I’ve always been curious about the West Coast, especially San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Growing up in India and then working in the oil & gas industry in Latin America and Texas, I didn’t have much opportunity (or reason) to visit the Bay Area.
Now that I’m an MBA student at MIT Sloan, I want to explore the tech sector as a possible career path. So when I heard about the annual “Tech Trek” to San Francisco and Silicon Valley, I jumped at the chance. Not only could I finally check out the West Coast, I also could check out tech companies – including several that don’t recruit on the MIT campus – and see if they might be a good fit for me.
Throughout the week, our group of 30 MBA students visited a mix of large and mid-sized companies in the hardware, software, and consulting areas. While they were all quite different, a common theme seemed to be an appreciation for being “scrappy.” In reality, some companies were scrappier than others, but it’s interesting that most tech companies embrace the concept of “all hands on deck” these days, especially since many have incredibly high valuations and in theory could afford an army of people in different functions.
It’s easy to catch the technology bug. After all, tech companies are pretty much everywhere. I became hooked when I worked as an IT consultant at Accenture after college, and plan to work at a technology company after I finish my MBA. So when I had the opportunity to participate in a Technology Trek at MIT, I jumped at the chance of visiting some of the leading market players recognized globally for their entrepreneurial and technological innovation.
I was very curious about what it’s like to work at a larger technology company, especially big ones with more resources like Facebook and Google. What is their culture really like? What kind of impact can a recent MBA graduate make? During our Technology Trek last week with 27 other MIT Sloan MBA students, I was able to get some answers.
First up was Google’s Mountain View campus. I had never seen it before, and was taken by the size of campus, the people I met, and the general atmosphere. In addition to the famous Google bikes that employees use to get around, we also saw the Wellness Center complete with nap rooms, yoga studios, and a juice bar. During our tour, we learned that Google is opening new offices just a few miles away. It’s pretty big now, but soon it will double in size!
I’d heard a lot about Silicon Valley, but had lived and worked in Europe and Asia until I came to MIT Sloan School of Management. Passionate about bringing new technologies to market, I wanted to do an MBA program in the U.S. because, more than anywhere else, this is where taking risk is valued as a driver of change. That seems to be especially true in Silicon Valley, and I was eager to see it for myself.
Organizing our Technology Club’s annual Tech Trek to Silicon Valley, I planned visits to a mixture of hardware and software companies. I also requested that we meet with people from different functions, including product management, which is an area many MIT Sloan students are interested in these days.
The media spotlight has recently been on Apple Inc. AAPL +0.52% for shifting profits overseas to avoid U.S. taxes. In its international tax strategy, though, Apple is no different from other American technology companies, which (like Apple) began moving manufacturing overseas starting in the early 1980s.
Initially, U.S. technology firms that went abroad during this period were drawn by the lower labor, sourcing, and procurement costs. They also found they could eliminate exchange-rate risk by producing and selling in the same currency.
But these companies soon discovered another important advantage of being global: favorable taxation.
There is a lot of buzz lately about entrepreneurship hotspots across the country. We hear about successful startups in many places, from Austin, Tex., to Reston, Va. What does this mean for entrepreneurs? If you’re launching a startup, does it really matter where you locate?
Yes, it does matter. If you’re starting out, it’s by far best to be in either Silicon Valley or the Boston area. They remain the hottest centers of entrepreneurship and venture capital, so you’ll be in an inherently supportive ecosystem where entrepreneurship is as natural as drinking water. Read More »