College of Business

Experiential Learning Trips Successful

Group of JMU students posed on and around the Google headquarters sign

SUMMARY: Opportunities for experiential learning activities are a hallmark of the College of Business. This year, more than 30 students took advantage of this opportunity by participating in trips to Silicon Valley/San Francisco and the Washington, D.C. Metro area.

Opportunities for experiential learning activities are a hallmark of the College of Business. This year, more than 30 students took advantage of this opportunity by participating in trips to Silicon Valley/San Francisco and the Washington, D.C. Metro area.

Experiential Learning Trip: Silicon Valley and San Francisco, Ca.

On Sunday, March 9, 2015, ten students departed for San Francisco and Silicon Valley, Calif. where they would spend the next week meeting and networking with JMU alumni and learning about business and industry in Northern California.  The group began connecting immediately with JMU alumni upon their arrival in California, visiting with JMU alumnus David Nebinski from Transit Screen just a few hours after their plane had landed.

The following day, the students’ company visits began.  They started their tour at Airbnb where they met and learned from JMU alumni David Rabil and Shanna Torey.  The second stop of the day was at Square, where they visited with JMU alumna Caitlin Friel.  Later that afternoon the group continued on to Visa, where they toured Visa’s new innovation center and visited with JMU alumni Esther Lee and Michael Ross.  The day’s activities concluded with a networking dinner with Lee and Ross.

“The kindness, hospitality, and generosity shown to our group by JMU alumni and even the other employees who are not JMU alumni was incredible,” said senior management student Hannah Nyberg.

On the third day, the group took a few hours off from their company visits to explore the California coast. Later that day they visited venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, where they heard presentations from four start-up companies and learned how small business start and find capital to grow. 

Day four of the trip took the students to the home and actual garage where Bill Hewlett and David Packard started their business, now known as Hewlett Packard (HP).  After learning the history of HP, they went to HP’s headquarters to learn more about HP and its role as an international technology company.  JMU alumnus and Executive Vice President of Technology and Operations John Hinshaw and his team hosted the group.

That evening, the College of Business students connected with JMU’s student Society of Entrepreneurs to attend a student/alumni networking reception in San Francisco.  Over 35 JMU alumni from the Bay Area came to meet and network with the students.  “It was a valuable learning experience spending three hours networking with everyone,” said Nyberg. “I enjoyed hearing all the stories of where alumni started in their careers and how they got to where they are today.”

On the last full day of their trip, the students visited with JMU alumna Allison Von Hausen, who now works for Apple, followed by visits to Google and Salesforce, where they connected with more JMU alumni including Woodson Martin, Lynne Zaledonis, Jessica Roth, David Donofrio, and John Taschek.

All of the students agreed that the experience helped them develop their networking skills and identify clearer career paths.

Experiential Learning Trip: Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia

On March 22, 2015, 22 students made their way to Washington, D.C., to visit and learn about the wide range of opportunities for business majors in the D.C. metro area. The D.C. trip was coordinated by alumni trip coordinators Dan Dzuiba and Jeff Mullen, along with the CoB Office of Experiential Learning. 

The trip began with a “practice” networking event to help the students develop and hone their networking skills.  On the following day, the students toured Accenture, Deloitte, and Booz Allen Hamilton and learned about the vast opportunities for business majors in consulting firms. Their day ended with an alumni mixer at the Deloitte offices in Tyson’s Corner, Va., attended by over 60 alumni.  

During the last leg of the group’s journey, the students were split into three tracks: Finance, Marketing/CIS, and Entrepreneurship. The Marketing/CIS group visited data analytics firm Upper Quadrant and met and learned from JMU alumnus Bill Vance; they also visited with JMU alumnus Mike Battle at BRMi.  The Entrepreneurship group started their day at new start up 540 Consulting and networked with JMU alumnus Patrick Knowlan.  In the afternoon, they visited JMU alumni Jeff Grass and Tim Gillins at LiveSafe.  Some students also had the opportunity to shadow JMU alumni at their places of business.  Two of the shadow executives, JMU alumni David Grant of FEMA and Dan Riordan of the IRS, provided students with an inside look at business and the federal government.

“The College of Business Experiential Learning trips provide our students an inside look at a variety of industries and careers.  This experience helps students develop their own personal career goals.  We are so thankful for the support we receive from JMU alumni to make these experiences possible,” said Samantha Collier, Director of Experiential Learning. 

Published: Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Last Updated: Friday, July 22, 2016

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