Note to Future Self: Access Weekends – DC and San Jose

Dear Future Self,

I wanted to recap the experience of attending classes in unique environments, namely DC and San Jose.  You arrive to a previously unknown place and are subsequently surrounded by all the familiar faces that you’ve come to know over the past few months.  Your cohort and you have bonded in a way that only students cramming for Professor Gérard Cornuéjols’ statistics final ever could.  And there you are, in a conference room inside the US Government’s “Hall of the States” building, or at the Westin in downtown San Jose, a short jog from Adobe’s HQ.  Surrounded by both familiarity, and unfamiliarity.  The unfamiliar has become the new normal.

And there it is – part of the MBA, in addition to the hard skills – is learning how to adapt quickly and feel comfortable in unfamiliar situations.


Now, to recap on DC: Amazing!  After finishing that statistics final, we stopped by NASA’s admin Headquarters to hear fellow MBA and excellent public speaker Phil McAlister talk about current programs, applicability of the MBA skill set to all industries (yes, aerospace).  No trip to DC would be complete without a panel of Tepper grads talking of their current endeavors.  It should come as no surprise given the location that much of their work was focused on government contracting and foundation work.  To top it off, a plethora of us participated in a city-wide scavenger hunt.

Wrapping up DC, we met our professors for the following “mini”, attended class, and managed to find a hole-in-the-wall local pub that could accommodate the entire cohort.

San Jose

As amazing as DC was, the techie within marvels at the experience that was San Jose.  Since there was so much, I’ll outline the items here

Wed Private tour of Google with Tepper and undergrad classmate
Thurs Tepper Napa Valley Wine Trip
Fri Tepper Visit to Cisco HQ, Google HQ, free lunches do exist!
Sat Class, Panel discussion with [Fortune 5 C-Suite Exec*], Festivities
Sun Class, dinner with [celebrity*]
*wishes to remain anonymous

Cisco and Google both provided and amazing look at what life is like inside of the Tech Giants.  Further, they show the innovation that can be accomplished when companies strongly value their educated and experienced personnel.  After all, Steve Jobs once said that companies hire experienced staff not to tell them what to do, but so the employees can dictate the company’s direction [paraphrased].

Can’t wait for the next DC and San Jose access weekends!

This is an ongoing series to remind my future self of the foundational and formational experiences of working full-time and attending an intense, collaborative, Part-Time Online Hybrid MBA program at Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business.  Photos courtesy of the Pixel.
Matt Moschel | MBA 2021
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