Shiny buildings. Shining minds. Dizzying creativity. A Tesla in every garage, practically. For future MBAs from a top school, what’s not to like about Silicon Valley? This is a place where talent can be maximized, and fortunes made. It’s also a place where jobs can consume life and where bountiful company perks create a strange illusion of work/life balance, but no matter – for many a newly minted MBA, unafraid to leap from school into all-devouring but rewarding toil, the Valley exerts a powerful lure.
For the second year, the Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business has brought three dozen students to Silicon Valley for Technology Boot Camp, to expose them to the tech industry before they start school, and before company recruitment starts. The three-day pilgrimage this year includes visits to Google, Facebook, smaller companies and startups, plus meetings and presentations with Tuck students and alumni working in the Valley.
Enrollment in the program is by lottery, as it’s been significantly oversubscribed both years. On this year’s trek, there are students focused on careers in technology, and others who are just exploring the sector as an option.
PREPARING STUDENTS FOR THE RECRUITMENT BARRAGE
The boot camp was developed to expose incoming MBA candidates to a particular industry, to arm them with information and extend another branch of their professional networks, before company recruiting starts and a potentially overwhelming deluge of company pitches starts coming at them.
MBAs interested in the tech industry, and in Silicon Valley in particular, can approach the job market from a number of angles, with students and graduates of virtually any background and interest able to find entry points, whether via general management, finance, marketing, product management, business development, or entrepreneurship.
Shortly after the boot camp wrapped up and the Tuckies left Silicon Valley, Facebook co-founder Dustin Moscovitz, writing on Medium.com, bemoaned the “current culture of intensity” in the tech industry, saying it hurts workers and productivity. “These companies are both destroying the personal lives of their employees and getting nothing in return,” Moscovitz wrote.
Such criticism is unlikely to deter new MBAs, most of whom are both demographically and personally positioned to hurl themselves fully into exceedingly demanding jobs. As boot camper Clair Briggs puts it, “I’m not afraid of ridiculous hours if I care about what I’m doing, and learning and growing.”
Poets&Quants caught up with five boot campers, and two Tuck second-years who are interning at Google and Facebook. Here are their stories:
Hedging your bets when applying for an MBA program often makes sense – fallback options can be essential if the top choices send rejection notices. But hedging bets when applying for an internship or job may not be such a good idea, suggests Tuck second-year MBA candidate Bradley Webb: if he’d hedged his bets when applying for internships, he figures, he probably wouldn’t have one of the most sought-after business school internships in the world – a position at Facebook.