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What is a GIFT?

Posted by: Alessandro Mingardi
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Being this close to Christmas, “Global Immersion Field Trip” might not be the first thing that comes to mind.

The acronym comprises an incredibly rich range of experiences from business to social life: a trip abroad that brings together a selected pool students to get to know more about a specific topic. I am writing this piece while on the plane back from the Silicon Valley GIFT (themed “Entrepreneurship and innovation”) and still cannot believe how much happened in such few days.

The Programme Managers and Programme Office outstandingly arranged a five-days schedule packed with extremely stimulating company visits. With the core theme of the GIFT in mind, these spanned from rapidly growing start-ups to affirmed tech giants. Andreessen Horowitz, Apple, Autodesk, Double Dutch, Electronic Arts, Google, People Rocket, Pinterest, Plug&Play,, Singularity University, SoftTech opened us their doors, showing us once more the diversity that LBS commits to. From these companies, we learnt a lot about topics like venture capital funds, platforms, innovative trends, start-ups and tech firms in general. In my case I had never been in Silicon Valley, and this was a wonderful occasion to experience first-hand the unique pervasiveness of its people mind-set, forward-looking and change-embracing. We also attended a networking event with LBS alumni based in San Francisco and the Valley, a fantastic chance to get to know experienced professionals working in the area, as well as -why not- possible future working partners.

However, there has been much more than just business: the GIFT was an amazing opportunity to bond with other students, getting to know new people and cementing already existing friendships. From the 6am breakfasts to the free evenings in San Francisco, passing through the brief moments of break between company visits, the trip has left me with a lot of fun and marvellous stories. It didn’t stop with the week of the GIFT itself: many of us decided to stay in the US after the trip, to embrace our “On the Road” spirit and have a road trip in California or nearby. Even if not all on the same route, we kept in touch and managed to meet in a couple of cities along the way, leading to many more unforgettable memories.

To conclude, while looking back I can only say thank you: to those who organised the trip for making it possible, to those who fully engaged in it for making it one of the many incredible highlights of our LBS experience.

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