So as you might know by now from reading some of my other blog posts, I am very involved with USC’s National Organization for Business and Engineering (NOBE). I currently serve as the vice president. As a result, I got a really cool opportunity to attend the NOBE national convention last weekend in Philidelphia, PA at Drexel University. The convention was a chance for all the chapters of NOBE across the US (it’s a young organization, and there are about 7 of us right now, primarily on the East Coast) to meet up and get a sense of what’s going on with each other. USC is actually the only West Coast school that has a NOBE club, and we are definitely trying to help with the expansion process. However, since we are the only West Coast chapter, and this was our first convention, all the other schools were pretty excited to see us. They made it very clear that they want us to host it next year:) While I was there, I got to talk to the other officers about what we were doing in our clubs. A lot of the chapters shared things like internal issues/general problems they wanted to fix within their chapters. We all got a chance to workshop, and chapter officers were able to give advice to one another about best practices etc. Additionally, we did all the housekeeping type stuff, like electing a new national board and amending certain parts of our constitution.
However, the highlights of the conference were the parts not directly related to NOBE itself, but rather what we are all about. Namely, combining various disciplines, the entrepreneurial spirit, and teamwork in the workplace and beyond. Microsoft served as a major sponsor of the event and held two competitions. In the first one, we were put in teams of 3 with students from different schools to create something out of various garbage given to us. We were then asked to sell it/pitch it to judges in front of our peers. Our group let our imaginations run a little wild. We make a solar powered hat with a radio antennae and a couple of other gadgets. I was very proud of our group, and despite feasability issues, the judges really took a liking to my marketing skills (I may or may not have danced and starred in an original skit to sell our hat). The next day, we were broken in to teams by school and given 30 minutes to develop an idea for an app utilizing Microsoft’s Azure Cloud. USC had the smallest team at 3. We came up with a pretty solid idea, slapped together a poster, and gave our one minute pitch. A lot was at stake, since the winners of the competition would be receiving an XBOX 360 and Kinect bundle, plus a few other games. Alas, we came up a little short and placed second out of about 12 teams (some schools had multiple teams). I still walked away with a copy of Forza Motorsport 4, and the Sharpies from poster making. Later in the afternoon, Johnson & Johnson, another major sponsor, did a wonderful info session about their company and employment opportunities. I really respected what they had to say, and it really made me feel like they would be an awesome employer. They definitely won big in my book by bringing a ton of free swag too. I picked up lots of aveeno lotion, a mini first aid kit, some floss, and a couple of other goodies. Unfortunately, I had to surrender some of it at airport security due to liquid size restrictions:( Furthermore, there was an awesome startup panel with some of the key players in Philly’s entrepreneurial scene (two VCs and a lawyer among others). We were given the chance to network with them after the panel was over.
On Friday and Saturday evening of the conference we had some free time to socialize and really get to know some of the fellow attendees. The first night, Drexel’s president Brad hosted a mixer at his apartment for all conference attendees. I was appointed DJ and got a chance to really meet everyone. The next night, we ventured into the city, and many children experienced the joys of a Philly cheesesteak (while I don’t eat beef, I must concede they looked quite delicious), and explored the South Street area. Some of the older conference attendees decided to go to a bar and see some live music after. As a result, I got the chance to explore taking public transit on my own. I mean, I was in a significantly sized group. However, among this group, no one actually attended Drexel! So it was a great adventure of non-Pennsylvanias finding their way. Once I got back to the hotel, I cozied up with our club’s president for a low key night in and watched the Basketball Diaries (not exactly a feel good film, but baby Mark Wahlberg and Leonardo DiCaprio are amazing). The next morning was filled with closing remarks and goodbyes. I went to brunch with some of the last remaining kids at a popular, cozy place called Sabrina’s. It was so crowded, but comfy at the same time. Not to mention absolutely delicious. After that, we gathered our things, and headed off to the airport.
Overall, I really enjoyed my time at the convention. It was a wonderful experience, and really gave me a chance to meet people I wouldn’t otherwise be able to. I am so excited for USC to host next year. To check out our chapter and all the amazing things we are doing, visit nobenational.org/usc or read our blog, nobe.wordpress.usc