Silicon Valley Tour – Day 2

Day 2 of the tour included visits at both Autodesk and Cisco. Alum Rob Fjerstad toured the group through the 2nd floor gallery in Autodesk’s downtown San Francisco office and led a discussion with recruiting and engineering representatives. Cisco’s new acquisition, Meraki, was next on the stop. Support, and technical reps led the group through their brand new offices and open work areas on the waterfront and answered technical questions from the group. Students’ impressions below.

I woke up on Monday morning around 7:15, before my alarm even had a chance to go off, ready for the day. I got up, got ready for the day, and had a small breakfast before heading to the hotel lobby to meet up with the group at 9 o’clock. Once everyone was there we started walking towards the AutoDesk office. We were quite a bit early for our 10 o’clock meeting so we took a jaunt to the nearby Starbucks to kill some time. The meeting with AutoDesk started with a tour of their gallery which showcased some of the amazing work that their products play an essential role in. The gallery was pretty cool, containing a variety of things from watches, bridges, and buildings to animated movies, the giant Lego sculptures, and 3D printing prototypes. After the gallery tour they had a short presentation about the company and their available positions before opening up for some Q&A. The group had a wide variety of questions that provided some interesting insight into the companies values and work culture. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see any of their work space but from everything that we did see and hear about the company it seems like a great place to work. We had a nice break before we had to be at Cisco so we were able to head down towards the bay and grab some lunch at the markets by the piers. A few of us found a nice little shop where I decided to grab a chilly dog. Little did I know they didn’t mess around when it came to their chilly dogs and it came fully loaded to the point where there was no way I could eat it without a knife and fork. We got to enjoy our lunch outside along with some great weather and an amazing view of the Bay Bridge. After finishing up our lunch we headed back to meet up with the group and start our long walk to Cisco. While it was kind of a journey I didn’t mind the walk as I enjoyed getting to talk with some of the group members and enjoy the view of both the city and the bay. The Cisco meeting started off with a tour of their building which seemed like an absolutely wonderful place to work. They pride themselves on giving their employees a large amount of luxuries at work to make it feel like their “second home”. They have done a pretty good job at it too as they have lots of lounge style seating along with a plethora of healthy snacks for the employees to enjoy while they are at work. There was no question that Cisco values their employees and wants to keep them happy. After walking through the office space for a bit we had a chance to sit down and talk with a few of the employees about what they like about their jobs at Cisco, the available positions, and their hiring process. When were done meeting with Cisco a bunch of the group didn’t feel up making the long walk back to the hotel so they opted to use the bus line but a few of us didn’t mind making the walk. We took a different route back to the hotel to experience a little more of the city and continued to be in awe of how amazing we found the city. After everyone got back to the hotel we changed out of our business clothes and took a little time to just hang out and relax before heading out for some dinner. Some of us utilized this time to write a blog post for our first day, unfortunately I was experiencing some technical difficulties that caused me to push it off until after dinner. A few of us, including myself, really wanted to get some Indian food while we were in the city so we set out on a search for a reasonably priced Indian restaurant. We found a pretty nice place called New Delhi. It was some of the groups first time trying Indian food but I was happy to hear they really enjoyed it as Indian is one of my favorite cuisines. The group decided they needed some desert so we headed across the street to grab some Cold Stone and then wandered around the downtown area a little more. We have a pretty early morning tomorrow, meeting at 7am to check out of the hotel, so we figured we should call it an early night and head back to the hotel, hang out some more while I casually wrote my blog post. That brings us to now as I’m finishing around 1am. Now I think I need to go pack up my stuff so I am ready to check out in the morning and head to bed. I’m really excited for the Alcatraz tour and wine tasting tomorrow before we head down to San Jose and I expect it will be another fun filled day.

Kevin Coleman – Computer Engineering, Fifth Year

I woke up today with sore feet and tired legs, but pumped to go tour our first round of companies. After a quick breakfast of Wallgreens cottage cheese and coffee from Starbucks, we headed off to Autodesk. We all decided that the city transportation would break the bank, so we walked the mile or so to the building. I must say I was completely blown away by the office space. The Autodesk gallery was ultramodern and offered up spectacular views of the bay area. Our tour guide was MTU alum Rob Fjerstad. He lead us through a multi display exhibit of all the types of companies that use Autodesk software, and how they use it. He then gave a great presentation on what Autodesk is all about, and what they have to offer collage graduates. We all asked some great questions, and even shared a few laughs about the Houghton weather. After a quick good buy we walked some more…surprise surprise..to a spot to grab lunch. We ate at a flee mall type tourist attraction, and I got a pretty solid pulled pork sandwich and fries from The Meat Company. Most of us went outside to enjoy the sun and low 70s temps, while eating the in shadow of the gorgeous Bay Bridge and surrounding waterfront. We reconvened as a group and set off on foot to Cisco for the next tour. About 3 miles later most of us realized that 2 dollars to ride the city bus was a bargain. It was however great to see so many awesome views of the bay. Cisco was on the 4th floor of a very new building, and had some serious thought put into interior decoration. The front desk alone was a work of art. Once past a pair of large glass doors we meet our tour guide in one of the coolest lobbies Ive ever seen. She then showed us around the office space and it was aboslutely mind-blowing. This place had the most fun looking layout imaginable. Were talking like toys on desks, free catered lunch/snacks, and Nerf gun office wars! Everyone we talked to was smiling and so genuinely happy with their job that the feeling was contagious. These people loved were they worked, and actual thought of it as a second home. Needles to say it left me with a very good impression, and a new outlook on what it means to really like what you do. We talked with a few employes and they had nothing but good things to say about living and working and Silicon Valley. As we left Cisco most of the group was fed up with waling, and opted to take the trolly back to the hotel. However a few of us guys decided to hike it back to camp, and absorb some more of the California sun. We made it in about 30 hard earned minutes, and passed another 100 or so awesome attractions and shops. I got back to the room, and wrote the blog post for day 1. Then a few of us decided that Indian food was on the menu for dinner. We meandered around down town, and finally settled on the first place we found that was under 30 bucks a plate. I got some very spicy curry and delicious traditional bread, then we walked down the street to Coldstone for dessert. After that we made it back to the hotel and decided to retire early because the next morning starts before 7am…..

Nicholas Schweikart Mechanical Engineering, First Year

Starting our day off right with some Starbucks, we headed down to the pier to our first stop, Autodesk.  Autodesk really surprised me when I learned about the projects that their software was a part of.  They work with different movies, health care products, architecture, art, legos, and much more.  We had gotten a tour of their gallery that is open to the public on Wednesdays and Fridays.  Heading into the conference room, we had stopped to get some refreshments when one of my class mates broke the faucet in their kitchen! Makes for an interesting first impression, good thing we have students that know how to fix these types of problems.  We talked about openings in their company and some of the projects Autodesk is working on at the moment.  Lunch time had finally come, the group walked down to the pier to get some grub before heading down to Cisco.  Ordering an over priced hamburger was on the menu for lunch today.  Even though the price was a bit steep, it was a spectacular hamburger with an exquisite view of the Bay View Bridge.   The sun was out, the pier was filled with people, and our talk about our experiences made our lunch very relaxing.  Cisco was the second company on our list to visit.  We ended up walking around 2.5 miles from the pier to the local headquarters.  For future reference, do not walk that distance in heels.  Take it from someone who knows what it feels like. Cisco was a very young and modern company.  Their working space was wide open with no cubicles.  They have lunch catered to them everyday with activities to entertain themselves after their lunch.  Cisco was a more informal tour that many of the students enjoyed and thought they could see themselves working there.  The day finished off with a small group of us walking around down town to find some authentic Indian cuisine.  The meal was everything we had hoped for and more.  The restaurant allowed us to take a tour of their kitchen and show us how they prepared their homemade nan bread.  We calmed our sweet tooth with a cup of Coldstones ice cream and walked around the shops in town.  Overall the day was successful and eye opening.  I thank the companies for opening their doors to us and inviting us in to learn more about them.  Tomorrow should be a fun day starting off with Alcatraz taking us to Napa Valley and ending in San Jose.  Can’t wait to see what is in store for us tomorrow!

Kirsten Dulbandzhyan Mktg & Mngmt, Third Year