On-site Seminar Video
connectUS is a FHNW project first launched in 2008. The idea of that initial founding team (Sandra, Michael and Urs) was to provide extensive and hands on experience in one of the most important business subjects: Networking. It is not surprising that, once the delegation had learned theoretical principles in a preparation seminar, they went to New York, the heart of business and networking, to get practical experience.
Since the first visit to New York and the great success of the program, the connectUS project has taken place on an annual basis. Each year a new group of students has organized a new program, consisting of a preparatory seminar and an On-site (USA) seminar. Although the project has slightly changed and developed over the years, one thing remained: the passion of the members.
The 2013 connectUS project has been a lifetime experience for most of the delegates. The overall topic was enlarged to ‘networking and innovations’, linking the project closer to the FHNW-programs and highlighting the major strengths of the United States . The On-site trip reflected this by increasing the number of cities visited from New York to Washington D.C. and Boston, Massachusetts.
Besides taking pictures of the White House and enjoying the view over New York, an intense program was created by the project team, leading the delegates through an interesting two weeks. There was a good mix of business and culture , allowing insights into companies such as Google, NASDAQ, Bloomberg, Sapient, New York Times and different institutions such as MIT, UNO, IMF, Harvard University and many more.
Unfortunately the connectUS seminar 2013 has ended. Nevertheless the delegates had a great time experiencing the business side and networking possibilities in the USA, with many long lasting impressions. At this point a special thanks goes to the project team: Taria, Mazlum and Gyula, who made this experience possible. Also thanks to the FHNW, which provided the project team with the necessary support and the 24 delegation members who made the 2013 connectUS project a unique event.
Boston to New York
For the first time in our trip we took the bus to go to our next destination. After around four hours we saw the skyline of Manhattan surrounded by the beatiful blue sky.
The Rockefeller Center
In the afternoon of our arriving day we had a tour in and around the Rockefeller Center. Our guide explained the story of the complex which consists of 19 buildings and was built between 1930 and 1939. Today all the buildings look still very big, back then this project was just gigantic. After the tour we went to "The Top of the Rock" where we had the view over whole Manhattan.
Explore New York
The second day was totally free of an official program. The delegates had the chance to explore the city how they want. The weather was not so nice anymore - but there is no time to care about the rain. There is just too much to do in New York City.
NASDAQ: Opening Ceremony
We watched the ceremony in the studio. Afterwards we had the chance to talk to an analyst of Nasdaq.
After entering the UN visitor area we learnt in a short lesson how they observe the financial world and what the figures are.
Alex Goldberg, Canary Ventures
Alex Goldberg is one of the famous angel investors in New York. He likes enterpreneurs who walk through brick walls.
New York Times: R&D
The New York Times is not only a newspaper anymore. They also offer a bunch of other web-services and more are coming.
The High Line has been a former rail line which was converted into a recreational area, it is about 1 mile long.
The tour at the impressive headquarters showed us how the people work in their fully transparent and open offices. Many of us were surprised that the major product of the company is actually the Bloomberg Terminal which is obviously not well known in Switzerland.
Holstee is a start-up which designs, produces and sells products based on their manifesto. One of the co-founders is a Swiss. They try to make lifes easier and better. We are very looking forward to see what they will release next!
Google: Office Tour
The New York office is Google's second largest after the head quarter in mountain view. They are in the third largest office building of New York. Since it is not tall like many others you wouldn't expect that. The offices are very spacious and open but very quiet. If there is no canteen near to your desk you at least have a "micro-kitchen" which is actually not very micro. Each floor has an own map and has a unique theme. The floor we visited had the theme New York. Also some rooms have themes like Pacman or Lego. In the center is a huge game room with physical and virtual games. We were told that the virtual ones are used the most.
Switzerland Tourism is located at the famous Fifth Avenue. It was a little bit like having a short visit at home. They informed us patiently about their activities in the US and the market developments. Furthermore they were a good source to ask about how is the life for Swiss in New York.
New York Mets
The baseball season in the US just started and we were there. Unfortunately there was a freezing wind in the Citi Field Stadium in Queens. The Mets won!
The Bronx: Grand Concourse Historic & Cultural Tour
The bus tour showed us The Bronx. But it was not as we expected from rumors and and movies. The places there are actually mostly nice. For example we went to the Yankee Stadium, Woodlawn Cemetery, Little Italy and the Irish area where we ate lunch.
Thingle: Pitch to Investors
In this event in the Rockefeller Center some start-ups presented their business to pitch for venture capital. We came to this event through the Swiss company Thingle who was also part of the pitch. At the aperitif we had the chance to talk to investors and enterpreneurs. Networking in New York seems to be even faster than in Boston but also a more superficial.
230 Fifth: Joint Dinner
This was the closing event. After two busy weeks we had the last evening together in an exclusive rooftop lounge where we had dinner and some drinks.
On Friday morning we had to leave New York. From Newark to Philadelphia we had almost a private plane. Only I few passengers were not connectUS delegates. After a short stopover we finally flew back home.
Washington D.C. to Boston
The Enginge of our airplane was broken but it did took only a short time to get a replacement. So we came to Boston with a short delay.
We went with amphibious vehicles from from World War II through Boston on the road and in the water.
Entrepreneurs Club, Northeastern Uni - "Nextview Ventures"
At the Northeastern University of Boston we went to a meeting of the Enterpreneurs Club. The main speech was held by Lee Hower, an early employee of PayPal and a co-founder of LinkedIn. Now he invests into start-ups in Boston.
Sapient: Digital Marketing
We had a deep insight into the company. They do a lot of different things and are very visionary.
Cambridge City Hall: Councillor Leland Cheung
The meeting was in the same hall like the council of Cambridge meets. We discussed with Leland Cheung about what is going on in the city and about the relation they have to Basel.
After the long day we saw the amazing show of the Blueman Group.
Swissnex Boston, the worlds first science consulate, showed us their very nice offices just next to the Harvard University and how they connect to the US companies.
This institute of the Harvard University researches the topic of internet and society. But that was not our only topic. Since two of their researches are Swiss we had also the possibility to hear about the differences of linving in Boston.
One of the highest ranked technical universities in the world, just around the corner of Harvard.
MIT Media Lab
Where ideas are made alive.
Cambridge Innovation Center
A place were start-ups can get affordable and scalable office space. But that's not everything. This place is just made for networking and getting new ideas.
After many hours hearing about networking in the US we could try it by our own in the most direct way. In this very relaxed atmosphere we had the chance to talk to many different people: enterpreneurs, angels (investors), innovators, students, representatives etc. It was very fascinating how easy it actually is to get in contact with them but we also experienced how fast old hands are in saying "it was nice to meet you" when they didn't see any opportunity for them.
Washington D. C.
Old Trolley Tour
Our first day in the capital city of the US. The trolley tour gave us a good overview of the whole city. We were very impressed by the amount of these monumental designed buildings.
Museum of Choice
Besides as the capital Washington D.C. is also famous for museums at the National Mall. The delegates were free to choose witch they want to visit. For example the Air & Space Museum or the - National Museum of Natural History.
In the afternoon of the second day we were free to explore Washington D.C. individually. While some people went to shopping in Georgetown others wanted to see more memorials or went to Arlington.
Matt Decker at the Swiss Embassy
One of the top lobbyists in the city explained why his job is not as bad as everybody in the US thinks. Furthermore, he told us about his experiences and how to get to the important people.
Capitol Tour by Alicia Molt
After entering the Cannon builing we went through several security checks and a tunnel into the Capitol. From the inside it even looks bigger than from the outside. It seems like in there happened a lot of very important things before.
IMF & World Bank
Both institutions were introduced by their swiss representatives.
Aperitif at Ambassador's Residence
The swiss ambassador to the United States welcomed us in his residence just next to the Embassy.
Normal is boring. Our current newsletter has been redesigned to provide you with clear orientation. It is divided into four distinctive sections:
connectBack are connectUS past events. Our aim is to provide you with news which emerged during our events. It covers articles on selected presentations including insights that you may find useful. We mainly focus on the Preparatory Seminar.
connectFaces are personal interviews from people who participated in our connectUS events. For this newsletter, we mainly cover presenters and participants of the On-Site Seminar.
connectCulture is a blast of cultural and historical information. We hope to provide new information about the US you might not know and will find interesting.
connectForward is all about project news. Here you will find up to date information of what we are up to.
We would like to congratulate and welcome this year's delegation: