Cloud expert shares career knowledge

If there’s one thing students took away from a visit with Vikki Kolbe, it’s that anything is possible.

Kolbe is the senior vice president of industry cloud at Oracle, which she says is the fastest growing cloud company in the world. It is a global provider of enterprise cloud computing headquartered in Redwood Shores, California.

“Oracle with cloud has given our industry the ability to innovate faster than we ever could imagine,” Kolbe said.

But how she ended up as one of the leaders at Oracle is anything but ordinary. 

Vikki Kolbe talking with students
Vikki Kolbe

Cornell’s STEM Scholars program and The Berry Career Institute asked Kolbe to visit Cornell to share her college-to-career story on Monday, Feb. 19.

As a young girl, she wanted to be a ballerina and a prosecutor. When an accident in which she snapped her Achilles tendon seemed to ruin her plans, she got a job at a bank working on mortgages where she discovered her interest in technology and its ability to solve problems.

“I just fell in love with so many pieces of it,” Kolbe said. “It became what do I do next?”

Her journey didn’t end at that bank but included a number of other jobs before she landed her positions as a leader at Oracle. As she shared her journey to Cornellians she left students with a number of valuable pieces of advice as they discover their own paths:

  • Stay prepared to pivot in your career when opportunities present themselves
  • Real-world experience, like internships, are vital
  • Realize the importance of building strategic relationships
  • Have role models that show you their journey
  • Understand that sometimes you’ll fail, but always learn something
  • Stay prepared to show how you solved a problem during an interview

Kolbe also stressed the importance of a liberal arts education.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that my liberal arts background gave me the foundation to do what I’ve done with my career,” she said.