Last month (Jan. 10-15), a group of 20 CMC students participated in the 11th Annual Evans Information Technology Advisory Board (ITAB) Networking Trip to Silicon Valley. It was a chance for the CMCers to “grin and grab” with some of the tech industry’s elite movers and shakers and, at the same time, make connections that could really pay dividends in the future.
And they made the most of the opportunity.
The trip, which is open to students at all grade levels, is named for CMC alumnus and Trustee Bart Evans ‘70 who was instrumental in developing the annual pilgrimage to Silicon Valley.
The stated purpose of the Silicon Valley Networking Trip is to provide CMC students with an opportunity to establish relationships with CMC alumni working in the Silicon Valley, while gaining exposure to various job opportunities in technology. The goal is for these relationships to evolve into summer internship and full-time job opportunities for CMC students in the Silicon Valley.
“The visits give students a first-hand look inside organizations that they know about and allow them to learn about new companies and roles,” says Michelle Chamberlain, Interim Executive Director of the Robert Day School who accompanied the students on the trip. “Through networking with alumni and parents, many internship and full-time discussions also take place. All in all, the students visited 14 different companies and attended many evening events in a packed schedule.”
According to Chamberlain, when selecting students for the trip which is scheduled to occur during CMC’s winter break, the ITAB looks for demonstrated interest in tech, reasons for wanting to make the trip as well as academic and on-campus performance/activities.
“I'm a Science and Management major with a sequence in Biotechnology so I thought it was fitting for me to go on this trip and actually explore the world of tech and potentially what it has to offer for me,” says Dina Aluzri ’17. “I have always been pre-med in school, but I wanted a job before actually applying to medical school and I didn't want to do consulting and I didn't have the necessary background for investment banking. Tech was the perfect avenue for me, especially something within biotechnology and this trip was the perfect opportunity for me to explore the home of tech.”
Tim Plummer ’17, a Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) major at CMC, says he knew “next to nothing” about what actually happened in Silicon Valley.
“I had only a basic idea of what the work culture was like, and I had no idea what companies actually do in most cases,” he says. “Since we visited a variety of different companies, big, small and everything in between, it was invaluable in building an understanding of Silicon Valley. One of those aspects is naturally what a liberal arts major can do in the region. Turns out there's a lot!”
According to Plummer, the networking trip provides an ability for CMC students to be exposed to areas outside their norm. “CMC is incredibly adept at sending its students to work in services (e.g. finance, government, consulting, etc.), but not as strong when it comes to sending students that actively produce new goods,” he says. “By exposing students to a completely new area, the ITAB trip is unique even amongst the other networking trips.”
For Aluzri, a contact at CloudFare has led to an internship this summer. “But, with all the other contacts I received, I know I will be able to establish friendships and partnerships that will create success for all parties in the future,” she says. “It's good to know people especially in an area that is truly becoming the new face of the world.”