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MBAs See The Growth Hacking Magic In Silicon Valley

Cass Business School MBAs were surprised and inspired by Silicon Valley's offering. The tech hub holds huge promise for those with an entrepreneurial mind-set.

By  Seb Murray

Tue Apr 8 2014

BusinessBecause
As a marketing manager in London, Jeanine Leuckel didn’t get many opportunities to visit Silicon Valley. But about a month ago, she was standing in WePay’s San Francisco Bay offices, the leading online payment provider.

“They had almost a life-size football pitch in the middle of the office,” says Jeanine, who joined Cass Business School last year. She was sampling Silicon Valley as part of a full-time MBA trip. The other half of her class was on a marketing trip in Las Vegas.

Jeanine is the president of Cass's Marketing Society. Much of functional opportunities in Silicon Valley were focused on growth hacker marketing, the secret weapon behind the launches of some of the hottest tech companies.

Growth hacking, hailed by Facebook and co, is a new type of marketing which "breaks the rules", according leading tech entrepreneurs. “That’s something that you can really see in action and strategy, and what companies do to grow,” says Jeanine, who ultimately hopes to work in an SME after graduating.

The Cass MBAs visited four different companies a day for four days – including Google and Salesforce Inc. A bevy of start-ups were also on the agenda. “We tried to cover each stage of the Silicon Valley ecosystem, including the early stage start-ups that have grown rapidly,” says Jeanine.

They also visited Silicon Valley Bank and Stanford University, which houses one of the United States’ best business schools. “We tried to understand what makes it so successful,” says Jeanine, explaining the tech hub. “What makes this ecosystem as successful as it is? How does innovation work?”

The closest thing Europe has to Silicon Valley is Tech City in London, a stone’s throw away from Cass’s campus. But the U.S version is much more than a big entrepreneurial hub, says Damon Koo, a Cass MBA student who took the trip.

“Companies were not shy to admit they are not making any profits at the moment,” says Damon, who worked in financial services in Korea. “Instead, they are focusing on scaling up as fast as they can, and building the framework for what will eventually become multi-billion dollar businesses.”

He plans to launch his own start-up after graduation. The trip was inspiring and has cemented his aspirations. “It opened my eyes to a new horizon of creativity and I witnessed a community of people that will drive the growth in global technology,” says Damon, who will graduate from Cass’s MBA this year.

He met Oracle, Cisco, Rocketspace and Eventbrite, among other top tech companies and accelerators. Start-up founders in Silicon Valley are facing stiff competition for promising talent, but no one “applies for a job”. “Start-ups invite students to pizza parties, hoping they will ‘get to know’ the right candidates,” says Damon.

“Or they will reach out to friends and ex-colleagues, or even cycling buddies, to receive recommendations.”

Damon developed new contacts through the visit’s networking opportunities. The highlight of his trip, however, was visiting Eventbrite, the online ticketing service. “I had no idea that they were trying to change the landscape in the event industry from the bottom-up,” Damon explains.

“Now, there are events, audiences, music bloggers, friends, backyard barbeques, and retailers all connected via Eventbrite. This is what is so amazing about Silicon Valley; you are surrounded by people who want to and are capable of making a meaningful impact on the world.”

In Europe, start-ups are more reserved. But in Silicon Valley, the MBAs were treated to an open culture. “Everybody wants to show you what they’re doing. The logic is that an initial idea is never what you start a business with; you will revise the idea over and over again,” says Jeanine, who worked as a freelance marketing consultant before beginning her MBA.

“Everybody shares and collaborates, and it’s all about execution.” Many of Cass’s MBAs will likely enter entrepreneurial ventures. But Jeanine wants to stick with digital marketing.

For Damon, the trip has changed his vision. “The biggest takeaway from the trip for me was that Silicon Valley is not just a ‘bigger’ entrepreneurial hub,” he says.

“The Silicon Valley trip was not only inspiring in that I had opportunities to hear from people who built multi-billion dollar businesses from scratch, but it also changed my perspective of entrepreneurship.”

The MBA student is unsure whether it will open up job opportunities in the tech hub, but he is optimistic. “For now, I'm just very excited that I got to know some of the most interesting people I have ever met.”  

Student Reviews

Bayes Business School

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Verified

31/10/2023

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Best Journalism school in Europe

When I first stepped onto the campus of City, University of London, I knew I was in for a ride - and not just on the Tube! With its vibrant energy and an impressive repertoire of programs, City U became my home away from home. The Journalism program was kind of a big deal. Rumour was that we were the best in Europe! The lecturers were not just experts in their field; they’re practically journalistic royalty. They were invested, passionate, and had a knack for turning the most flat press release into a riveting news story. With their guidance, I’ve learned to navigate the chaotic world of media like a pro. The campus was a melting pot of every culture, being that we had such a diverse international crowd. Being in the heart of London, I had the world at my fingertips - there was always a new corner to explore, a hidden gem of a cafe to discover, or a street performer! City, University of London wasn't just a university; it was a chapter in my life story that I’ll never forget.

Lydia

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23/02/2023

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Learning environment

The teacher-learner ration is manageable, giving each learner a chance to gain personal attention. It is also easier following up on the progress of a student, as the numbers per class is not large. the conducive environment for learning includes clean classes, standard desks, world class instructional facilities and the opportunity to engage lecturers even after their sessions. The team spirit at City is above board, with learners getting chance to learn both from instructors and colleagues. This is the university of choice; the place to be.

Nathaniel

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I liked that each class had a manageable number of learners, making the professor-learner ratio favor knowledge acquisition. I also liked that study schedules were manageable, and not overwhelming. The focus on talents and gifts even within the learning environment makes it possible for learners to achieve the best of their potential, and this has worked to the advantage of those that have schooled at City, University of London

Muhammad

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24/01/2023

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The diversity at City University facilitates interactions and is a direction toward the unity of the world. The classes are well built to match the number and needs of all students regardless of the elements of diversity that set people apart. The use of technology in delivery makes learning even more interesting and achievable. At City University there is no distinction pegged on the issues that make people unique.

Dorah

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professors

The team of lecturers at the Uiversity are well experienced. Their level of insight and the methodologies of delivery works for the interes of the leaeners. My learning experience was largely boosted by the level of knowledge of the professors at the institution, and their passion to transfer the same to learners. I appreciate every class I attended because of the level of insight I was able to gather

Nora

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17/12/2022

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The best university I’ve been to

The campus and the people I've met have made it a wonderful experience. I was reared in a small town with a graduating class of only 88 individuals, so moving to City University was a huge adjustment for me. My dorm has more residents than my whole high school combined! I enjoy the atmosphere here, and everyone is so friendly. Outstanding academic options and a stunning campus. Really great from beginning to end. The educators genuinely love what they do, and the students are ready to learn. On or around college, there is always something to do with friends, and the social scene is particularly warm.

Antonia

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21/11/2022

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Bayes Business School

As a student at City university attending Bayes Business School I would totally recommend choosing this university as the experience is exceptional with great social networking opportunities . Professors are significantly helpful, delivering with excellence and professionalism. Everyone is happy to help and make you feel welcomed in such an esteem university as City, offering exceptional development and guidance through out the course.

Muhammad

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15/11/2022

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Economics and Politics

Incredibly amazing university, the way they polish students and help them boost their morale and think intellectually is worthwhile. Many universities have international partnerships to allow exchanges between their students. The most obvious subjects for these opportunities would be those that involve languages, and the study of people and places.

Navya

Verified

11/11/2022

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Clinical biology

I really like it it’s perfect for me with not too many people and not too few either. All the modules are amazing. I love the toy bar. I love all the societies that I’ma part of. Especially the colour Bollywood society

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