A Reflection on an Incredible Experience

WARNING: This post may be a bit emotional. And it’s long. But I had so much that I wanted to write about so I did it. I hope that you’ll have the time to read:)

Image result for WOW

When I look back on the TechTrek West experience, the first word that comes to mind is WOW. What amazing people we met, what incredible connections we made with each other, and what inspiring lessons that we are all fortunate enough to take away. I don’t even know where to begin.

Personal Highlights

  • Our Exploration of San Francisco together
    • The first two days, we were lucky enough to do some exploring together. Shout out to Will and JB for showing all of us around – you guys were so valuable to this trip with your knowledge of the area, and willingness to present to us the different perspectives of your city!
29386308_420406988388843_7469608715188961280_o.jpg

Our trip to Coit Tower! Who could forget the wonderful but strange woman at the top.

  • Dinner with CJ Reim and Jesse Clayburgh
    • This was quite literally the best possible way to kick off the trip. CJ’s ambition to become a young venture capitalist and Jesse’s knowledge of the cryptocurrency markets, which you all know I am very interested in, was incredible to witness. Go CoinList! Too bad we didn’t get the chance to meet Matt’s look-alike, Andy Bromberg.
    • I loved Jesse’s point that the biggest challenge with cryptocurrency is to educate all on exactly what it is. I would bet that most people in our society don’t know the difference between cryptocurrency and blockchain (it’s a pretty sophisticated topic), and as we have learned, technology & new ideas come first and then the government has to decide how to regulate it – Airbnb is a great example of this. If cryptocurrency is to become mainstream on a wider scale, we have to teach the masses!
    • I also enjoyed watching people try the black bean treats…personally I felt like I was going to vomit just looking at them, so kudos to everyone who was brave enough to live on the wild side of life and give them a shot.

Jelly shit

  • Visit to True Ventures & Sequoia
    • Before this class, I did not know much about venture capitalism and VC firms. After Professor Doyle’s lecture on the VC industry, I had mixed feelings about the nature of this industry, with people describing VC firms as “vultures” and “greedy pigs”. However, visiting these 2 companies really got me thinking. A key lesson: VCs can have great intentions! These two companies look to invest in only good people with values and morals who are striving to change the world. They both emphasized being genuinely human throughout the process. As Pat Grady said, “we help the daring build legendary companies”.

Image result for venture capitalism

  • Dinner with Entrepreneurs
    • It’s crazy to think that this part of our experience could have been cancelled thanks to a gas leak at Nola! Huge thanks to Professor Doyle for making it happen at a different restaurant – I still am having food dreams about those churros!
    • This was easily my favorite part of the trip! Having the chance to get to know these incredible people in a more personal setting was so valuable. It was awesome to see that these people don’t just want to be our mentors or our teachers, but also our friends!
  • Visit to Ouster
    • To me, Ouster felt like the DEFINITION of Silicon Valley. Angus’s drive and motivation to build a company that he is passionate about from the ground up was inspiring to see! Ouster’s office didn’t even have working AC or heat – it felt like we were in a garage. But the office doesn’t matter to anyone at Ouster: what matters to them is building a world-changing product together, and embarking on a journey to success in making the world safer through improved self-driving cars!
    • The demonstration of the OS1 and how it works was something that I will never forget.
    • Also, who could ever forget about Katie Bailey flirting with Angus in a professional setting!

IMG1919705706

  • Walk through Stanford
    • Seeing Stanford’s beauty at night with some great company was awesome! I would love to get the chance to go to graduate school at Stanford: the school definitely has a beautiful campus! It felt like I was surrounded by Church-like palaces.

Image result for stanford at night

  • Visit to Google
    • I loved everything about this company visit.
    • Adrian’s talk on AR/VR developments at Google was incredible – he is one of the coolest and most intelligent people we met on our Trek in my opinion.
    • This was also my favorite alumni panel – all the Eagle alumni that participated are doing big things, and seemed really genuine. Sophie Miller’s answer to my 20% project question was inspiring! I got some awesome advice from this panel that I will take with me for the rest of my business career.
    • Google is a prime example of a company with a strong corporate culture with a clear meaningful mission and sincere values. Everyone (even the dining hall employees) was so nice and welcoming, yet creative and quirky in unique ways. I could definitely see myself thriving in this type of culture later on down the road.
  • Visit to Fanatics
    • Fanatics’s office was so cool – sports lovers heaven! I thought it was hysterical that employees were casually drinking beer and watching college basketball behind the CEO.
    • Doug Mack’s intelligence and experience leading companies was evident, and it was fantastic to have the opportunity to just ask him whatever we wanted! I loved how Mack described his organization as a team, and he explained his role to us as being the coach – setting the game plan, creating a collaborative working environment, and ensuring all plays were executed as efficiently as possible. He even made everyone watch Miracle the movie to get all his workers on the same page!

Image result for fanatics office

  • I loved being roasted at Apple about how horrible the Android experience is! Woohoo!
    • If we have to be honest, after this trip I became a much more proud non-Apple user
IMG_20180311_165650_239

And guess who has two thumbs and is getting a Google Pixel soon. This guy!

Key Takeaways and Lessons

  • Reading Can Be Fun! Who Knew!
    • I know this sounds nerdy, but to be in this class, I think that we can all agree that each one of us has a nerdy part to them. As Mother Paulos tells me, “Be a nerd, and be proud of it!”
    • Although our winter break assignment did not sound appetizing at first, I really enjoyed completing this assignment. I read “The Everything Store”, a piece of investigative journalism about Amazon’s rise to dominance. Not only did I fall in love with the corporate culture that Bezos passionately and thoughtfully created, but it also helped me prepare for my Amazon interviews! I think this was a huge advantage to have as a candidate – I’m so glad everything worked out!

Image result for the everything store

  • Twitter is a Powerful News Source
    • I never used Twitter extensively before this class…I was shocked to find out how much news was available on this social media platform. Following the feed helped me to become informed about all of the most important developments in technology! I will continue to tweet #BCSTT and follow sources like TechCrunch to keep up with what’s going on in the world of tech!
  • The BC Alumni Network is Stronger than you Think
    • We all know that CSOM’s recruiting efforts are centered and concentrated in Finance, Investment Banking, and Accounting. I knew IB was not for me, so it was really difficult for me to navigate the recruiting process to find internships that I was interested in.
    • I had always had the impression that the tech scene at BC was small, but my view completely changed after this trip. Now I KNOW for a fact that there are a bunch of Eagle alumni who moved out to the West to pursue tech, which was amazing to see! I also really enjoyed hearing personal stories about moving out West from the East from alumni who were in the same position that we are in now.

Image result for the power of network

  • The Corporate Culture of Technology Companies is VASTLY Different than Wall Street
    • Ping pong? A town that feels like Disneyland? Ball pits? Chess? Open style offices? Energy? Shirts and jeans to work? Being raised in New York, I would have never thought that businesses operate like what we saw on our trip. My Uncle works at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and he’s a total suit-and-tie guy who pushed me to join him on Wall Street after graduation. I loved the vibes of the corporate culture of technology companies out West, and much prefer it to the competitive, workaholic, high-pressure atmosphere of Manhattan.
    • I sensed positive energy, determination to make a difference in the world, teamwork, healthy work-life balance, and more that has me eager to try out this type of environment! No thanks, banking.

Image result for corporate culture

  • Learning Technology Applications to Business Isn’t Optional Anymore
    • It was incredible to hear so many times over and over again how important it is to have some type of technical background in business in our modern world. We were told multiple times to take a SQL class if possible! I’m currently in Databases right now, so I’m glad what I’m learning in class will be valuable later on. I asked Grace Martinez at Google how much she has used what she learned in her Information Systems classes, and she mentioned to me that she is the only one on her team who knows SQL and that this makes her an essential factor in her department. I’m excited to continue taking Information Systems classes and to grow my technical background as much as possible.

Image result for Oracle SQL logo

  • “Business is the greatest platform for change”
    • This was my favorite lesson of the trip, and it came from our first visit: Salesforce.
    • I have always searched for meaning in the work that I do, and this was a huge concern for me coming to business school. The stereotypes of greed and cut-throat attitudes almost deterred me from studying business as a whole.
    • However, technology companies seem to be very concerned with CSR and philanthropy – much more so than banks in my opinion. Salesforce is a prime example of this – Benioff heavily invests in society at large, and generously gives to better education in San Francisco. You could feel the dedication to service and philanthropy within the Salesforce working environment. I want to be part of a company that is determined to make the world a better place and leave a positive impact – there’s no better place to do this than working in technology! 🙂

Image result for business is the greatest platform to change the world

Here’s Where It Gets Emotional: Reflection

First off, thank you so much to Professor Kane, Professor Doyle, Kelsey, Matt, and all of my classmates for making this trip possible. It was truly a life-changing experience, and it wouldn’t have been possible without all of you. I will value the opportunity to have taken this class for the rest of my life.

To my classmates, I don’t know what I was expecting out of my relationships with you. I can honestly say that I made a deep connection with every single one of you on our Trek to California. All of you have made positive impacts on my life, and I can’t thank you enough for that. I as a person truly value personal relationships. To be quite honest, a lot of this thirst for meaningful friendships comes from my family back at home. The unfortunate truth is that my family at home isn’t too strong, and currently in my life, there is a bunch of fighting that I try to distance myself from (I don’t go home too often). Thank you all so much for opening yourselves up and sharing your stories with me. I hope to continue these connections throughout the rest of my time at BC. Don’t hesitate to shoot me a text to hang out, or to grab lunch or coffee. Let’s continue to learn from each other and support each other in all that we do!

IMG1538052142

Don’t mind my friend Evan not even noticing that he is photo-bombing.

Throwback to the first day of class. I noticed everyone’s intelligence and motivation to work hard and to get the most out of this opportunity right from the beginning. I was instantly inspired to put in as much work to make this something special that I will never forget. I think we all did just that – and we did it together!

@michaelrosmarin ‘s post threw me back to the beginning of recruiting season this year. There is so much importance put on your junior year internship hunt. It’s an extremely stressful time, where everyone is talking about their offers and decisions. The truth is: no one knows what they are going to end up doing, nor what they want to do – and that’s okay! Everyone is in the exact same boat. I will never forget being in a suit every single night going to information sessions and networking nights with the big banks. Guess what: I hated every single moment of it. The standoffish nature of the workers at big banks (in general) was very evident and distasteful. I was nervous about tech’s later recruiting timeline, and I just wanted an offer to take like everyone else so that I could be done with the process. I made it to the final round with FOUR DIFFERENT FIRMS including Deloitte advisory (my main target at the time), and each time I never received the final offer after making it to the end. I was disappointed, but I was also motivated: I could not wait for my search to continue so that I could prove everyone that doubted me wrong. I’ve done this all my life since nothing has ever been handed to me on a silver platter: I thrive in these types of situations. My ambition finally came to reality. After rejecting an offer from Aetna and hoping for the best (my gut was telling me no), I found a role that was perfect for me. I’ll be working in Amazon’s Finance Department, analyzing capital investment decisions with a technology focus – a perfect way to combine my studies, being a Finance & Information Systems major. My work finally paid off, and I can’t wait for everyone in this class to get the offer of their dreams. You all can do it. Just believe in yourself and your abilities – you are all extremely talented and personable individuals that any company would be lucky to have! When the right opportunity comes along, you’ll know it in your heart. AND BE SHAMELESSLY YOURSELF THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE PROCESS. Be YOU.

Image result for follow your heart

My advice to the current sophomores for junior recruiting season: reach out to alumni EARLY, ideally during the summer. You are already off to a great start! I bought LinkedIn Premium, and over the summer began InMailing alumni at target companies. Just ask them to chat on the phone about their experience, and ask them thoughtful prepared questions (which we all seem to be incredible at). They will be impressed that you started so early ahead of everyone else. Referrals are vital to the recruitment process, and are a huge strategic advantage to have over other talented candidates. I was able to reach out to one man in particular: Kudzai Taziva. If you have the chance to reach out to him, do so. He has many connections in the world of tech (he worked at Microsoft and currently works for an environmentally-friendly coffee startup), and introduced me to many people at tech behemoths like Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn. He is so willing to help, and my interest in technology was really sparked by his career advice.

Image result for linkedin premium

My dream later in life is to come back to BC to teach after gaining relevant work experience. I’m quite passionate about education, and believe with my whole heart that everyone deserves the chance to go to college and experience higher education. I’ve really found and developed my love for teaching through being a TA for Computers in Management, as well as teaching for BC Splash! Through this class, I definitely learned how teachers can make the material come to life for students. I would LOVE to teach a class like this later on.

In my initial blog selfie blog post, I said that I wanted to figure out if working for a technology company was for me. I confirmed that it absolutely is. My insatiable hunger for experience at tech giants with strong corporate cultures must come to fruition. I’m excited to embark on my adventure to Seattle to work for Amazon. I’ve been in a closed box on the East Coast for the entirety of my life – being an adventurous person, I’m ready for something new. I’m ready to put myself in a new environment. I’m ready to be uncomfortable and to learn from failure in my constant search for self-improvement and to be the best that I can be. I’m ready to find new passions while pursuing my current passions of service, music, sports, education, technology, and learning. I know a bunch of you will be in San Francisco this summer – I’m excited to visit you guys one weekend if you agree to visit me in return in Seattle :). If I don’t like the Amazon experience, I will definitely be applying to full-time positions in San Francisco, and I’m excited to see who goes to the West Coast with me! In short, I’m sold. I overdosed on kool-aid. I’m a changed person. I’m ready to go West. Thank you TechTrek West for everything.

Dandan

7 thoughts on “A Reflection on an Incredible Experience

  1. Thank you so much for sharing, I had such a transformative experience on this trip as well. My friendship with you has grown to mean so much to me. I think that it is inspiring that you want to come back to teach. I am confident that you will be a fantastic educator. Your advice is taken very appreciatively. Being open about your life experiences has been very valuable to me. See you on Wednesday, one more time!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much for sharing, Dan! This post really highlighted everything I felt post-trip: I loved the Thursday dinner, Ouster was also my vision of Silicon Valley, Twitter is such a powerful news source, etc. Thank you so much for the recruiting advice as well, that was definitely something I needed to hear and I hope you don’t mind me coming to you for advice this summer! I did an informational chat with Kudzai in the fall and I can’t agree more – he has incredible advice across a variety of experiences. Loved getting to know you Dan!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Dan! Thank you for being so genuine, honest, and open, both on the trip and in your blog post. I had a great time getting to know you and the other TechTrekkers! I am so glad you found the world of tech despite going through the recruiting process for many banks and I can’t wait to hear about your experience working at Amazon this summer. You brought so much great energy to our trip and asked such insightful questions on our visits. I respect your choice to network and find an opportunity you really cared for and know you will be successful! Maybe one day we’ll both be back teaching at BC.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Danny from Denny (or at least I wish:))!! Wow, your disclosure at the beginning of your post was well-needed because hello feels! You really put a lot of my thoughts into words that I don’t think I even knew how to articulate. Your enthusiasm for life and knowledge is contagious. Thank you for the advice that you wrote to the sophomores. Many times, I get easily overwhelmed and intimidated with the daunting thoughts of career paths. Thank you for sharing how you felt similarly. I fully recognize that it will be more difficult for me by choosing not to pursue traditional accounting or finance. For me, it’s way more than worth it if it means doing something I love and am passionate about. Thank you for being you, Danny! You’re going to do AMAZING things at Amazon. Can’t wait to hear allll about it!!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Dan this is incredible. I can’t thank you enough for everything you’ve contributed, both during the trip and in your blog! I’ve never seen someone so dedicated and hard-working as you… I guess you really make the most of #TeamNoSleep! You brought up many points that I’ll definitely take advantage of. Now that we have been introduced a well-connected network, reaching out to the right people who are willing to help is super important. As a sophomore prepping for an unclear future, I’m glad I know that I can turn to you and your advice for help. Lunch soon, please!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dan… please guide my life. Throughout the trip, you have served as a delightful friend, mentor, and leader (not just for me) and you have enriched everyone’s experience. I genuinely admire your ambition and your ability to escape the restrictive groupthink at BC that IB and consulting are the only possible career paths. I can’t imagine how difficult that path must have been, but if there’s anyone who could have walked away from the IB route and landed a job at AMAZON, it’s you. You continue to astound me, and this post captures why.

    One of my favorite quotes is “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind” (Dr. Seuss). I wholeheartedly agree about being “shamelessly yourself” and not letting obstacles prevent you from pursuing your dreams. You are a prime example of that working, and I applaud you for that. I love the advice about reaching out to alumni early, and I will start doing that ASAP! Finally, I will hold you to what you said: “Let’s continue to learn from each other and support each other in all that we do!” There is so much I still can learn from you, and I am so excited for that!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. This post really was a rollercoaster of emotions! Thank you for sharing and allowing me to experience little parts of your TechTrek experience out in California. Like Prof. Doyle said yesterday and you elaborated on in your post, we don’t know what we want to end up doing – and nor do we need to. Coming to terms with this uncertainty and ambiguity is difficult, and you spoke about it perfectly. Welcome back!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s