While many college students spent their spring break on sandy beaches, Michigan Tech students escaped 130 inches of snow (a mild winter) to tour high-tech companies in Silicon Valley.
Thanks to Brocade, which sponsored the trip, the Michigan Tech students immersed themselves in all things tech as they toured several leading companies. A Michigan Tech alumnus, Dave House, is on the board of directors at Brocade. The students arrived Monday and began with a tour of Kyocera and Autodesk.
“The trip has been eye-opening for the types of industries that are really booming,” said Kelsey Waugh, a materials science and engineering major. “It’s giving us a picture of where corporate America is heading.
Eli Karttunen, an economics major, agreed. “We saw a diverse array of successful companies with different management styles. It showed us what is possible for our future career opportunities.”
Cisco Systems and Plug and Play were toured before a meeting with another alum, Danielle VanDyke ’06 at Google and a visit to Brocade in San Jose, finishing the high-tech portion of their whirlwind tour.
“Seeing the different atmospheres and productivity showed me what companies do to support creative, productive engineers and employees in their working environment,” said electrical engineering major Josh Lehman. “This trip gave us the opportunity to see and network with west coast companies.
As the trip’s exclusive sponsor, Brocade wrapped up the students’ week-long Silicon Valley Spring Break Experience with an executive panel discussion, data center tour, and hosted a networking social where students were able to interact with Brocade employees, including reps from human resources, some with immediate opportunities for these top students.
The students also toured the Computer History Museum in Mountain View before flying back to the snow banks of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on a redeye at midnight Friday, to continue preparing to make a little high-tech history of their own some day.
Their California adventure wasn’t all tech-related—another Michigan Tech alumnus, Tom Porter, arranged a tour of his Porter Creek Vineyard led by his son, Tim, in the Napa Valley, Cal. area. The 17,000 square foot underground wine cave is unusually sophisticated with an environment completely controllable by iPad. Tim Porter toured the students through the technological complex and hosted a social gathering in the cave itself.
The late Michigan Tech School of Business and Economics Professor Bob Mark started the Silicon Valley trip last year. The 2012 trip was organized by the School of Business and Economics and the Office of Innovation and Industry Engagement. View more photos from the trip on Facebook.