I returned from San Francisco yesterday with a happy cheer in my heart.
This was my experience with GDC:
- I arrived mid-Thursday. After getting to my hotel and paying $10 for 24 hours of internet, I sent off a bunch of emails to various ETC students who had reached out to me earlier to meet up, then promptly went for a nap - I was under the presumption that I would be partying all night and since I had been up since 3:30am EST, I was in need of sleep. After said nap, I met up with Justin, a friend of mine whom I had worked with in my Entrepreneurship class who is an ETC student, and then we later met up with his buddies, a couple of whom I had emailed with back and forth. The rest of the night was just spent moving from one location to another trying to find where the parties were. The Minecraft party had a line literally around the block. All in all, I went to bed about 11pm - the nap I had was not very effective.
- Friday! This was the only day in which I could go to the conference on a $75 student pass. I turn up at the conference center pretty early, but then decided to go get my resume printed at the local InterContinental. $1.50 a page! I must remember to do this ahead of time before going to downtown San Francisco. Back again to the career expo with resumes in hand and a smile on my face.
Coming into the conference, I had two objectives: network (either establish or build), and aim at internship opportunities. I had this expectation that the big companies, the Activision, EA, Warner Brothers, etc of the world would have a defined internship program that values MBAs - a lot of places I read say that the game industry doesn't think highly of MBAs. My experience, however, was completely different. There were a couple of large businesses that seemed interested in me - one, specifically, was probably because I already had an interview invite that I received just the day before - but there was one company in particular that stands out. I walked up to the bored-looking recruiter, gave her my spiel, she proceeded to direct me to the website, took my resume and literally dropped it behind her podium. I heard it hit the ground.
On the contrary, the smaller, lesser-known companies were excited to find out I was an MBA student. One place in particular stated that they didn't traditionally have an internship program but they would be willing to take me on as an intern.
As lunchtime rolled around, I went and spent it with the contact I had made through LinkedIn, which was great, and then I looked around the main expo afterwards. Unfortunately for me, it closed at 3pm, and I got back from lunch near to 2pm. I did, however, sign up for the Game of Thrones beta, talked to the MBA grad working at that company, almost pick up a Blackberry Playbook, won a Darkness II statue of a darkling, and made friends with the booth guys at Rackspace, a company based in San Antonio (where I lived for 5 years before coming here).
I think next year, I'm going to try to make it for the entire session. Now I need to catch up on everything I left behind :)