As a first-year full-time MBA Student at Rady, I was excited to go on the Bay Area Trek this past January. San Francisco is the city with the second-biggest population of Rady Alumni living there, and I was excited to visit new companies and make a fun trip out of it.
Rady Career Services organized company visits from the financial, tech, biotech and healthcare industries, and had us rank our favorite options as we prepared for the trek. Some examples of company visits include Flex, Splunk, Paypal, Google, Kaiser, Thermo-Fisher, and many others. I was most interested in visiting Kaiser because of my background in the healthcare industry; I also thought it would be fun to visit OpenTable and Facebook so I could see what these customer-facing tech companies were like.
I was excited to visit San Francisco. I stayed in a hotel in Lower Knob Hill with two of my girlfriends from Rady. It was fun to bond with them and make a girls’ trip out of the trek. We especially enjoyed trying out different coffee shops throughout the city, and exploring new neighborhoods.
My first company visit was Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, CA. This was a short BART ride from our hotel, and one of the Rady Career Advisors met us in the lobby to help coordinate the visit with the Kaiser personnel. Kaiser gave us a really nice welcome, and provided an in-depth presentation on its structure, vision, and opportunities for graduate internships and post-MBA full-time positions and rotational programs. After the presentation, we had time to talk with the recruiters and a representative from the Business Development division. They were all extremely generous with their time, offering us their contact information and encouraging us all to keep in touch.
After our Kaiser meeting, I was able to have an impromptu visit Pandora Radio through another Rady student’s personal connection with the company. Pandora was a really cool company to visit: it had that quintessential San Francisco tech company feel with open spaces encouraging collaboration and innovation, along with lots of nooks and crannies for someone to hideaway and get work done when on a deadline.
On Friday morning, I visited OpenTable which has a great location in the heart of downtown San Francisco. I was able to walk a short 15 minutes from our hotel to get there. I had used OpenTable’s restaurant program during my time working in the restaurant industry while in college in Boston, and was excited to see what the company was like. We met with Scott Lavelle, Marketing Director, and Rady Alumni 2009. He gave us a tour of the company, and talked about its vision, and latest efforts to form new strategic partnerships to support the company as it attempts to scale across the globe.
At our visit to Facebook on Friday afternoon, we got to meet with representatives from their supply chain department. They were extremely welcoming of us, giving us lots of facebook swag, and offered plenty of time for questions. Afterwards, we had an awesome tour of their campus. It’s huge! They have awesome amenities for their employees: an arcade, restaurants and bars, and even a sweet shop with ice cream and other dessert options—which we got to enjoy! It was interesting to see such a big company campus-it almost felt like a mini-city created just for its employees.
Another great aspect of the trek was the Rady Alumni mixer at the Boudin Bakery Museum in Fisherman’s Wharf. This was a great opportunity to connect with local Rady alumni in the Bay Area. I had a great time meeting them and hearing about their post-Rady journeys. It was inspiring to see our alumni out in the world doing great things with their education. Everyone I met was so generous—offering to make an introduction or provide general career advice. We even ended up going to In-N-Out with a few for a quick dinner after the mixer!
All in all, the Rady Bay Area Trek was a great experience for me. I got to make some new contacts at some prestigious companies in San Francisco and see firsthand what they’re like inside. But even more importantly, it was a great chance to bond more with my fellow students and form new friendships with Rady Alumni.
Lauren Murphy is a first-year Full-Time MBA student at the Rady School of Management. She has a background in the healthcare industry, and wants to transition to a career in the healthcare and tech space in business strategy, operations, and business development after obtaining her MBA.