This article is part of a series on the University of Ottawa's Telfer School of Management Executive MBA annual class trip to the Silicon Valley. The recent trip was part of the EMBA curriculum on "Innovation and Entrepreneurship."
All work and no play can make for dull entrepreneurs, but that’s never a problem in Silicon Valley.
Our time in the Valley was filled with plenty of learning. Thanks to our clients, presenters and visits to world leaders in innovation, each moment of the trip was an opportunity for growth.
The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Business Consulting Project helped build our knowledge and experience by exposing us to one of the world’s most important tech ecosystems for innovation and entrepreneurship and allowing us to actually engage in our client’s Silicon Valley environment.
This knowledge allowed us to be able to provide solid recommendations to our client, a technology company with a travel-related service, about market segments to target for their subscriptions. This experience, along with the executive briefings, has changed the way we will look at challenges and opportunities in the future and will allow us to bring new perspectives to the table at our own organizations in Ottawa.
But that was only part of what made our overall experience in the Valley a life-changing one.
While the program maximized our opportunities for learning and professional development, it also gave us time for fun. As Executive MBA candidates, we certainly know how to make maximum use of time, and this was clearly demonstrated in our ability to include many leisure activities in our busy schedule – things like bike tours, visits to Alcatraz and a walk along San Francisco’s famed Pier 39; stimulating conversations and delicious food; and nurturing new friendships. We even found time to embrace San Francisco’s nightlife by attending major league baseball games and an NBA playoff basketball contest and taking part in epic karaoke sessions.
Our time in Silicon Valley strengthened our understanding of innovation and the need for collaboration among successful companies; for some it ignited a passion for entrepreneurship. It gave us all the chance to reach outside of our small teams and spend quality time bonding as a cohort.
Indeed, the Valley brought us closer and helped us to better understand each other. As we left San Francisco, we headed home to Ottawa knowing that we are a strong team and can offer each other all the support that we will need to succeed in our second year.
Now, on to the next chapter!
– By Louise Oullette-Bolduc