EntreTechNYC participants pose for a group picture after their visit to Foursquare.

By: J.D. Ross
(315) 443-3094

When deciding where they want to work after they graduate, students have many questions. What’s the culture like? Will I be a good fit in this environment? Will this be interesting work?

This week, a group of fifteen undergraduate and graduate Syracuse University students is getting a chance to ask these questions, and many more, as they explore the startup ecosystem in New York City.  They are part of the EntreTechNYC trip, organized by the School of Information Studies (iSchool).

Similar to the iSchool’s Spring Break in Silicon Valley trip, which celebrated its fourth year in March, EntreTechNYC is an immersion experience that brings students into emerging companies for a close inside look at the work they do, the company culture, and some one-on-one time with employees, many of whom are Syracuse graduates themselves. This is the second year that the iSchool has run the trip.

At location-based social networking app company Foursquare, co-founder and CEO Dennis Crowley ’98 spent nearly an hour with the students, talking about the evolution of the Foursquare app, and how recent improvements and launch of its new Swarm app were changing how users explore cities and find new venues.

iSchool senior Chichen Wang signed up for EntreTechNYC because he wanted to get a broad view of different work cultures. “I’m interested to see the difference between a corporate environment versus a startup environment,” he explained. “I think this is a good way for me to learn more about startups, but I’m very open as to where I’d like to work in the future.”

“For me, I think it has been most helpful to hear stories from the employees about where they started, and how their career has progressed,” said Emily Fesnak, a junior at Syracuse’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. “I also never realized how important a culture fit was at a company, and now I know what questions to ask about it at an interview.”

Fesnak and other students spent their breakfast time each morning of the trip with alumni who stopped in to talk about their careers, and offer advice.

One of the breakfast guests was Sam Clarvit ’10, who works as an infrastructure service support analyst at JPMorgan Chase. Clarvit told the group of students he was dining with to build on their experiences at every place they work.

“Take what you’ve learned, as you progress through your career, and apply it to other places.” he advised. “And don’t get too comfortable, you want to challenge yourself.”

Clarvit also had some advice for questions that the students should pose as they travel to different startups. “Ask them how often they fail,” he suggested. “Companies that fail actually do very well, because you often learn more from your failures than from your successes.”

This year, the EntreTechNYC trip visited the following startups:

  • 360i
  • Arkadium
  • BrandYourself
  • Foursquare
  • Gilt
  • General Assembly
  • Google
  • Huffington Post
  • LinkedIn
  • Night Agency
  • Oovoo
  • Perka
  • RebelMouse
  • Single Platform
  • ZocDoc

A daily recap of the trip has been posted to the iSchool's Information Space blog.