Hopeful MBAs visit Silicon Valley

January 7, 2009 6:22:37 PM PST
Despite the recession and California's slumping economy, more than one-hundred MBA students made a "Tech Trek" to the South Bay in search of jobs and new technology.

Where some people see obstacles, these students are finding opportunity.

They came in suits with nametags, resumes and educated minds eager to tap into Silicon Valley's entrepreneurial spirit.

"I'm hoping to learn a lot about what mistakes, what problems they could have had starting up, and challenges and opportunities," said Pedro Santos.

About 100 MBA students from MIT Sloan in Massachusetts are part of a three-day excursion to see what California companies have to offer.

The annual East-to-West Tech Trek has been going for about 15 years and this year students say there are seeing the impact of the economic downturn.

Frequent stops such as Google, ebay and Yahoo opted out of this year's schedule. There are no job openings but it turns out alternative energy is hot and the doors were wide open at some forty start ups.

Companies such as Better Place are building infrastructure to support the mass use of electric vehicles. Their business model got the support of Bay Area mayors last year and got the interest of MBA students Wednesday.

"When the economy turns down it's always the more creative, more innovative companies that kind of bring the economy up," said Spencer Irvine.

The Tech Trek group says it's convinced the future belongs to companies that can do good and do well.

"But. I think there's definitely an opportunity for us to make a positive impact and be profitable businesses. And, I think that's what's really going to be important going forward both in clean tech and the industry overall," said Christine Obiaya.

If these optimistic job seekers do not work for a Silicon Valley company soon, do not be surprised if they are behind the next start up.