Beedie MOT MBA students tour Silicon Valley tech organizations

Jul 23, 2015

California’s Bay Area houses some indisputably world-class technology companies. Google, Samsung, and LinkedIn, to name only a few, are headquartered in the area. Operating in secrecy on game-changing ideas and products, these companies make Silicon Valley the undeniable global hub of innovation.

On June 25 and 26, 19 students in the Management of Technology MBA (MOT MBA) program at the Beedie School of Business were treated to a glimpse of the inner workings of this hub – and experienced first-hand how these organizations are changing the world.

The MOT MBA trip offers students the opportunity to hear each company’s story as it relates to innovation and the management of technology, and serves to enhance their in-class learning.

Following a successful inaugural trip in 2014, this year saw an increase in the number of established technology companies included in the tour. Through this, the trip was designed to inspire entrepreneurship and networking between students and industry professionals. In addition to Google, Samsung, and LinkedIn, students visited the headquarters of Instart Logic, Salesforce, and Pebble.

“I couldn’t be happier with how the trip went. We visited seven companies in the Silicon Valley – some tech giants, others successful start-ups,” said Lisa Dalla Vecchia, Manager of Corporate Engagement at the Beedie School of Business, and the organizer of the trip. “We had an incredible group of students who represented the MOT MBA well. Employers got to see the talent coming out of Beedie: a perfect blend of science and tech with business knowledge.”

A unique aspect of the Beedie MOT MBA program is that it is tech specific, but still offers all the benefits of a broad based graduate business program. The Silicon Valley trip highlights technology, biotechnology, engineering, and computer science – all areas of expertise the MOT MBA program focuses on. The experience is combined with in-class applications, with many students finding inspiration in the way the corporations operated day-to-day business and long term strategies, as well as how to incorporate these ideas into their own professional development.

“This is the second year I’ve gone on the MOT trip. The key takeaways for me from these companies were how to do our job better, and how we can all learn from each other,” said Andrew Drinkwater, a MOT MBA student and a Senior Planning Research Analyst for UBC. “As a data professional, the scale and speed at which companies like Salesforce operate at is eye-opening and inspiring. If a company that size can do it, so can many others.”

“LinkedIn made us feel very welcome,” said Jane Tao, another MOT MBA student and Project Engineer at Andritz Automation Ltd. “The tour began with each student being presented with personalized posters and stats from our own LinkedIn profiles. They invited us to really talk to them about what they do.”

Students got an inside look into the organizations’ corporate culture during the tours, and were able to meet company representatives from a broad spectrum of positions, from supply chain to strategy to project management. These insights not only allowed students to gain a clearer perspective on the different types of technology companies, but also allowed them to see how they might potentially fit into one of them – a dream that has been successfully fulfilled by many Beedie alumni.

“This trip would not be possible without Beedie’s alumni connections,” said Michael Johnson, Academic Director of the MOT MBA program at the Beedie School of Business. “All the companies we visited either had former students from the MOT MBA program or another of our graduate programs, which allowed us to connect with these representative individuals.”

Beedie’s ongoing relationships with alumni are the driving forces that opened the doors of Silicon Valley to current MOT MBAs. This opportunity provides students a way to connect with other alumni and give back to the Beedie community, fostering a strong Beedie family and career management sector for future generations.

“I was amazed at the level of connections the Beedie School of Business had to these organizations,” said Donald Kim, an MOT MBA student working in Business Development at Allocadia Software. “To be able to walk into these headquarters and get the grand tour of multinational companies that we read about all the time in business news is incredible.”

This year’s trip coincided with the 15th anniversary of the Beedie MOT MBA program, as well as the 50th anniversary of Simon Fraser University.

The 2016 MOT MBA trip is set to take place in Seattle, with plans to incorporate case studies into the trip in order to foster an even richer learning experience.

For more information on the MOT MBA program, visit: http://beedie.sfu.ca/mot/

Students in the Management of Technology MBA program at the Beedie School of Business toured tech organizations in Silicon Valley.

Students in the Management of Technology MBA program at the Beedie School of Business toured tech organizations in Silicon Valley.

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