Tech Trek Revisited

How time flies! It is the holiday season again. Wondering why last winter in Chicago did not bother me much, I realized that it was this time last year 50 of us embarked an amazing trip to Seattle and the Bay Area – the Booth Tech Trek.

Booth Tech Trek is a student led trip that helps Boothies who are interested in a career in technology explore top tech companies in Seattle and the Bay Area, and to connect with alumni and each other. One of our beloved trek leaders, Vivian, did a great post at the beginning of the year from a trek leader perspective. After going through the summer internship and recruiting, I think it would be interesting to revisit the experience as a participant again and share with you why more and more people are thinking of Booth as an entrepreneurial and tech school.

The most important benefit is to get a “feeling” of the firms. Last year, we went to 15 companies including well known ones such as Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft. Others I had little knowledge about but were equally exciting, such as Medallia and Zillow.

For the former category,  most people have read about them on the Internet and news, and probably had formed sort of opinion of what the place was like. Talking to Booth alumni from these companies and wandering around on the campus can help distill the opinions to something a lot more concrete – the answer to the question: How would it feel if I work here?

For the later, I think the visits really brought new perspectives about these amazing companies and the exciting work they are doing. I still vividly remember our group of Boothies could not help taking photos of the breathtaking view in Zillow’s office, and lamented the fact that we did not come up with the amazing idea that Medallia is built on.

In addition,  for firms like Uber and Paypal, which always have a scent of mystery, the trip is even more eye-opening. The reason I found having this “feeling” is really important is that it not only makes you a unique candidate during interviews, but also helps us make better decisions in the long-term when thinking beyond our first job out of business school. The same reason drove me to fly across the Pacific Ocean and visit most of the top business schools in the US before my MBA applications. Never buy a home without going to an open house.

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