Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

MIT Sloan MBA Students Find A Renergized Silicon Valley

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 13, 2008

MITSloan.gifEarlier this month I caught up with 115 MBA students from the MIT Sloan School of Management, over here for tours of Silicon Valley's top companies and venture capital firms.

The evening event was held at the top of the Bank of America building in San Francisco, a stunning, lofty location with sweeping and glittering vistas. A fitting metaphor for the potential promise of a job and striking it rich in Silicon Valley.

The room was filled with several hundred students and alumni and the mood was high energy. Paul Denning, head of media relations at MIT Sloan said the students had a great week, visiting top companies such as Google, and also top VC firms such as Venrock and Hummer Winblad.

Everywhere they went, the reception was great, and the economy in Silicon Valley is much more energetic than in previous years, said Ayo Aloran, one of the TAs. Everyone seems to be hiring, which is good news since the MBA program costs about $140k to complete.

edward roberts

About 65 of the students at the event are enrolled in the MIT Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program, co-founded by Edward Roberts, who serves as chair. Mr Roberts, also, was very happy with the week's visits.

"The diversity of people here is incredible. At one startup all six founders were from different countries. I asked them if this was a key to their success. They said they hadn't thought about it but it probably did help," said Mr Roberts.

I mentioned that most of our entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley don't enroll in schools to learn about entrepreneurism but go out and just do it. Many of the most succesful tech entrepreneurs are university drop outs, such as Bill Gates, and the 23 year old Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of FaceBook. [See Fast Company: Hacker. Dropout. CEO. - Mark Zuckerberg]

I asked Mr Roberts if his entrepreneurship students were ready to start companies. He said only a couple, most want to get experience inside companies first and then ten years later start a company.

I couldn't stay long and had to leave the enthusiastic crowd in mid-buzz. I shared the elevator down with an MIT alumni from 2002 now working at a large VC firm. I asked him if his firm might hire some of the MBA students. "I don't think so."

- - -

Inaki.pngHere is student blogger Inaki Berenguer's account of the Silicon Valley trip:

It has been one of the most inspiring experiences I have had about entrepreneurship.

We were located in Stanford Park Hotel, next to Stanford University and Sand Hill Road. We have visited startups such as Meraki, Plusmo, Intelleflex, Adify, Mywaves.com, Mobi.tv, Nebuad, Aeroscout, or Telenav, meeting with their founding teams. We have also had receptions at more established (but leading) companies such as Salesforce.com, VMWare or Google. We have also met partners of VCs such as Venrock, Morgenthaler or Menlo Ventures.

Inaki Berenguer, MBA '09: Back from the Silicon Valley Trek

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