Networking with tech professionals in San Francisco has boosted De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) students’ knowledge about the digital sector and their employability.
The group at LinkedIn's headquarters in San Francisco
Students benefitted from attending interactive workshops run by leading industry names Google, LinkedIn, Zendesk and Handshake, as well as the chance to talk with staff and ask them questions.
Organised by the university’s careers programme – DMU Works – and its international experience initiative – DMU Global – the trip was open to students from a range of courses, including Cyber Security, Computer Games Programming and Psychology.
As well as focusing on academic and workplace benefits, the trip gave students the chance to soak up the culture through visits to iconic locations such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island.
Computer Science student Thomas Wilson took Japanese language classes with DMU Global last year, before exploring other available opportunities and signing up for the Californian adventure.
The 24-year-old from Nantwich said: “The trip was so exciting and an amazing opportunity – one that I hope every DMU student gets to experience.
“We met a lot of interesting people who gave us advice to make us more employable for the future. I learned the importance of building a well-structured LinkedIn profile and how effective networking is for a beginner within any industry, as well as for furthering your career later in life.”
The knowledge that Thomas accumulated through his degree, as well as a year-long work placement as an e-commerce developer at Next, enabled him to take full advantage of the opportunity.
Thomas in front of the Golden Gate Bridge
“I could engage effectively with the industry experts and delve into areas of computer science that I wish to explore further, even going as far as continuing a conversation via LinkedIn with a Google expert working in AI, which was especially valuable because I’m doing an master’s in AI next,” he said.
“Recreationally, some of my favourite moments were going to Alcatraz Island and seeing lots of seals there, as well as running across the Golden Gate Bridge.”
Charlotte Hines-Randle, a Business Management student, found the trip to be a powerful way to round off her university years.
The 22-year-old from Birmingham said: “It was a confidence-boosting experience. I have anxiety so used the trip to overcome that by speaking in front of people, including company experts. It’s honestly one of my biggest accomplishments.
Charlotte on Lombard Street, famous for its steep, one-block section with eight hairpin turns
“I found it so valuable to connect with employees, managers, CTOs and CEOs from Fortune 500 companies, as well as other Silicon Valley organisations. They had such remarkable knowledge that they shared with myself and my peers.
“It was extraordinary having the opportunity to build on what I learned on my degree by visiting and interacting with stakeholders from each organisation.”
The experience was the “perfect balance between visiting companies and exploring the city”, according to Charlotte.
“As a sports fan, one of my favourite parts was going to a baseball game between the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals, which was really exciting,” she said.
“I made friends for life on this trip. It really was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which I am grateful to DMU Global for creating.”
Posted on Thursday 22nd September 2022