To be frank, I stumbled upon the Technology Entrepreneurship Center (TEC) Silicon Valley Workshop. Or rather, the workshop showed up one day in my BADM 446 class by way of a presentation from Jed Taylor, the Director of Operations of the TEC. The trip to the technology hub of the United States was presented as just a single slide in an hour-long presentation on the entrepreneurship culture at the University of Illinois, but I decided to look into it a bit more. After some research, I decided it was an opportunity I should at least apply for. As a management-entrepreneurship major, the chance to learn from some of the leading minds in tech startups in Silicon Valley seemed like the chance of a lifetime.
When I arrived in Santa Clara, I was tremendously excited for the week ahead. On the first day alone, we were scheduled to meet Menlo Ventures, Y Combinator, Tesla, and View Inc. We learned about what investors and incubators look for in companies, the differences between manufacturing and software companies in Silicon Valley, and even took a tour of the largest automotive factories in the world. This diversity of experience packed into such a short time frame was a huge part of what defined the trip. It was expansive and overwhelming at times, but it was a decidedly positive experience.
The other, perhaps more important, element of the trip was getting to know the other 24 students on the trip. We were a diverse group, with backgrounds in areas such as psychology, sustainability, business, and all major areas of engineering. It was truly inspiring learning about each other’s motivations for being on the trip, what we hoped to learn, and where we wanted to go from here. It reaffirmed one of the main reasons why I decided to attend Illinois in the first place: our intensely talented and driven student body.
The startup culture at the University of Illinois is world class. If you are interested in the area, you would be hard pressed to find a university with more resources at your disposal. From the Cozad Competition, to Research Park, to the Technology Entrepreneur Center, to the iVenture Accelerator and many more, students are encouraged to make their mark in such a critical field. Entrepreneurs build the world, and the University of Illinois builds entrepreneurs. Please do not hesitate to leave a comment or reach out if you have any questions on the field or want to learn more. Talk soon.