Teen sets bar high — Silicon Valley career
December 13, 2012 3:06PM
Updated: January 15, 2013 6:11AM
Dear Mr. Bradshaw — I really want to be located near the center of technological innovation when I go to college.
I am a junior in high school and have been looking at colleges that offer business and engineering programs.
My question is, which schools are the best for helping to get a job in Silicon Valley? Not everyone can get into Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley.
What makes the Bay Area so attractive to so many technology companies? — StudentDear Student
— The center of the universe.
Brilliantly interesting people.
These are frequently used phrases used to describe the area known as Silicon Valley.
Sandwiched between Berkeley and Stanford, it is alive with the scent of eucalyptus trees and with the wine country and the beautiful San Francisco Bay to the north. This is an area that attracts some of the best minds in the world.
If you have an idea that borders on changing the world, you’ll be taken seriously here. And, a lot of money will back you up, if you have what it takes.
But you are right — not all students will gain admission to Stanford and Berkeley. Although these universities are heavily represented at most technology companies, they are by no means in the majority.
Where else do they find their talent? You might be surprised to learn that it comes from all over the country and many parts of the world. The international flavor of Silicon Valley makes it a haven for students who want to be around the very best and brightest. Only diversity of the highest level can produce this kind of culture.
Let’s start at the top of the pecking order with Stanford and Berkeley. Both have strong computer programs and very powerful, influential business schools. The combination of talent and the ability to create and sell innovative ideas that abounds in these institutions quite often leads to the making of very young millionaires.
Consider that Stanford is a stone’s throw away from Facebook, Hewlett-Packard and Google. You might say these companies are an extension of Stanford’s campus.
Berkeley is a few miles north and famous not only for funneling scientific talent into Silicon Valley, but also for the Hass School of Business, one of the nation’s best.
You do not have to attend Stanford or Berkeley to find your way into a major Silicon Valley company or become part of a scrappy startup.
Santa Clara University, located near Stanford, is also a top producer of talent. Many of its graduates are employed by these companies.
Santa Clara also might appeal to students who are leaning toward Notre Dame, because it is less difficult to get in.
If you are in the top 5 per cent of your class, Santa Clara’s admissions rate of 58 percent — versus Notre Dame’s 24 percent — makes it an attractive choice.
Of particular interest might be Santa Clara’s Leavey School of Business, which ranks highly among undergraduate business schools.
Silicon Valley is a magnet for people who think differently, who are smart and can act on their ideas. The area is saturated with talent and rewards creativity, which is the best reason to concentrate your college search there.