By: Parv Sud
Over fall break, I had the opportunity to travel with some of my classmates to the San Francisco Bay Area. The trip was part of the Innovation Trek, a newly founded program through the Weatherhead School of Management with the help from Weatherhead alumni Anand Swaminathan, Laura Swaminathan, and Joe Mandato.
The trek was designed as a discovery visit to help students interested in Innovation and Entrepreneurship see first-hand the opportunities that exist, and to help strengthen the alumni-student relationship in the Bay Area. During the course of our trip, we visited the offices of several major businesses: from small scale ventures founded by CWRU alum such as Apartment List and KiwiCo up to large companies like Facebook, LinkedIn, and eBay!
As a senior chemical engineering major minoring in business management who is looking to work in the Bay Area post-graduation, this trek was a remarkable experience. Having the opportunity to interact with a variety of businesses gave me an insight into the work culture each one of them had. More importantly, however, meeting with alumni that run successful ventures in the area was a rewarding experience. Interacting with them in a smaller groups and have them answer our questions allowed for a unique perspective to help visualize future career opportunities.
Out of all of our experiences, KiwiCo and the Mayfield Fund stood out to me. Meeting Sandra Oh Lin, CEO of KiwiCo and CWRU alumni, was an insightful experience. Hearing about the experiences that lead her to where she got to today was incredibly inspirational. Tejas Maniar, from the Mayfield Fund and a Weatherhead MBA graduate, helped me get a better understanding of the venture capital side of Silicon Valley and introduced me to a new potential career path.
To end the trip, a few students on the trek and I were asked to be on a panel for an alumni event in the Bay Area. Being able to answer questions posed by alumni and help them get a better understanding of the amazing work being done at the university was gratifying.