MIT students come to check out Silicon Valley

January 5, 2011 6:40:18 PM PST
Every year, about 100 graduate students from MIT make a Tech Trek to Silicon Valley. They come here to find out what's hot and what it takes to be an entrepreneur.

Shervin Pishevar is a classic Silicon Valley entrepreneur. He's co-founded four companies and invested in another 30. His latest venture is Palo Alto's Social Gaming Network.

Shervin says thanks to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the social experience is giving rise to a new business revolution and the market is hot.

"There might not be another $50 billion company, but there might be 50 $1 billion companies around the world built on these types of social mechanics and social platforms," says Shervin.

These hopeful entrepreneurs could be part of that explosion. The MBA students from MIT's Sloan School of Management are part of an annual "Tech Trek" to Silicon Valley.

One of the MBA students Kourosh Kaghazian says the face-to-face visits to these companies are an extraordinary opportunity to learn firsthand.

"First of all it really helps in terms of learning. Learning about what entrepreneurs go through, how they started, how they went about getting mentors, acquiring those initial customers," says student Kourosh Kaghzian.

Some of the East Coast students will actually get a chance to meet with an executive at the social giant, Facebook, but the invite is to students only, no cameras allowed.

Other big companies that keep the visits private include Google and eBay. The students say every stop offers insights and the free flow of ideas with people like Shervin Pishevar is an extraordinary opportunity.

"For guys like this, time is money so for them to take an hour away from their day is a big deal," says student Joey Wignarajah.

The MBA students say whether the company is public or a start up, they have noticed a common thread to success.

"They're not in it for the money or anything like that. They are in it because they are passionate about subjects," says student Anand Desai.

Shervin says even in this new age of social media, he can appreciate the value of old fashioned networking.

Tuesday night the students took part in a reception at the History Museum in Mountain View.