Phi Beta Lambda Students Gain Insights from Cisco, Genentech Visits

phi beta lambda field trip

Seventeen business students from Diablo Valley College had the opportunity recently to visit two top Bay Area companies, Cisco and Genentech. The field trip was organized mostly by two members of the business club Phi Beta Lambda (PBL), Leah Rachel Boquilon, club secretary, and Michael Sean Murillo, vice president of communications and technology.

Purposes of the field trip were to give the students insights into the everyday challenges of running a business, and to discover what educational and professional paths employees of the two companies took to get where they are now. They also gained insight to help them appreciate the many different talents and capabilities required in companies like Cisco and Genentech.

Students had a choice to visit Cisco only, Genentech only, or both. They met on campus and carpooled to San Jose and South San Francisco. 

Gary Lewis, who hopes to graduate this spring with an associate in science degree in business and a minor in management and leadership studies, visited Cisco and said that, “The IT Management Program at Cisco Systems defines modern communications. Their systems can be used in any field.” He was surprised, he said, “by the great strides in the communications industry that have happened in a short time.” He also said he felt that his DVC education helped him “quickly grasp the information that was put forth during the tour, making for a very pleasant visit.” He would recommend the tour to any business or communications major.

Though he does not plan to transfer after graduation, Lewis said he will probably enroll in training courses revolving around the technical aspects of computer controlled manufacturing, and hopes one day to start his own business.

phi beta lambda field tripMichael Murillo, a computer science major, suggested and planned the field trip to Cisco Systems. A student at DVC since summer 2011, Murillo plans to earn associate degrees in both computer science and math, and hopes to transfer by fall 2015 to UC Berkeley, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo or UC Irvine. 

“By visiting Cisco, I learned more about the importance of communication and how it has revolutionized our world,” Murillo said. “This field trip made me ponder about how to create more efficient communication platforms. We are still trying to find more efficient ways to improve the processing and handling of information, and with my education, I hope to bring innovation to this field and many others, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.”

Murillo added that he was impressed with “Cisco’s ubiquitous presence in our world. They create software/hardware for stadiums, mobile applications, corporations, and even hospitals, and are also involved in cloud computing. My interest definitely lies with working at Cisco,” he added, “but not so much with Genentech. I am a computer science major, and it seems that Genentech was looking for people who had a strong passion for medical research.”

Leah Rachel Boquilon planned the Genentech field trip with Maureen George, Genentech’s management associate of commercial training and development, but participated in trips to both locations.

A student at DVC since summer 2011, Boquilon is a business major. She plans to earn an associate degree in business and transfer in the fall to either UC Berkeley, to major in business administration, or to the University of San Francisco, where she would major in accounting. 

“Being a business major allows me to work in a company of any field, since every company has a corporate side,” Boquilon said. “I planned these trips to give not only other students but also myself multiple future business careers to think about. I had not thought of working for Genentech or Cisco before, but now after visiting, it is certainly possible.” 

Of the field trip, she said, “I was disappointed that Genentech’s field trip consisted only of a PowerPoint presentation of their corporate areas and lists of their products. I assumed that we would be touring the company as we did with Cisco, and maybe even visit their research labs.

“Having no idea of what Cisco Systems, Inc. was,” she continued, “I was very impressed with the company’s technology when I visited. What surprised me the most was Telepresence, their latest piece of technology that allows people to webcam with high quality. Students tried using Telepresence from two different rooms, and it still felt as if we were all in the same room. It was very futuristic, and I was surprised to find out that many corporations are already using Telepresence today.

“I’m excited that the ‘futuristic’ technology I had in mind already exists, and is already being used within corporations today,” Boquilon continued. “It makes me excited to think that this will change the education system and make learning a new and improved experience.” 

Students who participated in the field trips are Ataro Shoji-Vallin, Michael Murillo Jr., Leah Boquilon, Elijah Pipersburg, Ayman Medani, Omotayo Ogunleye, Kyle Nguyen, Huong Tran, Mu Sa, Belinda Yan, Gary Lewis, Cindy Sutandar, Jenny Favorito, Tatiana Lineva, Ronald Riveragil, Tria Dile, and Jung Choi.