One of the best memories I will take away from the MSTM program is the trip to San Francisco during Spring Break. Although the trip is optional, I heard from many alumni that the MSTM San Francisco trip was a great experience- and they were right!
The trip consisted of six days of company tours, delicious food, and free time to explore the city. We visited six different companies including Google, Renovo, eBay, Facebook, Optimizely, and Womply. We visited each company for about two to three hours to tour their campuses, learn their current business models, and experience their company cultures.
Google was our first company stop on the trip. We drove down over a mile of Google’s campus until we got to our destination. There, we got to have lunch in the Google cafeteria with Google recruiters and employees. We then took a short tour of some buildings and sat on a panel with Illini alumni to ask about work life at Google.
Renovo Motors, a startup electric vehicle car business, was our next stop. At Renovo Motors, we were fortunate to meet the actual founders of the company. Our visit consisted of learning more about the electric vehicle industry and actually observing some of their vehicles up close. Next, we made our way to Ebay, which was probably our most interactive visit. After having a lecture from a lead marketing agent, we snacked and played a few collaborative leadership games with current employees.
Our next stop, which happened to be my personal favorite, was Facebook. At Facebook, we got a full tour of their Silicon Valley campus. The campus was vast, filled with stimulating art and architecture throughout the campus. During our time at Facebook, we met Illinois alumni and learned about features that Facebook was currently working on. After Facebook, we made our way to Optimizely, a software startup business. At Optimizely, we took a tour of their very modern and industrial office. We even got to play ping-pong and pool in the company’s game room! Our visit concluded with a lecture from one of the company’s founders, Pete Koomen. Our final stop was at Womply, an analytics startup, in Redwood City. Our visit entailed of a tour of the facility and lecture from current Womply employees.
Overall, the San Francisco trip was a unique experience. It was exciting to be able to visit such a wide variety of companies, both startups and giants, in Silicon Valley. It was remarkable to learn different company cultures firsthand after touring their campuses and meeting with current employees (and some of their founders)!
In addition to the company tours, there was still plenty of available time to explore San Francisco. During our visit, over twenty of us took a winery tour in Sonoma Napa Valley. In addition, we took a boat to Alcatraz Island and took a tour of the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary! Throughout the week, we also made sure to tour the many ports surrounding the coast of San Francisco, enjoy the nightlife, and eat plenty of the fresh seafood offered!