April 10, 2013

Go West, Young MBA

Post by:
Neil Yajnik
MS-MBA 2013 
Last month, a group of 17 MBAs embarked on the West Coast Networking Club’s annual Technology Trek to Silicon Valley. We spent three days taking in the sights and sounds of the San Francisco Bay Area while visiting companies such as Chevron, Google, Globant, Zynga, NetApp, HP, and even getting a chance to sit down with a panel of entrepreneurs to learn about the startup environment and culture in the world’s largest technology hub.

Students pose outside HP headquarters

First and Second year full-time MBA & MS-MBA students got a chance to truly feel the frantic pace of innovation that is a fact of life in the Bay Area. It was as tangible at large corporations as it was at even the smallest of startups. Not to mention, we had the “misfortune” of getting stuck in sunny 70-degree weather while Boston weathered winter storm Nemo and the 24 inches of snow it brought.

Having come from the Bay Area prior to BU, it was interesting to hear the points of view of my fellow classmates who had never visited the region before. The first thing that stood out was simply how close some of the largest technology companies in the world are to each other. For example, during our visit to NetApp, most were amazed to see that Yahoo! was right next door and that Cisco was down the road. Google is neighbors with Intuit, LinkedIn, and Microsoft, and if one were to work at any of these companies, there’s no telling whom you might run into at a local pub. It is precisely this kind of atmosphere that is the foundation of creativity and innovation, and is the reason why the area is incredibly diverse.

Students at NetApp headquarters, just a stone's throw away from Yahoo! and other leading tech companies

In speaking to some of the entrepreneurs during a panel focused on startups and small businesses in the Bay Area, it is truly remarkable that the area attracts people from every part of the world. Many have likened the tech boom in Silicon Valley to the Gold Rush era where people traveled west to seek their fortune. In my mind, however, the Bay Area bears much more resemblance to Italy during the Renaissance period. The city of Florence particularly attracted some of the greatest minds in art and science such as Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo. Silicon Valley is very similar in this regard. People come to this area to exchange ideas and create paradigm-shifting technologies.

Such technologies were clearly evident in our visits to Google and Zynga, as both companies have completely disrupted the way we use the Internet and play games, respectively. NetApp showed us how it is changing enterprise IT with storage solutions developed for cloud applications and distributed computing. Chevron is partnering with these same companies to leverage their expertise and provide even more intelligence for their oil and natural gas exploration efforts.

It was only fitting that we concluded our trip with a visit to Hewlett Packard’s headquarters in Palo Alto. HP was one of the first technology companies to set up shop in Silicon Valley and was founded by two engineering graduates from nearby Stanford University. Founded in 1939, HP was the driving force behind the industry and paved the way for so many companies such as Intel, Microsoft, Apple, Google, etc. It’s amazing to see how far the technology industry has come since then, and how much opportunity exists for current MBA candidates.

 Neil is a 2nd-year MS-MBA student. He currently serves as the MS-MBA Program Representative to the Graduate Student Council and is the organizing committee chairman for the 2013 Grand Business Challenge in Digital Health sponsored by Merck, the School of Management's annual technology case competition.

Bookmark and Share

No comments:

Post a Comment