The World of Disney
By Suzi Billington
Take advantage of opportunities that present themselves to you. You never know where it will lead you: this was the main message from The Walt Disney Company Executive Matt Estes (’92 Music) at his September all-campus presentation, “Behind the Magic at Disney.”
In his whirlwind, four-day visit to the WSU Pullman campus, Estes presented to several classes and student groups from the Carson College of Business, Murrow College of Communications, Honors College, College of Arts and Sciences, Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, and the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Resource Sciences—connecting with 578 students.
“Matt gave students insights into Disney professional internships, full-time employment opportunities, and strategies for gaining experience and capturing the attention of hiring managers,” said Suzi Billington, director of the Carson Center for Student Success. “These tips will give students an advantage when applying for jobs.”
As a WSU music performance major and former member of the WSU Marching Band, Estes recounted his career path that wound its way from the music industry, to catering, to construction, to database management, and ultimately to Disney in 1998. The common factor that led him from one step in his career path to the next: his network.
One of the benefits of working in a company like Disney is the ease at which employees can move from one Disney family to another, Estes said. “Building a network of people who know your strengths and capabilities is very beneficial.”
Technology behind the scenes
Currently, Estes is the executive director of enterprise architecture based out of Disney’s Seattle technology office. He leads a team that develops architectures across the broad range of businesses at The Walt Disney Company.
Estes’s experiences at Disney include work on the Disney Magic Band, ESPN Fantasy Games, ABC Breaking News, Disney’s Cloud Platform, and many other products and services. He possesses a deep background in data applications, holds patents in cloud computing, is involved in cloud standards development, and participates in the wider technology community.
“Most people do not think about Disney as a technology company. This is intentional,” he said, explaining that Disney wants customers to focus on the magic of the Disney experience, not the technology that creates that experience.