Sep 082015
 
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Our hotel. San Jose, CA

There are times when it pays to be an MBA intern. The pay, for one, is literally better compared to one’s undergrad days (for most folks). You’re a bit older, a bit wiser, and for most of us, this certainly wouldn’t be our first lap around the block when it comes to working in a real office. The surprises might be fewer, but on the other hand, so is the terrifying uncertainty.

We had just one more perk.

By intention or accident, our division was split between two major offices, Boston and SF. The new members of our team, one of whom literally had just started when we were about a month into our internship, were also in SF. I was working all summer with another MBA intern, from a different school, and together we were the only two MBA interns in our site. So our manager gave us an opportunity, the new hire had to be brought up to speed, and not just on the work ahead.

The following week, we landed in San Francisco. A quick drive around the Bay and we were in San Jose, amidst the world famous Silicon Valley. That was our hotel. I looked around, it being my first trip to the Bay Area, and took it all in. Who would have thought that this unassuming bay-side suburban area would become the very center of technological innovation for the entire…world? Yes, they have Stanford. And yes, the weather is just about perfect. From the garage of William Hewlett and Bill Packard to Gordon Moore’s little startup called Intel that believed it could develop better microchips than the industry titans of its day, dreamers have always dreamed and entrepreneurs have always forged ahead in this narrow strip of land tucked between the mountains and the bay.

Reflections aside, we spent about a week there, discussing current projects, product strategies, internal outlook, and capped it all off with dinner over team bonding. When your team is scattered on opposite coasts, there’s nothing like real face to face interaction time to build a highly functional team. When it comes to real human familiarity, a webcam just can’t compare.

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Staring into the future, right there, on a visit off the clock to a fellow Smith MBA intern at Google in Mountain View, CA

No, unfortunately this is not our office. Still in Mountain View.

No, unfortunately this is not our office. Still in Mountain View.

Sunset walking back from dinner.

A West Coast sunset, palm trees mandatory

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