Decoding the Silicon Valley DNA
"IESE Meets the Valley" took place for the third time this year during Easter week. The trek is organized by MBA students and was initiated by Jeroen Kemperman (MBA 2012), with the aim of giving students first-hand experience of entrepreneurs and investors operating within the Silicon Valley ecosystem. Simultaneously, the event cultivates and extends a network of contacts with companies while promoting the IESE brand on the West Coast of the United States.
A total of 21 students took part, with Mark Trevitt and Daniel Smith (both MBA 2014) leading this year’s trip. Prof. Joan Roure, as well as Josep Ramon Sanromá (CEO of the Institut Català de Finances), Vicenç Martí (cofounder of the social games company Akamon), and Jeroen Kemperman and Paulo Martins (founders of the start up Treeveo, which makes software for managing and executing projects) accompanied the group. All of them are members of the organizations and companies sponsoring the trip.
Under the title "Decoding Entrepreneurial DNA," the third trek gave participants the opportunity to see first hand the different stages through which a new technological company passes from the birth of the idea, building the team, seeking capital, growth and, finally, managing the startup while maintaining the entrepreneurial spirit once it has consolidated its place in the market.
The trek made stops at several organizations including Cooliris (develops a photo and video sharing applications for smartphones and tablets), Robotex (a robot manufacturer for police missions), Airbnb (an online platform for renting rooms and vacation apartments around the world), Tesla (an electric car manufacturer), KPCB (an investment company that specializes in technology companies) and Google.
This year "IESE Meets the Valley" is among the elective courses for second-year MBA students. As Vicki Lambiri, associate director of Career Services, says, "The journey is focused on learning rather than looking for work. It makes sense to appreciate its academic value." That said, some of the companies on the itinerary were explicitly interested in hiring MBA graduates. AppDirect, for example (a platform through which companies can buy applications in the cloud), offered students the opportunity of getting practical experience in their offices in summer.