A brief taste of the Texas capital.
And of SXSW.
And of ramen.
And so it was on 9pm on Friday night, when the opportunity arose to get out of town for a day. My friend Nick was going to a career fair in Austin, and had a spare seat in his car for anyone who wanted to join. Leave Saturday morning, get back Saturday night. A brief look at the exhibitors turned up one of the companies on my list of places to work at post-MBA, so it was decided.
Nick picked me up just after 9 on a hazy Saturday morning in Dallas, the skyscrapers of downtown clothed in fog. We navigated ourselves onto the great artery that is I-35, and pointed the car towards the south.
The distance from Dallas to Austin is about 200 miles, which is roughly equivalent to driving from Sydney to Canberra. The Sydney-Canberra round trip is certainly doable in a single day (and I’ve done it many times), but you wouldn’t want to do it every day. And like the Sydney to Canberra run, Dallas to Austin is freeway the whole way.
As we reached the northern satellite cities of Austin, the traffic slowed to a crawl. Initially we though it was the IKEA that sat alongside the freeway, but even after we passed that the traffic remained sluggish. Since we were both hungry, we stopped for lunch, and Nick introduced me to his favourite fried chicken chain (Church’s, if you’re wondering).
Sadly, contrary to the information from the organizers, the career fair had little to offer for MBAs. Almost every company was after developers and software engineers, and even with our analytics talent, we couldn’t get much response, as all the recruiters were primed to talk to coders. That said, the companies at least gave us the contacts for the right people to talk to about MBA level and management positions.
Right on 5pm the doors opened, and five minutes later we were seated and served (they at least work fast and have everything ready to go when they open). And the queuing in the cold was totally worth it; the ramen was perfectly cooked, in a rich broth unlike any I have tasted.
In the end, we travelled for over 7 hours for 90 minutes of a career fair and 15 minutes of ramen. You could argue that it was wasteful, but it wasn’t, despite the lack of success at the fair we made some good contacts and at least got a picture of the sector that we wouldn’t have otherwise had. And the ramen alone was worth the journey.
I’d like to go back to Austin again and see it with a bit more time to spare. SXSW Interactive looks pretty awesome, so maybe we’ll organize a trip for the next spring break to visit, this time with access passes.
But that’s a future problem. Tomorrow is the start of the final module for the first year, and that’s the bigger priority. We already have reading and essays to write, so I better get started. At least the spring break brought some travel, and for that I’m grateful.