Instead of bundling up in chilly Denver over winter break, 13 Daniels students spent part of December in sunny California riding bikes around Google’s campus, seeing the sights in San Francisco, networking with Daniels alums, and meeting business analytics professionals from companies like APT, Charles Schwab, Google, Levi’s, Snowflake, Visa and Zephyr Health.

Daniels students on Google’s campus

These lucky 13, who obviously got more than just a sun tan from their visit to the Golden State, were enrolled in “Analytics in Silicon Valley,” an aptly named business analytics course with a northern California travel component.

Course instructor, Department Chair and Associate Professor of Business Analytics Andrew Urbaczewski said, “This class provided students with an intensive opportunity to visit the tech capital of the world, network with business professionals—many of whom are alums of DU—and understand what their careers are like. These students saw not just an algorithm or a line of code, but how these companies are using business analytics to improve their processes, enter new markets, be more efficient, and in some cases, help save lives.”

The group at Charles Schwab

For Daniels student Joshua Cole, a senior majoring in business analytics, one of the biggest takeaways from the course was seeing the concepts and tools he’s learned in the classroom applied in the real world. “Knowing that what we’re learning is 100 percent applicable to our future careers, and to what companies are doing right now, really helped solidify my choice to study business analytics,” he said.

Josh Lucero, Cole’s classmate and fellow business analytics major, said that visiting Snowflake, a cloud data warehouse company based in San Mateo, California, was the most meaningful part of the trip. “As someone who’s fascinated by data architecture, I thought [the representatives from Snowflake] explained a lot of excellent use cases and emphasized ways that their product can really improve an enterprise-wide information management system.”

Students also visited Visa

Master of Science in Business Analytics student Liam Healy seemed to get the most out of a presentation from representatives at APT, a business analytics software company with a regional office in San Francisco, California. “I thought they did an excellent job of explaining the role that analytics played at their company, as well as allowing us to get a nice insight into the world of consulting. APT was very open about how their analytics had helped other companies, and about how not using analytics can ruin a company.”

In addition to visiting with local companies, students also had the opportunity to meet with some of DU’s California-based alums at a networking reception. Jacquelyn English, a Daniels student pursuing business analytics as a minor, reflected on the experience. “I was able to ask [Daniels alum] William King (founder, executive chairman and interim CEO at Zephr Health) for advice on entering the professional world. We discussed salary negotiations and he encouraged me to always ask for what I think I’m worth because there’s no harm in asking. I was able to put that advice to the test by negotiating aspects of a recent job offer—all because of his encouragement.”

While the students gleaned a wealth of information throughout the trip that will undoubtedly help them in their future careers, Urbaczewski  was most proud of their professionalism, engagement and the positive way in which they represented Daniels. He said,  “It made me feel really good about the future for these students.”

For more information on Daniels’ business analytics program, visit daniels.du.edu/business-information-analytics/.