College of Business Administration Students Experience Entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley
A group of Kent State business students had the opportunity to experience the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Silicon Valley through the College of Business Administration’s “Tech Trek” program this semester.
The trip was organized by Elizabeth Sinclair, assistant dean of undergraduate programs and assessment, and included stops at autonomous car company Zoox, robotics company Ohmnilabs and software companies Salesforce, Pivotal and Pager Duty. The group also visited Google and Apple.
“At each company, students met with people from the organization, learned about what the company does and took a tour of the facility,” Sinclair said.
In addition to visiting a variety of companies in the San Francisco area, students met with Kent State MBA alumnus M.R. Rangaswami, a software executive, investor, entrepreneur, corporate eco-strategy expert, community builder, philanthropist and co-founder of Sand Hill Group. Rangaswami provided students with an overview of entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley.
“This was truly an amazing experience,” said senior managerial marketing major Michael Price. “Seeing firsthand how companies disrupt industries and the mindset of Silicon Valley was inspiring. You could feel the innovative culture in the companies and how the passion the employees have for their work. This gave me the opportunity to connect with my dream company, with which I am now interviewing. If it wasn’t for the connections I made, I would have never had this opportunity.”
“The San Francisco trip was the most beneficial experience I have had so far at Kent State,” said senior entrepreneurship major Jaynanne Sheehan. “I enjoyed learning from companies that are innovative and exciting. During the trip, we met with start-up companies as small as five employees to powerhouses like Salesforce and Google. These companies inspired me to aim higher when pursuing a career path after college.”
Six students who participated in the trip received funding through the College’s Donald S. Grant Entrepreneurship Travel Award and Scholarship Fund. This scholarship was established in 2007 to provide travel awards for students to interact with entrepreneurs. The remaining students received scholarships from the College’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation to assist with travel costs.