After completing the roller coaster ride of first quarter exams, the next item on my business school calendar was the technology trek to Seattle and San Francisco. I wrote about this trek in my business school essays, and was actually very excited to be one of the thirty Kellogg students chosen to participate. I understood that the trek in and of itself would not help me get an internship. However, I believe that the knowledge and experiences gained from directly interacting with – and learning about – prospective employers could be valuable during the recruiting process for summer internships.
For those who may be wondering, the trip wasn’t financed by Kellogg. Each student was responsible for his or her transportation, lodging and meals. Our trip was 5 days long, and filled with visits to some of the most admired technology companies in the world today. Our daily agenda looked something like this:
Day 1 (Seattle): Amazon, Microsoft, Expedia
Day 2 (San Francisco): Apple, Cisco, eBay/PayPal
Day 3 (San Francisco): Flextronics, Facebook, Google
Other companies which I would have loved to visit were Adobe, LinkedIn, and Workday. Notwithstanding, I thought we had a pretty impressive list. Although it was nice to be physically present at great companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon, the companies that I really enjoyed visiting did one of two things well:
- They engaged us in very lively discussions about the changes in their industry and how they plan to respond to those changes. The companies that I think did this quite well were Intuit, PayPal, Box and Flextronics.
- They gave us some sort of insight into next-generation technologies that they might bring to market in the long term. The most impressive company in this regard was Intuit. I also enjoyed visiting the Intel museum and immersing myself in the history of this great technology company. You would think that the companies that would really shine in this regard are big players like Google, Facebook and Apple. However, I’ve come to realize is that the technology industry is so competitive these days that no one wants to ‘show their hand.’ This makes sense, but It was still disappointing to not get to see all the cool stuff being developed at these respective companies.
An unexpected benefit of participating in the technology trek for me was the chance to spend a substantial amount of time with my classmates. We spent a fair amount of time in transit as we moved from one company to another, and this provided me with ample time to meet new classmates and interact with those I already knew on a more personal level. This turned out to be one of my best parts of the entire trek.
I made a slide deck of some of the pictures I took during the trek. I didn’t take as many as I should have so they don’t tell the entire story. Still, as the saying goes, a picture is worth more than a thousand words.