike Herrmann (one of our tour guides) if they offered an internship program. He knew that I was looking for an internship. I was also fully aware that one did not exist (I checked before we went on the trip). It was a risk, but Professor Hoag knew I wasn’t one to shy away.
So, I asked. Interviewed. I interned and was offered a full-time job at the beginning of the spring quarter senior year. I spent the first 7 years of my career with Cincinnati Bell, and it all started because I was involved with the student organization, and I was friendly with my professor.
The McClure School of Emerging Communication Technologies strives to offer the best academic programs in the IT (Information Technology)(opens in a new window)(opens in a new window), the game development and the Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality(opens in a new window)(opens in a new window) (VR/AR) industries. Our programs and certificates cover numerous aspects of the rapidly changing industries of information networking, cybersecurity(opens in a new window)(opens in a new window), data privacy, game development(opens in a new window)(opens in a new window), digital animation and the academic side of esports.