Anisha Silicon Valley

September 2021


“If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair”- Scott Mckenzie’s lyrics tiptoe into my mind as I think about the semester that I have had so far in Silicon Valley. While the tune played in the background of my house in India, I had often heard my father speak of sea lions on Pier 39, of the winding Lombard Street, and of the agile surfers braving Santa Cruz’s waves. As a child, sitting 8,000 miles away in Kolkata, San Francisco seemed to be a magical place. Now, even when I am right in the heart of San Francisco, in Silicon Valley, Palo Alto, the vibrant atmosphere of the place never fails to amaze me. The spirit of entrepreneurship, innovation, and design moves every aspect of my being as I take classes, attend alumni talks, work for a startup, and explore the Bay Area. 

September started off with a bang, having recently moved into an apartment where I had to procure my own meals and not rely on pre-prepared dining-hall food was challenging. Most importantly, I had to navigate through the new space that I was in, converse with my apartment-mates, and learn from local experiences. Additionally, I wanted to reach out to startup companies whose missions aligned with my passions. As a student with a double major in Business Analytics and Economics alongside a minor in Collaborative Innovations, the idea of creating data visuals to simplify business processes and statistics really interests me. 


Having the business technical skills and an inclination for design, I believed that the Silicon Valley Semester would be the perfect fit for me to follow my passions. Not only does the program provide a great theoretical learning experience, but it also provides real-world practical engagements, located in the heart of innovation. The program is modeled such that students are required to attend classes on Tuesday and Thursday while working for a company the remaining three days of the week. Some of the specific classes that this program offers are Conveying Visual Data Insights and Design Matters. Not only would these classes fulfill my major and minor requirements, but they would also allow me to engage in my field of interest which is creating compelling data visuals and telling data stories. 

By Mid-September, I was finally able to procure an internship at a startup called Ecomedes, Inc. Ecomedes is a building sustainability startup organization that provides data to organizations across the corporate spectrum, ranging from mid-sized firms to large global corporations. Ecomedes analyzes the component parts of any given company’s product, then provides information on the respective sustainability attributes of each one. The company then creates dashboards for each company, registering its insights on the respective company’s products to a specific domain. I have been heavily involved, thus far, in analytics work for the company, creating Ecomedes dashboards that my supervisor will use in meetings with our client companies. Though this level of responsibility is new to me, I am excited for the challenges to come, as I am finally getting to apply the skills from my Business Analytics major and Collaborative Innovations minor to a practical, real-world setting. Currently, I am working on going into each Ecomedes client dashboard and pulling insights into a separate presentation.

By localizing insights across various clients, I am adding value to the company and simultaneously building my personal skill set, which is something that I greatly value. 


Alongside my work for Ecomedes, I have also been juggling my career aspirations in consulting. And since the dreaded recruiting season has come (I am reminded of the famous line, “The Ides of March have come), I am working hard to manage my time well, as I know I need to uphold my strong academic performance, remain involved in my clubs back in South Bend, enjoy beautiful 

California, and run cases as often as possible. Being in Silicon Valley, however, is providing me with some incredibly interesting insights into my vocational journey. While I am still interested in consulting and continue to network with firms I am currently recruiting with, I have also developed a keen interest in entrepreneurship and innovation. With my background in design, I have always been interested in the human-centered design component of innovation. However, speaking to all of the ND alumni entrepreneurs here in the Bay Area has inspired me to seek out such opportunities for myself. With each subsequent speaker our cohort attracts, I learn something new, and I cannot wait to see how my Silicon Valley journey continues to unfold. 

October 2021


This past month in Palo Alto has been yet another fantastic one. As a person who has dreamed of living in the Bay Area since she was a child, I made sure to go on all the trips organized by our program. In Sausalito, a quaint town on the other end of the Golden Gate Bridge, I gawked at the Blue Angels do stunning tricks across the sky. The jet streams from their airplane engines created loops of clouds in the sky, and I was able to see the Bay Area from an entirely different light. As we trekked up the cliffs on Rodeo Beach, I was mesmerized by the deep blue, pacific waters that reached far out into the horizon. I felt royal as I walked down the corridors of the Historic Filoli House, in which the TV Series Dynasty was filmed. I giggled as I tried out free samples from the Farmer’s Market in Downtown San Francisco. And finally, I had this childish excitement in my eyes as I ordered a scoop of sweet potato pie ice-cream from Salt & Straw, a local favorite in Palo Alto.

Moreover, the seasons in the Bay Area do not change as much as they do at Notre Dame, and I was so excited to find this out for myself. As a person who has lived her whole life in a warm tropical place, when October rolled in and the sunshine did not fade away, I was delighted. To not have the permacloud drape itself over the sky made my heart do a little tap dance. Everything is still bright and cheery in the Bay as it has been since August, and this lifts my spirits. However, the month of October is a big one in India as the festival of Diwali falls close to Halloween weekend. To not be at home and light a diya, an Indian candle, and to not exchange Indian sweets made my heart sink. I wanted to wear a lehenga, an Indian dress, and dance to Bollywood Music. Instead, we cooked some classic Indian foods together such as Palak Paneer and Curry Chawal and shared stories of our childhood in the warm jacuzzi that Oak Creek Apartments has.


Clearly, the Silicon Valley Semester has continued to be an incredibly personally edifying experience for me. I feel like I have been able to grow as a person, student, and intellectual through this program. Importantly, I have also been able to grow as a professional. The Silicon Valley Semester program has helped me further understand what I want to do with my life, which is something I am incredibly grateful for. Although I came into this semester aspiring to a career in management consulting, all the exposure I have received to the world of technology has inspired me to pursue something in that space. We recently had a panel of Notre Dame MBA alumni, all of whom were product managers at top tech companies like Google and Cisco. Before the panel, I didn’t even know what product management entailed. However, now that I understand that it represents the intersection between business and technology, I think this people-facing position might well be the perfect fit for me.


From a professional lens, it is also very interesting to me how easy it is to network here. A few days ago, I went to the apartment complex’s hot tub with a couple of my friends, and we ran into a lady there who was a product manager at Google, in charge of the video component of the search engine. I was able to ask her lots of questions about her role at Google, and learned a lot about the company, all while soaking leisurely in the jacuzzi. I became even more fascinated with tech companies like Google when our cohort took a trip to the Googleplex, the Silicon Valley headquarters of the tech giant. Riding bikes around the campus, looking at the volleyball courts, and staring at the beautifully designed buildings, I felt like I was on a college campus. The sort of collegiate environment that Silicon Valley companies such as Google and Facebook foster is very appealing to me and is something I would love to pursue.

As my Silicon Valley Semester comes to a close, I look forward to enjoying the last few weekend trips our cohort does, learning more about the tech industry, and relishing the beautiful weather here in Palo Alto!