Last spring, my internship search led to three offers: a finance associate role in the Northeast; a corporate strategy role in the Midwest; and a product management role in the West. I weighed my options in regards to location, potential career trajectory, and company culture. After a difficult decision, I landed in Silicon Valley. It wasn’t so much the role itself, but the vast opportunities for spontaneous networking and immersing into cutting-edge technologies. Let me explain.
Silicon Valley is one of the few places where there are more jobs than people. Extending from Santa Clara to San Francisco, and up to Oakland, is a hotbed of the most thriving companies that exist today. Do you want to be an entrepreneur? Well, there are accelerators for every type of industry. Want to work for an early-stage startup? What about a maturing tech company, looking to shake things up through their innovation lab? Essentially, there is something for everyone here.
There are over 60 Boothies interning in the Bay Area this summer, and plenty more traveling here to visit clients, settle into their full-time roles, or simply vacation. While the majority of Bay Area internships are in the technology sector, quite a few of my classmates in Silicon Valley received venture capital and consulting roles.
Less than two days after classes ended, I settled into San Jose, a sprawling city of 1 million people best known as the last stop on the Caltrain transit system. It was sunny (every day, I kid you not) and littered with Lime scooters. It didn’t take long before I discovered Philz Coffee, a chain that offers customized coffee beverages, and vowed to grab a cup each day as I scooted to work. (Side note: they just opened a Philz Coffee in Hyde Park, a mere walk from Booth!)
I interned at Adobe, a company where fun never dies. As a product manager within the artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) division, I quickly learned how to be my own boss. I was expected to take ownership and exhibit responsibility in implementing a new business model and product roadmap. And while I received assistance from my colleagues, I was responsible for initiating external meetings on behalf of the enterprise. I was very grateful that LEAD, a requisite of First-Year Orientation, provided me with the tools to communicate effectively with a broad portfolio of stakeholders. One of our course modules, Cross-Cultural Communication, teaches Boothies to share their points-of-view, despite differences, in order to collaborate and execute on a shared vision.
When I wasn’t interning, I looked no further than the Booth network for all things social. My seven Bay Area GroupMe chats buzzed with endless events. There were meet-and-greets at Twilio, Facebook, and Slack. Day parties, which were mostly held on Sundays, were an opportunity to let loose prior to the work week. Car trips to Yosemite. Grill days over a beach bonfire. And cookouts to soak up the sun in perfect 75-degree weather. I visited Napa Valley last weekend and discovered just how beautiful the peaks and valleys are in Northern California. And as I enjoyed the view, overlooking olive trees in the distance, I realized how much I would miss it here.