Meghan Burt

How would you describe this trip?
I would describe this trip as eye-opening! I learned so much from the company visits, meeting WMU alumni, and generally experiencing a different work culture than I was previously used to in the Midwest.

What was your favorite part of the experience?
My favorite part was definitely the alumni event. I only had time to talk to three alumni because the conversations all went over an hour. I feel like I gained so much insight from connecting with people that have been successful in my goals. Every person I talked to wanted to connect and keep in contact. They also were so willing to help me out and asked me to reach out to them if I needed anything. I think growing my network like this was definitely the most valuable part of the trip.

What did you learn about entrepreneurship and innovation? Did any particular part of the experience change your ideas about entrepreneurship, innovation or technology companies?
The short answer to this is yes! I definitely changed my view of entrepreneurship and innovation. Before this trip, I had a Midwestern view of entrepreneurship. I thought of a person starting a new coffee shop as a startup. Before this trip, I did not know about any of the new technology coming from big data, as well as all of the internet security concerns our country is facing today. It was amazing to see how these startups are making money off of these issues.

What experiences from this trip will you take with you into your future career?
The biggest thing I will take from this trip into my career is the network I have gained. As I discussed before, all of the alumni I met were more than willing to mentor me going forward. It was also awesome to connect with high ups at the startups that will probably make it big one day.

How did this experience compare to your expectations of the experience? What did you learn about yourself in the process?
I think this met my expectations closely, but I was still a little shocked to see all of the things I expected to be true, actually to be true. I have seen movies and media about the relaxed and different working culture of the West coast, but I think it is still shocking to see people wearing sandals in the workplace! I learned more about what I want in my career, and even more that there are so many options I can choose for work culture and lifestyle.

What would you say to a student interested in participating in this experience in the future?
Do it! I had many reservations coming on this trip, for example missing class to joining a team where I didn’t know anyone. However, all of my professors were so understanding of my missing class, and everyone on the team was super welcoming. I’m so glad I went on this trip and gained new friends and experiences.

What did you learn from interacting with business alumni at the alumni event?
Like I said before, this event was really helpful to me. I only had time to talk to three alumni because the conversations all went over an hour. I feel like I gained so much insight from connecting with people that have been successful in my goals. Every person I talked to wanted to connect and keep in contact. They also were so willing to help me out and asked me to reach out to them if I needed anything. I think growing my network like this was definitely the most valuable part of the trip.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you to my professor Barcley Johnson and team leader Kirsten Settle for making this trip possible!

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