My fall break in Silicon Valley

First-year Tepper MBA’s have the option to go on nationwide recruiting treks during the fall break between mini 1 and 2. Learn about the Business & Technology Club’s fall trek to Silicon Valley.

My first mini at Tepper felt like a whirlwind. One of my challenges at the start of business school was learning to balance classes, networking and recruiting, and socializing with my new classmates. Throw on top of that acclimating to a new city with a new climate (hello humidity!), and you have a recipe for a hectic few months. Fortunately, I was able to recharge and re-focus myself on a recruiting trek over fall break.

In between mini 1 and mini 2, several of Tepper’s professional clubs host nationwide recruiting treks. I was fortunate to be able to attend the Business & Technology (B&T) Club’s fall trek to Silicon Valley.

Why the B&T Tech Trek?

I chose to go on this trek for several reasons. First, I decided to come to Tepper because the school lives at the intersection between business and technology. Yes – Carnegie Mellon has the top-ranked computer science program. And the top-ranked analytics program. And a brand new Quad that brings all these programs together. Tepper also has deep ties with the technology industry on the west coast. I care deeply about the business of technology, and the Bay Area is an area I’d love to continue my career at post-MBA.

Additionally, as a long-time west coast resident, I was homesick for the west coast. The B&T tech trek came at the perfect time for me to recharge my batteries.

Finally, I was excited to meet Tepper alums from iconic tech companies. We have some incredible alums working at companies like Google, Salesforce, Facebook, and Tesla. I feel fortunate to have this network of alumni so willing to assist others and help new Tepper students learn about the tech industry.

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Simulation at Autodesk technology center

What did I learn?

Coming into the trek, I expected that I was going to meet some fascinating people, learn about cool companies, and soak up some California sunshine. All of those things happened. But here are some other takeaways from my time on the B&T tech trek.

Silicon Valley is more than Google, Facebook, and Apple:

This may seem obvious, but Silicon Valley is more significant than a few iconic tech brands. There are amazing organizations in Silicon Valley tackling interesting problems that fly under the radar of many business people. The B&T trek reinforced for me the vast array of opportunities in tech for an analytically minded MBA. I’m planning on applying to some big tech firms, but I also found some lesser well-known companies that I’m actively networking with as well.

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Saying hello with a friendly bear at Salesforce

Tepper’s Bay Area alumni network is strong

We hosted two dedicated events for alumni in the area – a happy hour in San Francisco and a fireside chat with Dean Dammon at VMWare in Palo Alto. Both events were well attended, and just scratched the surface of our alumni presence in the area. I loved connecting with alumni at various career stages, and I made some strong connections I’ll carry with me back to Pittsburgh.

Rent a big house and stay with friends

It’s natural to feel a little hesitant about traveling with a bunch of your classmates for the first time. It’s absolutely worth it though. I only knew a few of the classmates I stayed with well before the trek. But now, we’re jokingly (or not so jokingly) talking about getting a big house together if we intern in Silicon Valley over the summer. Whether that happens or not, the B&T trek was an incredible bonding experience with my classmates.

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Now that I’m back into the swing of things at Tepper, I feel a renewed focus post-tech trek. Recruiting and networking is an essential aspect of your MBA journey – I strongly suggest checking out the B&T tech trek in the coming years!

David Baars | MBA 2020

Director of Product Marketing at PipelineDeals Inc.
David is a 2020 MBA candidate at the Tepper School of Business seeking a product management position in tech. Before business school, David led the marketing team at a B2B software startup in Seattle, WA and he was a Teach For America corps member in Colorado. Outside of work, David is an avid runner, cyclist, hiker, and camper. He is an active fundraiser and bike-rider for AIDS/LifeCycle, a 545-mile bike ride from SF to LA that supports the SF AIDS Foundation and the LA LGBT Center. His AIDS/LifeCycle team is the Pork Peddlers — united by bacon to end AIDS. He’s a little too obsessed with his tuxedo cat Figaro.

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