Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Update from the Valley (Day 1)

So far so good.

Sunday night we kicked things off with a students-only reception at the hotel we're staying at. We had a mix of 1st years, 2nd years, and EMBAs. Alot of new faces and interesting people. There were some hardcore tech backgrounds and aspirants (tech before school, want to go back to tech companies after school) as well as more traditional consulting/banker types. The Silicon Valley trek has two different tracks - VC/entrepreneurship and consulting/banking.

On Monday we visited Google, Intel, LinkedIn, and VMware. Google was first, and the big selling point for working there seemed to be the food :) They put together a panel of recent MBAs to talk about their jobs, but no one really talked about the day-to-day aspects of their jobs or career path. This is a pattern I have seen with Google and I'm not sure if its because there is no career path and the actual work isn't that exciting, or if it is because they are super-secretive.

Intel was VERY different. Their facilities were very utilitarian, and screamed "established company". No one walking their dog through the buildings or swimming in the outdoor lap pool (both of which I saw at Google). The presentation, however, was quite good. One of the managing directors at Intel Capital presented about her division and discussed her career path. They also talked about their new management rotational program and their finance rotation program. It sounded like most of the slots in the management rotation program were filled but that they might be open to squeezing a few people in if they looked to be star candidates.

LinkedIn came next. They are obviously in startup mode and have the typical startup office setup (open cubicles and free food and drinks in the kitchen). The VP of Marketing gave a great presentation on the company, operating metrics, and where he thinks things are going. Also, the CEO came in and talked to us for a few minutes. As you guys know I believe in LinkedIn as a company and so it was neat to be able to pick their brains and bounce questions off them.

We ended the day at VMware. It was weird to a) pull up to the brand new facility they built and opened after I left and b) to see they had valet parking attendants. Not sure if that's an everyday thing but they definitely didn't have that 3 years ago :) Diane Greene, the CEO, spoke to us and then a panel of MBAs working at VMware answered questions. After that, it was social hour with plenty of great appetizers and beverages. I was quite proud of my alma mater!

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