Last October, I spent a week in San Francisco during fall break and immersed myself in the Bay Area and its culture. It was a fantastic experience for a tech enthusiast like me and a great opportunity to learn more about West Coast jobs.

Thanks to my friends and colleagues, I was able to organize my own ‘tech trek’ by visiting Google, YouTube, LinkedIn, NVIDIA, and Apple. And after working at Cisco for two years, it was a pleasure to go back to headquarters in San Jose, catch up with old friends, and explore the beautiful campus.

In addition to visiting these tech giants, I joined MBA students on the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club’s trek and visited a VC company for the first time. This sparked my interest in some fast-growing startups and gave me a more holistic view of the Silicon Valley culture.

Rachel siting in front of the Cisco sign, exploring West Coast jobs

I also had the opportunity to connect with Fuqua alumni in the area who are working in industries such as retail, health care, entertainment, and gaming. It was inspiring to know how data analytics is playing a critical role in all of them, moving from a statistical support function to the business decision engine. As a student of business analytics at Duke, I am interested in data-driven approaches in marketing and product management as I explore career paths.

I set aside time to meet with some MQM alumni who are working in the Bay Area and listened to their stories of job searching the year before and current life on the West Coast. They work in diverse industries, at either established companies or startups, and provided useful advice from their personal perspectives. You may worry that it is difficult to find a job on the West Coast coming from Duke, which is thousands of miles away. However, there are dozens of MQM alumni there, waiting for you to connect, plus alumni from other Fuqua programs. The West Coast has been the top destination for Daytime MBA graduates for three straight years.

It was such a rewarding trip, not only for business learning but also for making friends with like-minded people! I hope to join the Silicon Valley ecosystem in the future!

Rachel and a friend posing in front of the LinkedIn sign, exploring West Coast jobs