Students study tour takes them to San Francisco

A group of students from the IfM visited the San Francisco Bay area on a study tour with the objective of looking at four themes: innovation, sustainability, supply chain management and the economic downturn.

The students are all members of the IfM's one-year MPhil course in Industrial Systems, Manufacture and Management (ISMM)


On their trip to Silicon Valley, they visited a number of 'Software as a Service' (SaaS) organisations, including giants such as Google and Amazon, as well as newer or rapidly-growing firms like Box and Heyzap (started by IfM alumni Jude Gomila), as well as manufacturing companies such as IBM, Coca-Cola and Tesla.


Students gained some interesting insights from this experience. Many US companies have a very different culture to conventional UK ones - some, for instance, offer free food and services such as hairdressing to attract and retain talent. 


The students also saw how some manufacturers are investing in advanced machinery to meet their sustainability commitment - Coca-Cola replacing its forklift truck batteries with hydrogen fuel cells, for example.


The ISMM group toured an energy utility company where staff explained how they were incentivised to get their customers to use less energy. To gain an understanding of the history of the area, they also visited local museums and Berkeley and Stanford University.


Tom Ridgman, Director of External Education for the IfM, said: "This tour opened our eyes to a new culture of business success driven by technical innovation - it showed us that excellent engineers can make things happen, make money and have fun!"

Date published

10 September 2013

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