Next Career Move: From Wharton to Silicon Valley?

Students participate in the inaugural Wharton Industry Exploration Program trip to Silicon Valley in January 2015.

Students participate in the inaugural Wharton Industry Exploration Program trip to Silicon Valley in January 2015.

This semester, I had the opportunity to take Culture of Technology, a half-credit course taught by Lori Rosenkopf, the vice dean and director of the Wharton Undergraduate Division and the Simon and Midge Palley Professor. During the bi-weekly sessions, we had the chance to hear from Wharton alumni who are currently working in the technology sector. These guest speakers ran the gamut from serial entrepreneurs to venture capitalists, and all shared with us their experiences in pursuing careers in Silicon Valley.

This course is a great example of how Wharton students can gain exposure to the career opportunities that are available to them upon graduation. As a student interested in the technology sector but not certain about pursuing a tech-related career, I was able to gain a better understanding of all of the parties involved in the Bay Area ecosystem and exactly where I might fit in.

Lori Rosenkopf

Lori Rosenkopf

In preparation for the speakers, we read various research materials that provided a context for each discussion. The topics did a very nice job of capturing different aspects of the technology sector—from product-market fit to the human resources division and the role of investment banks in IPOs.

One of our speakers was Pranshu Maheshwari C15 W15 and co-founder of Prayas Analytics, a recent Y-Combinator graduate with the mission to quantify the offline world and bring data analytics to brick-and-mortar retailers. Having the chance to speak with someone only a few years older than me who has already had substantial experience in the technology space was extremely helpful in trying to sort out my own career aspirations.

We also heard from Aydin Senkut G96 WG96, who had been one of the first 30 employees at Google and then founded venture capital’s Felicis Ventures.

All of the speakers had unique perspectives based on their own experiences and were more than willing to offer advice for those of us interested in making the trek out West.

Apart from this half-semester course, students also have the opportunity to participate in the Wharton Industry Exploration Program, which features week-long, for-credit trips to San Francisco over winter break or Los Angeles over spring break. During the San Francisco trip, students will visit technology companies in the area, attend lectures at Wharton San Francisco, and connect with alumni working in the tech industry. I will be participating in the program this coming January and am very much looking forward to the experience.

 

Connect with us: Read more about the first Wharton Industry Exploration Program and its trip to the San Francisco Bay Area in our article, “Go West, Young Undergrads.” And view photo highlights of the course in the slideshow below.

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Editor’s note: This blog originally appeared on the Wharton Undergraduate Division’s Student Voices blog on Dec. 8, 2015.





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