April 12, 2015

MBA Field Trip: San Francisco Day Trek

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

Day 1:

Intel Tour - We had the privilege of visiting the Intel Headquarters in Santa Clara. Kamieka Hariston, MBA '07, met us at the reception and gave us a tour of the Intel Museum where we had the opportunity to get an inside view on how Intel manufactures microprocessors. After the tour, we had a one-on-one session with Kamieka. The session helped students to better understand Intel’s competitive advantage and what it is like to work for a company like Intel. Kamieka also shared her career path and personal experience at Intel with us and described it as “challenging yet rewarding.” It was evident form our discussion that Kamieka is a true advocate of Intel and has had a tremendous career at the company.

Informational Interview: There were informational interviews for the students with select Weatherhead alumni. CMO did a really good job of connecting students with alumni who had similar backgrounds or with alumni who were working in industries similar to the students’ interests. Personally, I benefited a lot from this session because the alumni I met with gave me a picture of how to go about a job search or what is the best fit for my work experience and my passion.

Alumni Dinner Reception: This was one of the best alumni reception dinners that I have attended so far. The alumni from SF were really excited to meet the students and were really helpful. The student to alumni ratio was almost 1:3. The students not only met all of the alumni, but we also had the opportunity to spend quality time with each and every one of the alumni. We met some great people at this dinner, some who graduated as recently as 2014 and some as early as 1968. Dean Widing was also a part of the event and he spent time with the all of us sharing his experiences.

Day 2:

Google Office – On the second day of the event, Jeff Rozic, BS '01, and Alicia Sanchez, BS '10, hosted our group at Google’s YouTube office, and we had a very interesting conversation over breakfast. Some of the conversation was around the startup scenario and how it is evolving into something bigger and better day-by-day, how Google helps small companies do business by enabling online sales channels, etc.

BrandLab visit – Google has created a studio where they enable the brands to grow their brand-building capabilities. Google in partnership with the brands and their agencies come up with strategies to understand how to better connect with the consumers across a diverse segment by using Google’s tools and technologies. Jeff Rozic was a great host and he gave us an inside look to the amount of data that is available for brands and how it enables brands to come up with actionable insights. He also helped us understand the pricing mechanism for Youtube advertisements, what are the challenges that Google faces and how Google sells itself as a brand. This visit gave us an idea of how one of the biggest companies in the world does business with all types of brands, be it small businesses or a large conglomerate.

Lyve visit – Lyve is a startup based out of Cupertino. CMO had planned it in such a way that we get to see companies at both ends of the spectrum, organizations with more than thousands of employees and a startup with less than hundreds of employees. At Lyve we had the opportunity to interact with the COO and marketing managers. They gave us an introduction about the product and what it is like to work for a small company. One of the most interesting aspects of the session was when they asked us for ideas to improve the user experience and the awareness among smartphone users about their product. The students were given around ten minutes to work in groups of three to come up with ideas. The employees of Lyve were really impressed by the ideas that we had come up with and said some of the ideas would be incorporated into the product.

Overall, we spent quality time at every office getting to know what it is like to work for a company in the Silicon Valley and a lot of the alumni were very helpful in guiding us and providing us with valuable information that we would need in the internship and job search. It was a very well organized event by CMO staff for the benefit of the students. I would highly recommend that future students attend these events, as they are a good pathway to connect with a lot of the alumni and relevant business people. 

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