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WesTrek 2020

  1. Visiting the famous “no-shoes” office of Gusto, where we learned about creating a work culture to make employees feel like home.

  2. Meeting an incredible HBS alumni panel at Samsara, where we saw sensor technology enabling trucking, transportation, and cities to operate more safely and with better real-time analytics.

  3. Taking a behind-the-scenes manufacturing tour at Zoox, where we saw the power of 3D printing to help expedite and significantly cut down the costs testing of new car parts for autonomous vehicles. 

  4. Hearing the career journey of Head of Product at Cloudflare, in which we learned about types of Product roles that exist across startups and how to decide between a sales-driven, product-driven, or engineering-driven company for our first careers in tech.

  5. Visiting the Waymo office where we got to know about all the amazing innovations that came out of Google X lab and the projects that graduated from the program to become independent companies. The team took us on the journey to show the first prototype of Waymo to what it is today.

  6. Exploring the changing model of VC firms from funders to venture builders. For example, VCs like Atomic VC have completely changed the model in which VC’s operate by now “co-founding” their companies. The companies start within Atomic with an amazing idea and then work within Atomic’s ecosystem to ideate, research, and prototype together. In meeting VCs and early funded startups, a common message was that this is an incredible time to be an entrepreneur. With a lot of funding available to entrepreneurs as well as more traditional industries opening up to tech-enabled solutions, now is a great time to be an entrepreneur and raise funding. We also got a great sense of the sheer variety of careers HBS alums held at tech companies. During the trek, we saw HBS alumni from entry-level and senior roles, ranging from product management, product marketing, growth strategy, supply chain and finance. The trek provided great exposure to the strong HBS network that is in the West Coast and closely connected within the tech community.  As one of our trekker notes, “Being able to visit start-ups and how the early stage teams are formed allowed me to expand my perspectives on how to think about my career in a small company versus a larger organization. I was also able to speak to so many interesting alumni who are willing to help in any way possible. It was refreshing to meet and make friends with so many others outside my own section. I am sure because of our many common interests, these friendships are going to go a long way.” As WesTrek came to a close, all attendees reflected on the four days of amazing meetings, fun events, and long-lasting friendships. It sure wasn’t an easy task to coordinate 130 students visiting 60 companies and trying to match the best fits. With overwhelmingly positive feedback from both the attendees and the companies that hosted the meetings, the WesTrek leadership team is still collecting feedback and looking forward to hosting WesTrek again in 2021.

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