World Wide Technology's Associate Academy is an immersive development program for early-, mid-, and advanced-in-career individuals aspiring to become technical sales and engineering professionals. Participants in the Associate Academy follow two different paths. An Associate Consulting Systems Engineer or "ACSE" follows a technically oriented path, which is the one I chose. The other is a sales-aligned path, training to be a Client Development Associate or "CDA." The academy provides educational instruction covering topics such as WWT knowledge, technology fundamentals, sales and business skills, interactive activities like role-playing and group exercises, and on-the-job training providing firsthand experience with the role's responsibilities. As part of our curriculum, we were required to complete the CompTIA technology suite, including A+, Net+, and Sec+ exams. In addition to our "Partner of the Month" sessions with various WWT-partnered OEMs, this gave us a foundational understanding of the technology ecosystem. 

But how did I get there? While working as a nurse, I was introduced to Guy McDonald, Director of Sales Development Programs. I was interested in technology and curious about how to make the tech infrastructure more efficient within the healthcare environments where I worked. While I knew I was interested in the technical aspects of healthcare infrastructure, this was an entirely new world to me. I had much to learn about the tech industry and WWT's capabilities, and I knew right away that this would be a great opportunity to work and learn new skills.

Jeffrey Dishman

The technical offerings and career programs captivated me, and I was also drawn to the company culture. My interactions during the application and interview process gave me a lot of insight into the kind of culture WWT fosters. The leaders I met with were present; they came willing to speak to someone with a very limited technology background and ultimately showed interest in my success. 

Fast forward to today, and I now have an opportunity to propagate the strong culture here in the Technical Operations Center of Excellence (TOCE). I work within TOCE West, a new and growing division within TOCE, and can build an identity around our brand as a team. As a result, we strive to follow THE PATH and exhibit positivity (Attitude), thorough communication of our process (Honesty, Team Player, Humility), and agile responsiveness to the field teams we are engaged with (Passion).

Moving through the Associate Academy

Now back to the Associate Academy. To understand the engagement lifecycle of sales, we attended interactive sessions with key stakeholders and members of a high-performing team to learn their roles and how they worked together to achieve customer success. We also engaged with the North American Integration Center, where we gained valuable hands-on experience with OEM equipment, all while assisting the NAIC with meeting their turn-around time goals.

For our final project, we combined our technology learning with the voice of the customer, using our new-found knowledge to achieve desirable business outcomes during a 2-month account planning strategy exercise, where we presented our strategic plan to the teams that owned the accounts. We were then provided feedback on our work and methodologies to better understand how account planning strategies are conducted in the field. After completing this final project, the academy participants were privileged to be invited to a graduation ceremony at our corporate headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri.

Part of the academy curriculum includes field placement post-graduation. These routes can depend on different factors, such as a passion for a specific area of technology, account type, and business needs. I expressed interest in continuing to sharpen my understanding of sales motions, technology, and engagements required to be successful in the field, leading me to enroll in the TOCE. 

The TOCE Program: Transitioning to the Next Level

The TOCE is a natural next step after the academy, where the fundamentals and skills learned are put into practice. The TOCE is a crucial support hub within WWT's Sales Engineering organization, allowing Pre-Sales Engineering teams to build scale and efficiency by offloading operational responsibilities. By working with field engineers, the TOCE can aid with items such as Bills of Materials (BoMs), Statements of Work (SoWs), Proof of Concepts (PoCs), Rack Build Instructions (RBIs), and documentation & artifacts. 

Transitioning to the TOCE requires a mental shift from fundamental learning and understanding of processes to a mindset of scenario-based task execution. Initially, this can be a challenge as you learn to use a new set of tools to complete these tasks. I found it necessary to familiarize myself with resources and peers within the TOCE early to leverage their help when faced with unfamiliar tasks and requests. Content and workflows on best practices for various methods of task completion are continually being developed so that the TOCE can better mitigate this initial unfamiliarity with tasks.  

Lessons Learned and Advice for Early Career Professionals

Time management is one of the biggest lessons learned throughout the Associate Academy and the TOCE. In the academy, this starts by weighing how much time one should allocate to studies and exams vs. projects and coursework. Now, in the TOCE, this skill continues to be honed by prioritizing different requests from the team. 

Next is exhibiting positive intent. Part of the academy curriculum involves connecting with various roles within the organization. If you show genuine interest in learning and respect for others, the professional connections you can make are endless! Building on the idea of positive intent, another lesson learned in the Associate Academy is "show up ready to engage." Do proactive research, be on time, engage in the subject matter, and ask questions to enhance your understanding.

It's no secret that technology is rapidly changing, meaning effort and intention must be applied to keep up with these new technologies. Part of a positive mindset means understanding that you will be a lifelong learner. WWT encourages a passion for learning, and limitless resources are available, including uDemy, OEM technology updates, Amplify modules, ATC learning paths, WWT peers, and WWT's technology experts. These are excellent resources you can leverage to engage in education continuously. 

Networking and seeking mentorship are vital! Peers, mentors, and technology experts can help you understand key concepts in my experience. Mentors and network connections are eager to see you succeed! By sending an introduction email, setting up time with an outline of what you are seeking to learn or understand, and being engaged during your meeting, you reveal your positive intent and passion for learning.


Associate Academy provides the foundational skills needed to be successful at World Wide Technology. The combination of technology enablement, becoming an expert on all things WWT, and learning to approach sales from a consultative mindset alongside your clients sets up new Associates to be successful contributors as they embark on their career journeys. As someone who fits into the "change in career" category of applicants to the Associate Academy, enrolling in a curriculum designed to educate me on how to be successful within WWT was empowering! If you are willing to show up, engage with the learning material that is taught to you, and bring a "can do" attitude, then this program could be a good fit for you, too. 

Learn More about the Associate Academy