Silicon Valley’s Calling
The final stage of the ISEG MBA is reserved for what is known as the ‘cherry on top of the cake’ – up-close and personal contact with the unique ecosystem of Silicon Valley, home to the most active ‘cluster’ of companies in the world.
João Pedro Vaqueiro, a student of the 29th Edition of the ISEG MBA, travelled to Silicon Valley to be amongst venture capitalists, business angels, entrepreneurs and start-ups. He also had the opportunity to meet some of the local academic community, to get to know different business approaches, and was even introduced to the founders of companies such as NorthFace.
Discussing meeting these thought-leaders, João says, “They transmitted their innovative vision and I would especially like to highlight the visits to companies such as IDEO, where I received training in design thinking – an innovative methodology for project development projects. This visit enabled me to realise very clearly that we can be much more entrepreneurial, not only by founding new companies, but also by innovating within the companies where we work.”
For João, the opportunity to travel to Silicon Valley played a large part in his decision to study at ISEG. “The main reasons I opted for the ISEG MBA were the fact that ISEG is renowned for its academic excellence and also the possibly to interact with the internationally-recognised and differentiated business ecosystem of Silicon Valley,” he explains.
For João Pedro Vaqueiro, the MBA strengthened his technical expertise, improved his ability to question himself, and resulted in him being more demanding, giving him the capacity to take a 360 degree view of companies – a skill which is so important for a modern-day manager.
For Hugo Ribeiro, a project manager and graduate in electrical engineering, the Silicon Valley visit represented a constant challenge, where each participant aims to gain the maximum experience from the lessons learned, not only for their career, but also for their personal life.
“The company visits enabled us to feel first-hand the spirit of Silicon Valley and the diversity of activities over and above technology. Based on the culture of Silicon Valley, this immersion gives us a new vision of success,” affirmed Hugo, a student of the 30th Edition of the ISEG MBA.
Visits to companies allow students to get to know different examples of the business world, ranging from venture capital to 100 per cent creative companies, and even investments in social entrepreneurship, all of which explain the true spirit of the ‘American Dream’, enabling each person to understand the potential for a company to be profitable, based on a social activity. “We had the opportunity to see the structure of a business operation focused on social ‘welfare’ with great success,” explained Hugo.
A further week’s training at the University of San Francisco allows participants to have contact with a teaching style that is entirely different. “Students finish this programme having gained a different view of the business world and they are more confident having developed a know-how which was until this point undiscovered,” says Hugo.
The Silicon Valley experience translates into an immersion in an unrivalled culture – from preparing for a real-life ‘elevator pitch’, where students are tested on their ability to put forth their business ideas to real investors, through to a lively workshop on the training and management of teams, as well as the development of innovative processes, which involves contact with the winning formula of some of the most successful companies in the world, such as IDEO and Keiretsu Capital (an affiliate of the World’s Leading Angel Network).
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