Every year 20 of Penn’s most entrepreneurial students take a trip to the San Francisco Bay Area to meet with some of Silicon Valley’s most prominent figures. Participants gain an inside look at the culture of large tech companies, emergent startups, and prominent venture capital firms — heard directly from their founders and executive leadership. Now in its fifth year, the Tech Trek has met with a diverse group of over 50 individuals, including Sal Khan, Andy Rachleff, Sam Altman, Jack Dorsey, and Jack Abraham.
Hearing from Jack Abraham.
Meeting the team at Clever.
"Each day we visited at least 5 firms and spoke directly with the founders and executives, which was a priceless experience! This summer, I actually interned at one of the venture capital firms we visited and am extremely grateful for the exposure from the Tech Trek. What I enjoyed the most, however, was going on a trip with 20 fun, motivated students interested in exploring startups and tech. Bonding from late night trips to In-N-Out and night hikes to the Golden Gate Bridge is definitely a memory I will never forget."
Nikita Patel, Wharton '17
"The Tech Trek was an incredible and formative experience for me as an undergrad. Before going, I knew very little about the tech industry. After going, meeting with tons of Silicon Valley companies, founders, investors, and engineers, I had a much clearer picture of what working in tech is like. Not only that, but the Penn students I met on the trip became some of my closest friends and influences over the next two years."
Jonathan Dubin, College '16
Sal Khan and Khan Academy.
Meeting with Tesla CFO Deepak Ahuja and Penn Alumni.
"The Tech Trek allows you to engage with a variety of people: employees, founders, VCs, and executives, which is quite unique. Also, the trek is a conducive environment to find friends that share your interests."
Hong Kim, Engineering '16
"It was amazing. We got to talk with executives, founders, and investors that we read about in the news but probably would never get a chance to meet otherwise. It was also a great way to meet other like minded people. I met one of my best friends on the trip. It also inspired us to work on software projects which we've been doing ever since."
Hunter Horsley, Wharton '15
Over the course of 4 days, participants in the Penn Tech Trek will visit over 20 companies and speak with over 50 prominent members of the technology industry. This trip is not just a series of recruiting presentations at different companies. Rather, the Tech Trek includes private meetings with the founders, chief officers, venture capitalists, and engineers working at the valley’s most exciting companies. While the trip includes many of the most famous companies in tech, it also focuses on emerging startups and Penn Alumni projects.
Meeting with Jeff Jordan at Andreessen Horowitz.
Presentation at EventBrite.
YC Startup School
Sam Altman and Paul Graham.
As a school still rooted in the entrepreneurial and multidisciplinary ideals of Benjamin Franklin, the University of Pennsylvania has some of the brightest students in the country. The Penn Tech Trek includes a curated sample of these students, admitted via application from the schools of Engineering, Arts & Sciences, Nursing, and Wharton. Their interests include the technical, operational, managerial, and cultural aspects of starting, growing, and running a technology focused company. The Penn Tech Trek enables these students to make life-long connections, learn from leaders in tech, and imagine their own future careers in Silicon Valley.
Some of the Trekkers at Startup School.
Hanging out at "Off the Grid".
Walking to Blend Labs in SF.
The girls of Tech Trek 2014.
A large number of students demonstrate interest in the Penn Tech Trek, necessitating an admissions process. The organizers of the Penn Tech Trek are charged with bringing together a group of students diverse in background, year, and study.
Application for the trip begins with a questionnaire and series of short essays. From there, finalists sit down for a in-person interview with the organizers to learn more about the trip. A final pool of 16 participants are then selected to join the 4 organizers.
Applications for the 2016 Penn Tech Trek are currently closed.
The Penn Tech Trek is completely student organized. The organizers of the 2016 trek are as follows:
"When I helped to found the first tech trek back in 2012, I could never have imagined how successful the trips would have become in exceeding our original goals of securing meetings with incredibly accomplished individuals and alumni in Silicon Valley, attracting Penn's best tech talent to come, and forming lasting relationships between and among participants, speakers, and alumni"
James Feuereisen, College & Wharton '15. Tech Trek Co-founder