Whether or not all of the TechTrek West students decide to go into tech after graduation, the trip this past spring to Silicon Valley opened their eyes to new career possibilities. Michael Rosmarin ’20, a finance and information systems student with a minor in philosophy, lived a variation of a story shared by several of his classmates.

“Imagine a kid raised by two business-oriented parents [in] New Jersey,” Rosmarin blogged, “a short drive away from the biggest collection of banks in New York.” Make that kid “good with numbers and attentive to detail,” and he seems bound for Wall Street, Rosmarin suggested. “But then, throw him across the country and into a region completely foreign to him. Put him in a ball pit at Google, in a movie theater at AirBnB [headquarters] . . . show him a vastly different approach to company culture,” Rosmarin continued, and that kid might at least reconsider his career goals, weighing the different workplace cultures.

The contrast isn’t just about ties versus hoodies, either. Tech companies have “redefined what a company can be,” Rosmarin wrote. “It can serve as a platform for social change [or] a vehicle for empowering others. . . . These organizations clearly go beyond the bounds of a rectangular building dedicated to revenue.”

Reim agreed, noting that startup employees “seemed lively and really excited to be at work.” However, Reim won’t write off banking as a career path, he added, because the group also heard from executives like Trevor Stuart, Morrissey ’09, co-founder of Split Software, who spent his early career in banking, where he gained skills he’s found invaluable in tech.

Indeed, the variety of alumni stories taught many of the Trekkers that there is no “entrepreneurship path,” in the sense of a single, sure-fire way up the ladder of Silicon Valley. More broadly, as Rohan Dixit ’20 put it, “There is no capital-F ‘Future’”—a single point in time when success is achieved—but rather a continuous pursuit of self-improvement.

That’s a concept that Dixit, a finance and accounting student with a minor in philosophy, began to contemplate seriously after the class dinner with Miller of Google. He wrote: “Sophie spoke at length about gaining fulfillment in the pursuit” and prizing the journey rather than the destination. Several of Dixit’s classmates were similarly struck by Miller’s exhortation to “always have questions that you are answering.”