Silicon Valley Networking Trip
Student Participants' Testimonials

Monica Cason '14 (SVNT '12):  My experience with SVNT definitely exposed me to a diverse array of prospective companies and carrier paths, and I’m so grateful to have participated in the trip. For me, actually visiting the companies and getting a feel for the corporate atmosphere was one of the most meaningful components of SVNT. In fact, that’s how I first learned about Infosys. After meeting with an Infosys representative in the Silicon Valley office, I was given the incredible opportunity to spend my summer in Bangalore, India working with Infosys’ global internship program. Over the course of two months, I developed a meaningful project that was passed on to the CEO and eventually incorporated in his keynote address at the UN Conference Rio +20. Working in an international setting was great exposure for me as an IR major and also an incredible networking opportunity – I now have connections all across the globe that I would not have without Infosys. SVNT has certainly played a role in shaping my career path!

Emily Nathan '13 (SVNT '12):  SVNT is hands down the most valuable networking experience CMC has to offer. I went into the trip planning to experience an informative week exploring the Silicon Valley, unsure of what to expect in terms of internship opportunities or career insights. One week later, I left with an intimate knowledge of what amazing opportunities exist in the bay area for all majors, a large network of CMC alumni more than willing to share their insights with current students, and multiple internship leads. And I haven't even mentioned Bart's boot camp: CMCers, if you think you know how to network without Bart Evans' training, think again. Because of SVNT I had the opportunity to spend an amazing summer working at a CMC-founded startup and plan to return to the Silicon Valley after graduation. I recommend anyone who has an interest in Silicon Valley careers or startups in general to apply for this trip.

Matthew Morton ‘12 (SVNT ’11): Throughout the entire trip, we were able to see the differences between large companies and small companies (and hear about those differences as well from speakers). That was helpful to me because I was able to determine that I would like to work for a small company this summer. I particularly enjoyed the visit to Intuit; Brad Smith, CEO/President, was a great speaker. It was an enjoyable meeting, but also very informative and insightful.

Marshall Fisher ’11 (SVNT ’11): Meeting George Roberts was undoubtedly a highlight of the trip and he was right up there with Brad Smith, CEO/President at Intuit, He was very charismatic and I learned a lot from him. Both of them were intelligent, admirable, and I believe have strong character. I enjoyed it all: The overall experience of seeing so many varieties of companies; Getting to know the other kids on the trip; Learning more about the alternative energy industry, career advice, work advice, and learning more about how to succeed in whatever career I pursue.

Nikki Holzberg ’11 (SVNT ’11): Absolutely amazing trip. Best way to learn about networking, professionalism, the tech industry, and career opportunities. Like a crash course!! Have already been recommending this trip to others. Fantastic! There was an interesting mix of large, established companies v. small start-ups. I enjoyed hearing from different departments within a company - specifically marketing/sales and HR. Useful information, from my perspective: Getting as much experience in as many jobs as possible; Finding your niche and skill set; The promise of the technology industry; Must-do's in networking.

Natalia Klishina ’10 (SVNT '10):  ITAB was not only a lot of fun, but also incredibly helpful in figuring out what I want to do in the future. It opened up my mind to opportunities in industries I had never seriously considered before, and put me in contact with people within those industries who were more than willing to help me take advantage of those opportunities. In an economy where jobs are scarce and who you know becomes increasingly more important, the ITAB trip was an amazing chance to make contacts in all the right places (and have a great time while doing it, of course).

Daniel Black ’11 (SVNT '10): Having lived in the Bay Area for the last 11 years, the ITAB trip was a wonderful opportunity for me to really experience what Silicon Valley is all about on a more physical level. I loved having a group of like minded CMC students to travel around with; The Q&A sessions were very productive because of this.

Of course, many of us learned about internship and job opportunities, but for me, the trip was more about picking the brains of our brilliant alum and really getting an inside look into how different size companies structure themselves and operate. Students on the trip really got a sense of what environment they would want to work in without having to do an entire summer internship to figure it out.

To those entrepreneurial students out there, this trip is a MUST. I made an array of connections on the trip that have helped shape and reshape the future of my two companies. It's hard to understand what an incredible network CMC is building with our alums, but after having gone on the trip, I can tell you that CMC is the school to be at and that the future for every student is vast in size.

Henry Lyford ’11 (SVNT '10): The ITAB trip to Silicon Valley was an awesome experience. We had the opportunity to meet fascinating, successful CMC alumni who are having a real impact in the tech industry. Many of the alums we met were prominent figures in their companies, like the famous George Roberts at KKR, but what I enjoyed most was meeting with recently graduated alums who are just beginning their careers in the industry. I was concerned that the visits would target students with a computer science background but almost all the companies stressed that they were interested in CMC students from all majors and educational backgrounds. The trip was a great experience and I'd highly recommend it to other students.

Jeremy Merrill ’12 (SVNT '10): I really enjoyed the ITAB trip because not only did I get the chance to learn about life working at the various tech companies we visited and the opportunities that I might have, but I also got a lot of valuable practice interacting in a networking/business environment. The trip was extremely well planned and well executed. I got some very good opportunities and made some great contacts. I know I would not have had the opportunity to go on this trip at a larger school: ITAB made an effort to not only get the Computer Science majors, but to open the trip to all majors, from finance to history and to my major, Philosophy/Linguistics.

Grant Parker ’11 (SVNT '10):The ITAB trip was possibly my most memorable experience at CMC; getting interact with top executives alongside my classmates proved to be an unparalleled learning opportunity. Although I did not have a particularly technical background, I still found many opportunities within Silicon Valley, including several potential internships. By the trips conclusion, I felt that I had acquired a solid understanding of Silicon Valley’s corporate culture and hiring criteria; I now hope to secure employment in the area.

Francesca Ioffreda ’10 (SVNT '10): The Silicon Valley Networking trip was an extremely valuable experience. The trip helped me gain insight into the unique culture of technology firms and Silicon Valley as a whole. The trip also provided inside exposure to a variety of technology firms and allowed us to network with top management at each. As a whole, the trip broadened my career interests and illustrated the breadth of job opportunities in Silicon Valley.

Miles Bird ’12 (SVNT '10):The ITAB consulting trip was the most educational 5 days of my life. I learned an unbelievable amount about the various companies and firms we visited. The true takeaways for me though was the effectively real world experience of presenting myself as a professional businessman, as well as nuggets of advice from very, very successful people. This trip opened by eyes my potential as an entrepreneur or as a valuable contributing member of an organization like Google. I cannot recommend the trip more highly as a beneficial, positive worldview changing experience.

Karynna Asao ’10 (SVNT '10):As a history and biology major, I had never thought of establishing a career in the technology industry. The ITAB Silicon Valley Networking Trip revealed the many opportunities for liberal arts students in technology. We met with CMC alumni with both technical and non-technical backgrounds who had influential roles in their respective companies and were able to learn about the many facets of the technology industry from marketing and sales to software engineering and operations. The CMC ITAB trip also showed me that there are so many opportunities within technology, ranging from giants such as Google and Microsoft to small companies and startups such as Atlassian and Meebo. The opportunities in the technology industry is endless, and CMC's liberal arts education more than adequately prepares us for management, entrepreneurial, and creative roles within these companies. The CMC ITAB trip afforded me the opportunity to network with CMC alumni and parents and ultimately educated me on possible career paths after graduation from CMC. 

Matt Moone '09 (SVNT '09): The ITAB Networking trip was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to pick the brains of the greatest minds in the tech industry. During my time on the trip I formed valuable connections, gained a comprehensive industry perspective, and learned firsthand just how far my CMC education can take me.

Freya Lee ’09 (SVNT '08):The Silicon Valley Networking Trip was an incredible experience. The alumni that spoke to us were inspiring and very willing to help us with exploring our career options. I learned some great ways to present myself professionally and memorably, and I discovered the diverse occupational opportunities that are available in the technology sector. Even more amazing was seeing how these individuals and the companies that they work for are changing the world, often in ways that we do not expect.
What I really took away from this trip was an appreciation for the education I am receiving at CMC. There is such a variety of careers we can attain with the breadth and depth of knowledge that we gain in our classes, not to mention the assistance and encouragement we can get by networking with other successful CMC graduates. I cannot thank ITAB enough for organizing this trip.

Kimberly Muñoz ’10 (SVNT '08): Going on the ITAB trip had to be one of the smartest ways I could have begun 2008. Not only did I get an inside glimpse at the inner workings of top companies in Silicon Valley, but I also met alumni willing to help with any questions about careers for the student with the major in the liberal arts.

Joshua Siegel ’10 (SVNT '08): The ITAB trip is an underutilized gem at CMC. Within days after the trip was over, students had landed interviews and even jobs at the companies visited. What one learns in an economics or computer science class makes for useful technical skills, but only opportunities like these prepare students for the real world.

The opportunity to attend the ITAB trip was as life-changing as the opportunity to attend Claremont McKenna itself. After the trip, I confirmed my academic concentration in computer science and economics and made a point to stay informed about Silicon Valley news and CMC alumni in the valley. I tell all my friends-- technology-oriented or not-- to attend the trip if they can. I can only hope I'll one day be able to offer students the same experience CMC alumni offered me on the ITAB trip.

Julie Smith ’10 (SVNT '08):The price couldn't be better for a trip where you meet with senior executives of well-known Silicon Valley companies and ask them whatever is on your mind. The fact that most of them are CMC alums makes it an even more personal experience. Plus, the ITAB members and staff make sure that everything is taken care of down to the last detail so you can fully enjoy your experience. Even though my major does not directly relate to technology, this trip helped me appreciate the diverse opportunities present in such a field. After having learned so much, I only want to learn more.

Kimberly Lenahan ’10 (SVNT '08): The ITAB Silicon Valley trip is an incredible networking experience. I cannot say enough about how much the trip offered for an undergraduate interested in business, especially in the technology sector. The opportunity to meet with alumni while simultaneously nurturing business etiquette made this trip a comprehensive and complete success. Thank you to the many people involved, I am forever glad that I went on this trip.

Yuchen Zhang '10 (SVNT '08): The stereotype for CMC is that it's a great liberal arts college with an emphasis on Political Science and Economics. Yet I realized there are just so many different types of resources and career opportunities for us to make use of. I was really amazed by CMC's alumni connections in Silicon Valley. The ITAB trip provides an incredible opportunity to interact with senior executives of leading companies in the technology sector. Different from traditional Q&A sessions, we spoke casually and closely with senior management at Microsoft, Sun Microsystem, Applied Materials, etc. Moreover, alumni are very willing to respond to your follow-up emails and to do whatever they can to help you.

Although I'm not a computer science major, the trip helped to expand my insights about the technology industry, and I realized that one great thing about the education of a liberal arts college is that you can apply the skills and knowledge you've learned to a wide range of career paths.

The Silicon Valley Networking Trip also taught me to appreciate the tremendous resources available at CMC, and to give back after graduation. I really appreciate ITAB members and staff's dedication to this program. I would strongly recommend this trip to everyone I know.

Sean McGregor ‘08 (SVNT '07): "I enjoyed it so much I decided to add on a Computer Science Dual."

Rachael Maltiel ‘09 (SVNT '07): The ITAB trip helped me in getting my internship at Google this past summer (although a lot of credit does need to be given to Jewish connections between family friends). Jonathan Rosenberg and Mayumi Matsuno helped find me a statistics based internship. I worked with a great group of people. The ITAB trip also taught me about other Silicon Valley companies; since Silicon Valley is a fairly small and very well educated community, everyone knows what the other companies in the area are up to. The ITAB trip helped me to fit in better in the Silicon Valley community.

Megan Muramatsu ‘09 (SVNT '07): I really enjoyed the 2007 ITAB trip to Silicon Valley. Meeting the executives and alumni from CMC was rewarding; their advice and experiences gave me an insiders view to the tech industry that I can apply to my future career. It was also fun meeting and getting to know other CMC-ers with similar interests in technology. I would wholeheartedly recommend the trip to anyone interested in the tech field.

Laura Ragan ‘08 (SVNT '07):  I gained a better understanding of the array of opportunities available in the technology industry, and more excitingly what those big name companies actually do. While I do not plan on working in Silicon Valley in the immediate future, I came away from the trip with a greater insight that I will use next year when I begin my job as a technology risk consultant.

Manuel Wudka-Robles ‘10 (SVNT '07): "The CMC ITAB trip is fun, free, and an invaluable opportunity to meet some of the most interesting leaders of the computer industry." The ITAB trip pretty much started my career from scratch. Thanks to the opportunity it provided to meet with a Cisco manager I was offered an internship over the summer doing development on a new product in the Emerging Technologies Group. Over the course of four months I learned tremendous amounts about not just development but programming as part of a team and what it's like working for a large corporation. Next summer I might participate again as part of the Cisco choice program.

Aside from the positive career mojo, the ITAB trip provides an invaluable opportunity to meet the people who are driving the computer industry and even better to ask them questions. It can be a little intimidating at times, but everyone we spoke with was extremely nice and gave honest and thoughtful answers. To really enjoy the trip all you have to do is research the companies and word questions carefully. For example, "Just how close is Chapter 11?" is a bad question. "The dynamics of your market have been changing in recent months. What sorts of opportunities do you see developing, and how do to you hope to exploit them?" is the same question, but won't get you slapped. It's an excellent experience, and well worth the sacrifice of the final week of vacation.

Kira Tamashiro ‘09 (SVNT '07): I applied for the ITAB Networking Trip as an Sophomore economics major who was interested in the technology sector as a possible industry to enter into after graduation, and also as a possible industry to invest in the future. Each and every day was a new experience as we took a hands-on approach to learning about the technology industry by actually driving across Silicon Valley to the companies` headquarters. We visited between one and two companies a day, including Sun Microsystems, Google, and Weston Presidio, and were fortunate enough be the guests of a short presentation and a casual question-and-answer session with staff members and often the top executives at each firm. The ITAB Networking trip is a wonderful opportunity that any student even slightly interested in technology, investment, or business should apply for.

Andrew Lee ‘07 (SVNT '07): “I would drop my boring winter vacation plans again in a heartbeat and go on this trip!” If you are interested in owning a business, working in the private or public sectors, this trip shows you the behind-the-scenes of some of the most successful (and cool) companies remaking the world as we know it. No other trip will have (a) the CEO of Sun Microsystems personally greet you and talk about your startup, (b) the senior management of Applied Materials tell you how they're helping the world become energy efficient through solar, or have (c) VPs of Yahoo! and Google both show you pictures of their families and also give you advice on your family and career life. Their innovative spirit is infectious and inspiring. After the trip, I had the sense that I was called to go out and change the world.

Gregory Hall ‘09 (SVNT '07): The ITAB Trip gave me an entirely new perspective on the corporate world. While I did not end up with an internship in the Silicon Valley, the lessons I learned helped prepare me for a summer internship in with SOURCE. Now I am a student manager in charge of a team that will be providing the Claremont After School Programs an evaluation. The ITAB Trip provided the first taste of a world that I plan to enter in the near future. Advice from executives, board members, and the students and staff that accompanied me on the trip applied not only to the technology world, but to the business world as a whole. I would recommend this trip to any student who is interested in the technology industry – from hardware and software development to venture capitalism.

Daniel Shi ‘07 (SVNT '07):There are just so many insights that you learn about Silicon Valley and what's going on there. I think at CMC and with this current generation, nobody can say for certain where their careers will take them in even 5 years. So it helps immensely to have a feel for as many different industries and sectors as possible. And so, even if I were to become a social worker today, but tomorrow I want to interview at a start-up company. Well I could talk about my conversations at Applied Materials or Google and what I thought about the trends going on in IT. And the other thing is that it exposes you to ambitious and successful people. Really, this is what CMC does best. It shows us what it takes to be successful and presses us to follow. 

Austan Mogharabi ‘07 (SVNT '06):The ITAB trip was great. It didn't really affect my future in the career sense but it really gave me an appreciation for the diversity of possibilities in technology. I also feel that getting to know the CMC alumni in these large (and important) organizations was a tremendous experience. I think anyone who has been lucky enough to go on one of these trips is extremely fortunate. Not only is it a great networking experience but the enthusiasm and warmth the alumni show towards us, just because we're from CMC and interested in technology, is truly amazing. The ITAB trip isn't only for people interested in the traditional technology sector - it's actually most intriguing in that it helps to expand your insights on technology and its applicability across a huge range of career paths. I highly recommend the trip and I know that I had a wonderful time. Remember to thank Linda, Cynthia, and all the alumni, particularly the ITAB board, at the end - they put a lot of time and effort into it.

Candace Williams ‘08 (SVNT '06):The people I met on the ITAB trip taught me how to market my degree to a wide variety of businesses. A lot of people think that you need a computer science degree to apply for jobs in the IT industry – but that isn’t true. I learned that businesses are looking for people who are professional, quick learners, and team players. I also learned that there are a lot of non-profit job opportunities associated with IT. Since I’m looking to enter the nonprofit field, this information was useful.

Right now I’m a senior applying for fellowships (Fulbright, Coro, Princeton in Asia, etc) and jobs in the nonprofit world. I don’t think that I’ll end up in Silicon Valley right after graduation, but in the future I might come up with an interesting idea for a nonprofit that merges leadership, technology, and solutions to social problems.