March 18, 2016

Career's Beyond Cleveland: San Francisco City Trek 2016

Elizabeth Thompson is a first-year student in the full-time MBA program at Weatherhead. She shares her experience as a participant in the San Francisco Tech Trek, organized by Weatherhead's Career Management Office (CMO) in March. Follow CMO on Twitter: @weatherheadcmo.

Day 1:
San Francisco Tech Trek
On the first day of the Tech Trek, we had the pleasure of visiting the Google and Yahoo offices in downtown San Francisco. Alumna Alicia Sanchez lead us on a tour of Google showing us the different types of work stations and a speak-easy for which the key card entrance pad was hidden. The tour was followed by a panel discussion with the DoubleClick team, a group that provides internet advertising services to various clients. The discussion covered many topics including big data analytics, career tips, and interviewing advice.

After departing from Google, we headed to Yahoo for lunch and enjoyed a tour and a presentation given by alumnus Scott Chandler. Chandler’s presentation focused on how to approach career searches in the technology industry and stressed the importance of networking.  The day closed with one-on-one informational interviews with alumni and an afternoon reception. My one-on-one conversation with Jamie Wheeler, founder of Gradify, proved both insightful and rewarding. At the reception, we were able to connect with alumni from various companies in the Bay Area.

Day 2:
We began our second day at Slalom Consulting in San Francisco, where we enjoyed a tour and an alumni panel discussion lead by Magda Marcel, Sarah Duffy, Kyle Napierkowski and Jamie Wheeler. During the discussion the panelists highlighted the importance of staying curious and maintaining awareness of what is happening not only in the technology industry but also in other industries. Staying curious and being open to new concepts will ultimately aid us, the panelists instructed, in designing solutions and strategies in our future careers.

After departing Slalom Consulting, we ventured to Silicon Valley to visit Pulse Secure, a technology security company. Alumna Joyeta Samanta coordinated a prospective internship event in which the MBA students were given the opportunity to interview for summer internships. Our final stop was Siemens where we toured the office, learned about the ultrasound medical device market, and spoke with alumnus Douglas Younger. Younger emphasized the importance of passion as the main driver in designing a fruitful and rewarding career.

Conclusion:
The Tech Trek in San Francisco offered many rewarding experiences, namely, the company tours and interacting with alumni. Those leading the company tours emphasized the importance of finding a culture and work environment that is a good fit. The one-on-one conversations with alumni offered career advice, direction, and technology industry insights.  The experience is one that I would highly recommend to students contemplating similar trips in future years.