Ten Companies in Three Days: MIT Sloan’s Tech Trek Gives Students an Insider’s View of Silicon Valley
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we’d catch a glimpse of Mark Zuckerberg during the visit, but no such luck.
That afternoon, we visited Apple’s beautifully manicured campus. It was the corporate campus version of an Apple product: beautifully minimalist and pleasant. In comparison to Facebook, where everyone appeared to be right out of college, the employees at Apple seemed more like mid-career professionals. And they all seemed to live and breathe Apple products, expressing great commitment to the company. Like Intel, it seemed more like a traditional company.
We began our final day at Intuit. I hadn’t realized how much of people’s finances run through Intuit until our presentation, but the numbers were impressive. Since it was founded in the 1980s, it has grown well beyond a startup and feels more like a traditional company. In fact, the culture seemed quite similar to Intel.
We concluded our day at LinkedIn, which has an awesome music studio for employees, and eBay. We happened to visit LinkedIn on the day it reached its 200 millionth user so it was neat to see how excited everyone was by that milestone. It was also cool to see behind the scenes of a site that is known for its robust method of making money. It was clear that the employees are very confident in the company and its future.
The last stop was eBay, which has really turned around in the last few years and is doing interesting things in retail. I was very impressed by their vision of merging brick-and-mortar and e-commerce in ways that allow consumers and merchants to find each other better. Unlike other e-commerce websites, eBay sees its relationship with brick-and-mortars as a partnership rather than a competition, and that is shaping some of the exciting things they are doing in mobile.
Our three-day trek was a great introduction to technology firms in Silicon Valley and the Bay area. When else could I ever see 10 companies from the inside and get a sense of their innovation cultures? I’m still in my first year and have time to continue exploring options, but this trek confirmed my goal of pursuing a career in this industry.