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Experiential Learning

Spring Break in Silicon Valley

What is Spring Break in Silicon Valley (SBinSV)?

Spring Break in Silicon Valley (SBinSV) is designed to give students a firsthand look at the companies, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists, and their way of life (both personal and professional) in San Francisco and California’s Silicon Valley. This program is open to students from all majors, all schools and colleges, and all degree programs.

Application and Deadline

The next Spring Break in Silicon Valley will take place March 2020. The application will open fall 2019, with applications due mid-November.

What Does A Typical Day on Spring Break in Silicon Valley Look Like?

  • 7:00 - 9:00 a.m. - Wake up and eat breakfast at hotel with Syracuse University alumni
  • 9:30 - 11:00 a.m. - Visit Company 1
  • 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. - Visit Company 2
  • 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. - Lunch and visit Company 3
  • 3:00 - 3:30 p.m. - Coffee break
  • 3:45 - 5:00 p.m. - Visit Company 4
  • 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. - Interactive activity that may include snacks with Company 5
  • 7:30 - 9:00 p.m. - Dinner and nighttime cultural element
  • 9:30 - 10:30 p.m. - Debrief at the hotel

Why is Spring Break in Silicon Valley Important?

For students to:

  • Learn what you want in employment
  • Distinguish what you like in a city
  • Learn what recruiters are looking for
  • Connect within a company
  • Deepen connection to Syracuse University through alumni networking

For alumni to:

  • Show off where you work
  • Pay it forward to students who were once in your shoes
  • Meet potential interns and hires
  • Establish relationships within the University after graduating
  • Have a source for focus group studies within your company

For sponsors to:

  • Create a groundbreaking learning style for Syracuse University
  • Foster the connections between alumni and students
  • Pique the interest of alumni in other cities to participate in an immersion program
  • Spread the Orange influence everywhere
  • Influence a current student’s trajectory toward their future careers

What Students Say About Spring Break in Silicon Valley

Overall, SBinSV proved that successful companies deploy positive thinking and intellectual curiosity in order to achieve its goal. Ninety-seven percent of startups fail, but based on this trip, the easiest way to balance the odds is to enjoy what you’re doing and renew your positive approach to your career every day. - Nick Hennion, Public Relations ‘18
While college is a significant time in one’s life, it does not determine what one will do with their life. Whether it was public policy, industrial engineering, or philosophy, our group saw a variety of disciplines in a variety of positions. More than anything, employers are seeking people who are not only gritty, but willing to learn. - Nicole Llewellyn, Chemical Engineering ‘21
On the trip, I think almost every person I talked to is doing something different that what they majored in in college. For example, at Lux Capital, Peter was a PR major like me and now he is an angel investor! Those kinds of visits inspired me that the possibilities for what I can do in the future are endless, and it is all up to me to decide what I want to do. - Ashley Steinberg, Public Relations ‘20
Honestly, I was not so confident at first because I do not have a traditional IT or coding background like the majority of professionals in this industry. However, after spending 4 days exploring different companies in the Valley ranges from early- stage startups (Threadloom, Elevate, Yewno), tech giants (Google, Uber, Twitter), and venture capital (Lux Capital), I learned that career opportunity for business professionals in technology industry is plentiful. - Dew Mekto, Finance ‘18
With a lot of passion, a lot of persistence, and a little bit of being stubborn, I am now confident that I, as well as anyone else who is willing to work for it, can thrive in Silicon Valley. - David Robusto, Information Management & Technology and Public Policy ‘19
One thing I noticed on the trip that stood out early and kept going throughout the week was how close the Syracuse alum community in that area was. It was reassuring to know that because it really gives you an idea of the people you study with in classes could really help you down the road, so it is extremely important to work diligently with your classmates. Many alumni worked with each other in the past and many suggested them for potential roles whether that was in their company or elsewhere in the Silicon Valley area. That really stood out to me and I loved that. - Ryan Ratty, Information Management & Technology ‘19
It was the simple fact that every single employee that we talked to on this visit loved their job and loved working at that company. Each employee displayed their passion for their career and why coming into work in the morning didn’t really feel like work for them. It was then that I realized the true technique in prospering in Silicon Valley and that technique is loving what you do in your career. -Kameron Scott, Information Management & Technology ‘19
Being a Visual and Performing Arts student, I did not realize how dependent the technical side of a team was on their designers. In fact, those who worked in the Silicon Valley area was able to see and analyze the growth of the company through multiple designs creatives would develop for a specific project or product. It’s truly inspiring to see VPA alumni flourish and overcome hardships in their careers and continue to pursue their ambitions. - Anna Khiari Information Management & Technology and Transmedia ‘20

Spring Break in Silicon Valley Course Description

The Spring Break in Silicon Valley cohort travels to the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley and spends 5 days meeting with information-based organizations. Daily visits provide the cohort with a well-rounded vision of the innovative ecosystem and its cultural context.

Accordingly, students are required to study the subject ecosystem and its companies prior to the trip, need to record their observations during the trip, and provide a reflection piece upon their return. Students are required to synthesize their observations by reporting back best practices to a local Syracuse firm.

This course involves travel and significant dedication. In addition to the approximate 100 contact hours during the trip itself, there are several mandatory pre-meetings, one required local company contact session, several writing assignments and a final presentation required.

Program Fee

The program fee is $750. However, the Rob Harris '77 G'79 Fund for Student Immersion Experiences provides a $500 scholarship to all accepted applicants that results in a final out-of-pocket cost of $250.

The $250 fee covers meals, lodging, and transportation for the duration of the trip. Harris believes that all students should have the ability to attend iSchool immersion programs, regardless of ability to pay.

Admissions Information

Applications for Spring Break in Silicon Valley open in the fall semester and the week-long immersion program takes place in early January each year.

Spring Break in Silicon Valley is a competitive program with limited space.

To be considered for admission, you should have, at the time of application, a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.00 on a 4.00 scale. In addition to GPA, we place a strong emphasis on your Experiential Learning statement, to be submitted as part of this application. We are also asking for applicants to submit a short video describing what they envision as the ideal company or organization to visit on this trip. These details are all contained in the application.

Students who participate in this program are expected to not only represent themselves well, but also act as strong ambassadors for Syracuse University. In order for this opportunity to be made available to future students, current students must work to ensure that we are invited back to the companies who host us during this event.

Admissions decisions are based on a full review of the application file, including the transcript, resume, the Experiential Learning statement, short video, and any disciplinary records. Once admitted to the program, you must remain a student in good standing (academic and judicial) to stay eligible to participate in this program.

Please note that the generous support for the program indicates what an incredible opportunity this experience is. As such, the Board, the iSchool, and Syracuse University expect students to maintain attitudes and behaviors that represent themselves, and their institutions, in the best possible light. Please work to ensure that you put your best foot forward, and perform such that those who are hosting and funding this visit will look forward to doing so again in the future.

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