I do not even know how to start this, I feel like I have learned so much in a very short period of time that it is difficult to put it into words. The friendships and mentors that I have found at this trip have truly been invaluable.
In the beginning of TechTrek, I felt like I really didn’t belong. I knew that I was interested in technology and startups, but was very unsure of wether I would actually want to go to California. I was not super up to date with all of the latest tech and new startups so I felt as I was already behind. But, seeing all the excitement from my other classmates about new technology got me super excited to learn and I found myself researching a lot of the companies we were going to visit and getting super excited about visiting them. I now feel super confident when anyone is talking about Venture Capital or cryptocurrency! Being from New Jersey, I could never see myself working anywhere other than New York City. I can now say that TechTrek has truly opened my eyes and hearing from the advice of many of the entrepreneurs telling me to follow the work and not the location.
After landing in San Francisco and seeing the rain, hoping that it would go away soon (LOL.) I was so excited for what this trip had in store. San Fransisco was so amazing and being able to tour, especially going to Alcatraz, with this group made it even better. Walking on those hilly streets (which are truly no joke by the way) I could picture myself living there, hopefully on a flatter street.
The people that I have met at these companies truly inspired me. Seeing the drive and passion from leaders such as Amy Errett on our first day at Madison Reed gave me such excitement to find my passion and run with it. One of my favorite visits was Christiaan Vorkink from True Ventures. He was very engaged with our group and really wanted to hear what we had to say and made me feel welcome and really excited to learn more about what he does. One of the best pieces of advice was when he said relationships and your team can make or break your company. Making sure that you have a great group of people who support each other are essential for a company’s success. It is not just people who believe in the product, but people who believe in the founders and trust that together they will be able to make the company a success. I also remember someone saying that the best decision they made was to not hire one of their good friends in an executive position at their company and that is something that stuck with me. That stayed with me because I did not think about how hard it must be to have someone working with you and cannot give a full review/critique on because they have known you for so long.
Especially for Venture Capital relationships I did not realize that they last longer than most marriages. So especially when a company is looking for money they need to realize that they need to have a good relationship with the people that they are receiving the money from, as this can last almost 10 years.
Taking the Jump
Another important lesson I learned while being on TechTrek was to make sure to take opportunities that interest you even though it may scare you. If you are interested in startups, “you have to go to San Fransisco” is a phrase I heard again and again. If you are interested in a company, find them on LinkedIn! I always thought that it was rude to cold email someone but will now give it a try as that is how many people we met with have gotten their jobs. You have to be okay with the fact that a startup that you work for may go out of business, but you will still gain very valuable experience from working there that will be useful in any other job that you get after that.
Prior to TechTrek, I was not aware of how valuable the BC Network actually is!! Almost every single BC grad we met got their job through a connection from the BC network (that is crazy). What shocked me even more is that BC grads want to help us, they are more than happy to get coffee with us and talk us through their position and see if they can do anything for us if they see a fit at their company. It really shows the value of a BC education in that even when you graduate, you still want to see other BC students get great work experience and prosper. I am definitely going to take that advice and reach out to BC grads working at a company that I am interested because it has been made abundantly clear that they are more than glad to talk to me 🙂
Overall, I am so glad that I went on TechTrek. It truly opened my eyes to opportunities outside of NYC and made me really interested at working at a startup. I was able to make really good friendships with people on the trip and important connections with the people that we met! I am so excited to see what the future has for all of us :))