By: Mike Ferrigno
During Fall Break, I was one of 30 Notre Dame MBA students who visited San Francisco for Notre Dame’s annual Bay Area Trek. This year’s group visited nine companies over four days in San Francisco and Silicon Valley.
The Bay Area Trek gives students the opportunity to visit companies of all magnitudes, ranging from SAP (75,000+ employees) to Grain (2 full-time employees). The goal is for students to gain perspectives on the different opportunities available in the Bay Area, and to determine if they are interested in pursuing internships or a full-time opportunities in the area. Although I was exhausted by the end of the week, I gained valuable insights and connections to a number of companies that could only be achieved through face-to-face interaction.
Over our four days, we visited Zynga, Workday, Mercatus, Plug and Play, SAP, Cisco, Salesforce, CBS Interactive, and Eventbrite. My personal favorite was Plug and Play, an accelerator that is home to over 100 startups. We toured the company’s facilities, and met with Grain co-founders and Notre Dame alumni Joe Mueller and Federico Segura. Grain is currently in Plug and Play (download the app!) and has received numerous accolades, establishing itself as one of the more promising companies in the area.
Joe and Federico spoke to our group about their experiences starting Grain in Notre Dame’s Foresight class, entering the McCloskey Business Plan Competition, and then ultimately making the plunge to move to Silicon Valley.
Thanks to the interest from our students and the work of the Notre Dame California Initiative, Notre Dame is beginning to establish itself as a recruiting destination for technology companies in the Bay Area. I hope we will see more students move west within the next few years to make the Notre Dame network in California even stronger.
Mike lived in New York City prior to business school. He is currently concentrating in analytics and attended the University of Connecticut for his undergraduate studies. His favorite Notre Dame memories include the Bay Area Trek and a Venture Capital Immersion in Nashville.