Sabine – a business student – and Auriana – an engineer – talk about their visit to CA technologies, around three topics : their respective first impressions, what they learnt and what surprised them coming from each other.
Auriana : « We arrived in the « early » morning, not yet really awake, at CA Technologies office, in Santa Clara. With its surrounding trees, that area was so quiet and so peaceful. Unbelievable. It’s impossible not to feel good there! Before arriving, I imagined a very vibrant place, with many well-dressed and stressed employees rushing to work. Well, it was half past eight, maybe too early.
A woman welcomed us and offered us to make some technologic coffee (I mean, with a high-tech coffee-tee-chocolate machine). After we could enjoyed the wonderful view from the terrace, sipping slowly our hot beverage. Then, we entered in a comfortable conference room. And again, CA people treated us so well! We received books, pen, delicious cookies, and a complete lunch… And a lot of interesting information, of course! Before coming there, I thought they could not give us so much time (and so much importance), and it was the exact opposite: they’ve done everything in order to make our visit a great experience, and it really worked (not only for our stomach ;-))! »
Sabine : « In Switzerland we tend to say that everything is little. “I could come at your place for a little dinner and we could have a little talk”. Well, that word “little” is definitely something that do not fit to describe CA Technologies building. It is huge! Lift. Stop at the 11th floor. Warm welcome with coffee. The conference room was set up for us. Each student received a book from the company. Peter Matthews introduced us to the program of the day. We were going to listen at 6 different speakers coming from 6 different departments, included one by videoconference. I thought that they were very organized and felt honoured to be there. I was looking forwards to hear about “how we innovate in big companies”, and especially by hearing all the different actors involve in such a process.
What I learnt
Auriana : « When it was about complicated business stuff, I was completely lost, while the others students – especially the business ones – seemed very captivated by what the speaker was talking about. At that moment, I really realized how distant our respective domains are. And also how these two domains (engineering and business) need to be combined in order to create a business that works! I like this idea because it reflects our entire experience through this under disciplinary course. »
Sabine : « To innovate in a big companies is not the same as when you are in a start-up. Nothing new. But the importance of being structured is not to be neglected. Coordination between everyone is a key. The manager’s challenge is organisation.
First, you need a good team that trust each other. Then comes the strategy: objective, scope, advantage. Regarding the development of the product, you need: to be in a «hot space», money and a good product. We got to spend some time with the VP of product management and talk about the differences of the terms: invent, innovate, elevate and renovate. Those terms do not have the same meaning from a person to another, which made the discussion interesting. »
What surprised me coming from a business student
Auriana : « As I previously said, it was funny to observe which students were interested by which topic. Actually, it was obvious and predictable! But something surprised me a lot: the questions asked by the business student were so precise and meaningful. In fact, I really appreciated their interest to the technical side of the speeches. »
What surprised me coming from an engineer
Sabine : « When we got to hear the responsible for application development, I had a hard time understanding all the technical terms. I looked at my engineer neighbour Auriana taking lots of notes. The speaker was also beginning his sentence “In big companies, the innovation is done…” And I was just expecting his answer for I knew I would be able to understand the answer and that was what was interesting me. But in the other side of the table another engineer was asking questions about a specific technique (which I could not even be able to give you the name). Oh those engineer! Curious about curious things 😉 »