In this post, my aim is to provide a sample of day-to-day life as a UC San Diego Rady MBA student on Rady’s annual Bay Area Career Trek. But first, a little background information: I am currently a second year, full-time Rady MBA Student (‘15) and an Admissions Ambassador with experience in software engineering and business intelligence. My summer MBA internship was with Sony PlayStation’s Strategic Business Development Team, working with virtual reality. As part of last year’s Bay Area Trek, I enjoyed exploring companies in numerous spaces, from Finance to Consumer Electronics and Technology, including Sony PlayStation.
The annual Bay Area Trek is not only a key element of Rady’s MBA experience for those interested in working or interning in the Silicon Valley, but also an opportunity to learn about a vast array of career opportunities and industry trends at large corporations and startups. Arranged by the Rady Careers Department, the Bay Area Trek includes visits anywhere from Google and Charles Schwab to Andreesen Horowitz and NetApp.
Trek Preparation – Rady Careers Department
The Trek begins long before the two to four day trip to the San Francisco Bay Area. Weeks and days prior, second and first year MBA students learn about the companies, career options, and current industry trends through on and off-campus events. For those who deviate from the planned visits, the Rady Trek is a great time to catch up with old coworkers or potential leads in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Trek Day 0 – Lab to Market
My last class of the day is Lab to Market, an entrepreneurial class focused on building a startup company and a business plan from the ground up. One of my favorite courses, Lab-to-Market hosts many notable guest speakers, most recently Founder of ecoATM Mark Bowles. When class finishes, I head home to collect my luggage and take the shuttle to the sunny San Diego Airport. Once there, I meet a number of fellow MBA’s and Master of Finance students to fly to SFO.
Trek Day 1
At 9am I leave the Peninsula and travel to Pandora’s Oakland Headquarters. There, I am met by fellow classmates and Pandora’s head recruiter who leads the tour and informational session. Fellow MBA students join the visit from Silicon Valley Bank, HP, and Gilead. The tour begins and we are led through the well-designed, colorful, open office space that is reminiscent of a large startup. The host answers our questions about Pandora’s intriguing listener-oriented strategy in Internet Radio, the Music Genome Project, market growth and open career roles. Next for the day’s adventures include visits to leader in 3D Printing’s revolution, 3D Systems, as well as Bloomberg Institute and Electronic Arts.
3D Systems, San Francisco
My next visit is to 3D Systems’ location in the heart of San Francisco. A difference from Pandora’s lobby entrance, we walk through 3D Systems’ smaller residential office space nestled in San Francisco’s SoMa district. Across the office there is an abundance of 3D printed products – from chess pieces and candy to medical devices – that have all been previously displayed at CES. Our timely visit gives us a great opportunity to ask questions about their newly announced partnership with Hershey’s, and learn more about the future of 3D printing. At the end of the visit I am amazed at the vast array of applications for 3D printing that provide great clarity to future business applications of the technology.
LinkedIn, San Francisco
Following my interest in a career in Technology, I head over to a coffee chat with a contact at LinkedIn’s San Francisco location. Not having seen him since a Rady Alumni event and my last company visit, I am able to catch up with him and learn more about his experience at LinkedIn.
Rady Alumni Reception, San Mateo
From there, I take a BART train down to the Millbrae Peninsula and join the Rady Alumni Reception Dinner. I am greeted by a large Alumni turnout and Rady’s Dean, Robert Sullivan. The Rady Alumni Dinner proves to be a great chance to spark conversations with the always-active Rady Alumni, including directors with whom I had consulted for on class projects, recent graduates at dream companies and, of course, fellow classmates.
Trek Day 2
On Day 1 of the Trek I was primarily in the North Bay, for Day 2 I planned mostly South Bay visits in Sunnyvale and Mountain View. The first stop of the day is arranged by the Rady’s Career Services. At LinkedIn’s newer Sunnyvale location, we are greeted by LinkedIn’s VP of Global Sales Operations, a UCSD alumnus. The visit includes discussions with recruiters and current employees, a visit to the smoothie bar and a stop at the open air cafeteria with stunning views of Sunnyvale.
Google HQ & LinkedIn Interview, Mountain View
I head to an informational chat with a Rady alumnus at Google, a great testament to Rady’s incredibly active alumni base. After a tour of the Google campus and delicious juice bar as well as a great career discussion, I was off to LinkedIn’s Mountain View campus to chat with a hiring manager regarding their Analytics Team.
Catching Up with PlayStation, San Francisco
Following the interview, I grabbed coffee with an old coworker from PlayStation and a fellow full-time MBA student, curious to learn more about the current gaming industry. Overall, it had been an incredibly productive trip and it was time to relax with some MBA’s and local friends.
The trip was a success and I walked away with insights that could only be gained from the face-to-face experience on company campuses. One of my favorite aspects of the Rady MBA experience has been the Trek. It continually proves a great resource to catalyze meetings with business leaders, discuss classroom concepts and set careers in motion for Rady MBA students.
The Bay Area Trek is a highly anticipated annual event and part of Rady’s top ranked MBA program. Want to learn more about Rady’s MBA experience? Download our eBook featuring student and alumni insights on why they chose Rady, where Rady alumni work, the top benefit for Rady students and more.