Happy spring, and hope everyone is safe and doing well. God bless Boston! I wanted to take some time to share information on a cool experience that is available to Boston College graduate business students. I took some time to talk with Steve Pipp, MSF '13 about the famous TechTrek experience here. He went on the TechTrek in NYC, but there is also another one in California that takes place earlier in the year. He provided some really great information, and it definitely sounds like a program you do not want to miss out on:
Could you please give us a background about what the TechTrek in NYC involved?
TechTrek NYC is a selective program that takes ~20 graduate and undergraduate students on a day trip down to New York City to meet with startups. On our trip, we visited Tumblr, Google, Rent the Runway, Fresh Direct, and Etsy - all big players in the world of tech startups! We met with BC alumni at each company through Professor Gallaugher's connections. In many cases, those alums connected us with other employees in the company. For example, the CEO of Etsy took an hour out of his day to speak with us about the challenges and goals of their company - and enjoy some pizza!
Was there any preparation involved?
All the prep work was done on an individual basis, but a wiki full of information was provided for us. Definitely one of those "you get out what you put in" experiences. I did most of my prep work on recent rounds of funding and revenue streams, as I'm a finance guy at heart.
Which programs in Carroll were involved? (MBAs, MSFs, MSAs?)
The program is open to all CGSOM and CSOM students, and we even had some A&S students on the trip. This diversity showed during conversations as we were delving into these companies.
What kind of networking opportunities did you have through this experience?
I was actually surprised at how receptive all of these companies were to us as students. Many of the alums provided us with contact information and I've connected with a few of them via LinkedIn. It was also great to be with other BC students who are passionate about startups. Sometimes those can be the best connections to make on a trip like this!
What was your favorite part of the whole experience?
My favorite part was visiting the Google NYC headquarters. They own one of the largest buildings in all of NYC and you could walk for days just looking at the exhibits and artwork in their facility. They have committed to being an innovation-driven culture and it permeates through every aspect of their workspace. It goes to show the lengths that Google will go to attract and retain the best talent in the world. Unfortunately, it was the only facility that didn't allow photography as there were so many yet-unseen projects underway - but maybe that added to the mystique!
Are you involved with the Tech Club at BC and how did that influence your experience?
I am involved in the BC Grad Tech Club, and their weekly email is how I found out about this and many other trips. There are Boston TechTreks nearly every week to startups and venture capital firms closer to home here in Boston. Those were great preparation for this trip since a lot of these startups face similar challenges. I would encourage any incoming students to get on as many mailing lists as they're interested in. You never know what opportunities they may have to offer!
Why would you recommend this experience to people thinking of doing TechTrek?
I would highly recommend this experience to anyone interested in entrepreneurship or innovation. These trips go light-years beyond a case study. TechTrek NYC is a great way to immerse yourself in several startups and get a feel for the excitement and difficulties of working for or starting a new venture. If you enjoy the Boston TechTreks, this takes it to the next level. A TechTrek West is also offered, where students take a week-long trip to Seattle and Silicon Valley, so any interest level can be accommodated.
Thanks a lot Steve! Hope this provided a good background and synopsis into the whole TechTrek experience! It definitely sounds like something that anyone can get involved in no matter what their background or interests are. The technical companies are on the rise, so it can't hurt to really get into the industry no matter what functions you perform. This is another great example of how great the Boston College alumni are. They really are everywhere.
Again, special thanks to Steve Pipp. Until next time -