For those of us who have only worked “in the bubble” the current situation seems bleak. As I trekked across the bridge this morning in to the howling wind the situation seemed even bleaker. I found myself envying the person who had sold me my daily dose of watery Boston coffee; they were employed. I could barely feel my numbing fingers clutching the cup I held delicately in my hands. Toto, I am not in San Francisco any more.
So, what is an overeducated, highly leveraged individual to do in times like these?
WesTrek 2002, HBS’ largest and oldest trek.
During the first week of January, over 300 HBS students will descend on Silicon Valley to hear speeches by tech industry executives, visit over 100 leading companies, listen to industry panel discussions and do significant damage to their livers.
WesTrek is an opportunity to learn about and network with leading companies in the Bay Area. In a job market like this, proactive job searching, such as WesTrek is critical. Most of the learning will occur on at on-site company presentations, the core of WesTrek. Last year, a total of 130 companies gave on-site presentations. Students will be able attend a total of three presentations per day, or a total of 12 over four days, with most attending 8 to 10.
We’re still working on finalizing the list for this year, but it is safe to say most companies’ interest in meeting with HBS students remains unchanged. Luminaries and start-ups such as Oracle, eBay, Genentech, E.piphany, Liberate, Guidant and Handspring are still pounding down our doors. Venture Capital firms such as Accel Partners and Mohr Davidow are back. And it is not all tech. There will be the usual cast of recruiting characters, such as Bain, McKinsey, Goldman and Merrill, looking to staff their Bay Area offices with something other than golf pros from Palo Alto. Companies such as Gap, Lucas Arts, Clorox and others may help round out your roster.
For many, the highlight of past Treks has been the featured speakers. This year Silicon Valley luminary and keynote speaker Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun MicroSystems, will provide an insider’s perspective. Panels will run each morning highlighting topics such as the VC/CEO relationship and job-hunting strategies in high-tech.
But, the real reason to go is fun. Evening activities will include mentoring dinners with local alums, a party at BackFlip, wine tastings, and dinner at AsiaSF. If you thought Priscilla was good drag, you haven’t seen anything yet. This year we’ve adjusted the dates of the trek to span a weekend to allow us to explore the Bay Area. We have a host of activities planned. Saturday the HBS Wine and Cuisine Society will host the first annual WineTrek. You will travel with Bay Area HBS alums in small buses oriented towards the industry of your choosing to the areas top wineries for tasting and lunch. After the three-chardonnay lunch might be a good time to spring your business plan on that VC you were sitting next to. Other excursions include a hike on Mt. Tam and an afternoon on Alcatraz.
WesTrek will run from Thursday, January 3rd through Tuesday, January 8th. The Trek costs $150, which covers the daily events. Students are responsible for their own travel arrangements. Book now! I’ve seen fares as low as $250 round-trip from Boston. Discounted hotel rooms at the Hyatt Burlingame, the epicenter of the Trek, are also available.
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Any questions? Feel free to drop me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org