Krannert’s “Doing Business in the U.S.” program, introduced in 2010 as part of the school’s city and career trek offerings, helps fill that gap. While city treks are limited to one-day trips to such Midwest business hubs as Chicago, Indianapolis and Cincinnati, career treks take students to more distant and heavily populated regions of the U.S. for a week.

The treks are organized by Mullens and other KPDC staffers in partnership with the school’s external relations and development areas and the Krannert Graduate Student Association (KGSA).

Doing Business in the U.S., which is modeled after similar programs that take students on career treks to other continents, primarily attracts international students while many of their domestic classmates journey overseas for Global Week.

California, here we come

This year, 15 students traveled to Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area in California for five days to explore West Coast businesses and industries. Participants learned about successful corporate global operations and integrated supply chains, networked with Purdue and Krannert alumni, and explored one of the largest regional economies in the country.

“Our friends at the Purdue West Coast Partnership Center (see sidebar) were instrumental in planning and implementing this year’s program,” says Mullens. “We were able to leverage alumni connections and resources to provide students with meaningful contacts that have already generated potential intern and full-time opportunities.”

The group began the week at Cisco Systems, where Charlotte Lunsford (MBA ’01), controller of Go-To-Market Shared Services, led them on a tour of the IT giant’s San Jose headquarters and hosted a Q&A luncheon with a panel of other top executives and Purdue alumni.

“We had the opportunity to ask intriguing questions about Cisco’s businesses and the panelists’ professional development,” says Jing Zhao, a second-year MBA student from China. “They were very welcoming, and it was amazing to learn about the evolution of such a large and innovative company.”


This year's career trek took students to Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area in California for five days to explore West Coast businesses and industries, including Google and Cisco Systems. (Photo by Kris Knotts)

The students also visited with Purdue alumni at Old Navy and Shell Martinez Refinery, and while in Silicon Valley toured the headquarters of LinkedIn and Google.

“The heart of a business is its culture, and LinkedIn had the relaxed and collaborative feel one would expect of a social media company,” says Zhao, who studies operations and supply-chain management. “Employees were openly communicating with each other and we rarely saw anyone working alone.”

Students found a similar work environment at Google, where following the tour they were treated to an hour-long discussion with Purdue alumnus Jim Miller (BSAAE ’86), the Internet company’s vice resident of operations.

“He not only shared valuable experiences from his professional career, but also gave us insight into the unique culture of Google and its long-term growth strategy,” says Sutapa Paul, a second-year MBA from India studying finance and strategic management.

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