Sixiong Peng is a Chinese student studying in Japan, and is a graduate of the Berkeley Haas Global Access Program, which brings international students from diverse backgrounds to study business and entrepreneurship at UC Berkeley. This post originally appeared on his personal blog. It has been edited for clarity and length.
One of my favorite aspects of the Berkeley Haas Global Access Program (BHGAP) were the company visits that took place. Companies around San Francisco and the Silicon Valley opened their arms to us, and it was nice to see such a diverse range of influential companies.
Some of the companies we visited include:
I will discuss the three companies that left a particularly impressive impression, along with some photos.
During the question-and-answer session, it was a meaningful time to ask about a typical day for a Facebook employee, and why they decided to work for the company.
One of our first visits took place at the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California. After the office tour, we had a question-and-answer session with several employees. I could not take pictures inside, but there were cafes and even Chinese restaurants in the main office building! There were also sofas outside and people working there. The space seemed very free and open, and had a lot of creative spaces for the creative work that Facebook is known for. During the question-and-answer session, it was a meaningful time to ask about a typical day for a Facebook employee, and why they decided to work for the company.
We went to the Silicon Valley research and development department at Ford, which is called the Ford Innovation Center. Ford is an historic American car company founded in 1903. However, the Silicon Valley office was as modern as any other venture. There were words written about design thinking on the wall, and there are prototypes everywhere. One particular quotation was striking: “Liberate the human journey,” something that reminded me of the opportunities for company visits and direct networking that BHGAP provides. During the question-and-answer session with the employees, I was able to learn about Ford's projects and hot topics in the automotive field such as automated driving and connected cars.
3. SAP Software Solutions
SAP Software Solutions is a company that produces enterprise software for businesses, and as I recently discovered, also has a venue and event center named after them in San Jose, California. Going into the visit I was embarrassingly not very aware of this business, but learned they actually have clients in a large number of fields. We heard presentations from both engineers and their marketing department about how to commercialize 3D printers and what they are doing with blockchain technology. It was interesting to hear from a company that focused on niche technologies, especially here in the San Francisco Bay Area, an area known for its technological advancements.
Special thanks to Sixiong Peng for sharing his BHGAP experience with us. Read more blog posts from Sixiong here.