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iXperience -- one of the best decisions I've ever made
Submitted by Shane Taleisnik - UCLA | August 11, 2017
I didn’t want to be comfortable; I didn’t want to do what was easy. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. This ultimately led me to one of the best decisions I have ever made: getting on a 26 hour plane ride to Cape Town, South Africa for 8 weeks to attend iXperience.
When my friends asked me what I was doing over the summer, it was always hard to explain. I would usually just tell them I was going to be attending an 8-week program in South Africa to learn about Product Management and gain real-world experience…
Little did I know that I was about to embark on a journey that would take me to my limits in the classroom, take me in a plane 15,000 feet up in the air, and take me into a cage surrounded by Great White sharks (pictures attached).
I learned more in those short 4 weeks under our Professor Johann Von Tonder (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jvtonder) and Teaching Assistant Trevor Hinkle (https://www.linkedin.com/in/trevorhinkle) than I could have ever imagined learning in a year of classes at University. I was invigorated by some of the brightest and most passionate classmates, who inspired me to unlock my true potential and achieve goals.
My journey throughout the course was intense, but extraordinarily interesting and worthwhile. Our class was assigned the ostensibly daunting task of thinking and developing a new product; the class would conclude with a final presentation outlining the process we experienced, as well as the components that determine the viability of the product. Johann’s teaching style epitomized action-based learning, which prepared us with various lessons and instructions that matched what stage of the process we were currently in. My teammates (Audrey Ou and Sami Mustapha) and I encountered many different experiences and emotions throughout the process of working on our final project that we truly believed could be used to revolutionize how people travel.
We were emotionally invested in the creation of an app named Layover, which would essentially help people around the world mitigate wasted, valuable time while traveling. We spent hours planning a goal-oriented roadmap, business modeling, validating core user assumptions through with qualitative and quantitative data, conducting competitor analysis and market sizing, and identifying value propositions — eventually creating an MVP (‘Minimum Viable Product’).
My team and I encountered a few competitors that offered similar features as the ones Layover provided, but we continued to put our heads down and develop our product. As each day passed, the more reluctant we became; we knew apps such as Google Trips could provide users with everything we had and more. Before we knew it, the realization that our efforts were centered around the final presentation instead of the feasibility of the product prompted us towards a significantly difficult decision. Less than 48 hours before the morning of our final presentation, we decided to swallow our pride, and pivot to a completely different product.
This process was stressful and challenging, but it threw me out of my comfort zone. I learned that it is crucial to make the moral decision, even if that means taking the more difficult path. My journey with the Product Management course taught me so much more than the catalog of skills I acquired throughout; it taught me that being uncomfortable can ultimately lead to the most impactful growth.
iXperience introduced me to a network with some of the most passionate and driven students from around the world; not only are some of them my co-founders, but also my friends for life.
iXperience allowed me explore one of the most vibrant, fascinating, and hospitable cities in the world.
iXperience changed my life.
The BEST decision of my life!
Submitted by christopher carvalho - Pennsylvania State University | August 01, 2017
I attended the iXperience 2017 session 1 program in Cape Town. When I arrived on May 28, I was greeted with a warm welcome from the team members at the airport and a shuttle ride from the airport to the iX student village where I met some incredible people that became my close friends in the program. I signed up for the Product Management course and had Johann Van Tonder and Trevor Hinkle as my teacher and TA. The classes are super engaging and will push you to work at the best of your abilities. Johann our teacher had 20 plus years working in product management and had a wealth of knowledge to share with the students. Trevor was the best TA because he worked flawlessly with Johann to cultivate an effective learning environment for all of us. The program also offers excursions for students every weekend to make your experience in South Africa even more incredible. We have gone shark cage diving, surfing, zip lining, hiking, cultural exploring, and more. The limit is only as far as you want to set it. The best part is meeting all the amazing people who are just as excited to be in Cape Town as you and being able to make some incredible memories that you will never forget.
iXperience is more than just an amazing summer abroad program that allows students to travel to a foreign country, study a topic, and work in an internship. It is an opportunity of a lifetime to meet some of the brightest young minds around the world that will remain in your career network for the rest of your life, become immersed into a completely unique culture that does not exist anywhere else in the world, learn from the best teachers who are all experts in their respective fields, and collaborate with some of the most innovative companies in the entire country. iXperience has so much more to offer than it describes on their website but they cannot include all the little details that make this program so innovative and successful for anyone looking to jump start their career. You have to come to iXperience and see it for yourself. This review does not do justice for how incredible this program has impacted my personal and professional life. If you want to gain skills that will benefit your future career goals, work with elite companies from around the world, meet some of the brightest young minds from all across the world, and make some incredible memories that you will never forget, come to Cape Town and find out for yourself.
Submitted by Joe Salter - Princeton University | July 19, 2016
iXperience offered the most epic summer I could have asked for! To learn a real-world, extremely hire-able skill that I greatly enjoyed in only four weeks was just the beginning. It was topped off with a meaningful internship where I did real work every day and presented a rewarding final prototype to my entire company (and they loved it!). Days were full of learning, working, exploring a beautiful city, immersing myself in a foreign culture, and more. I jumped off a bridge, jumped out of an airplane, played with elephants, swam with sharks, ate incredible food -- the list goes on and on. Despite some very minor issues that I naturally expected to arise from a new start-up, iXperience is a rapidly growing program that I would highly recommend to anyone.
An ideal program
Submitted by Cameron Cross - University of Virginia | March 08, 2016
I attended iXperience’s Web Development course in the summer of 2014, and completed the subsequent internship as a software engineer with Platform45. My time in Cape Town with iX turned out to be the most beneficial and impactful experience of my life. Specifically, I want to highlight three major benefits of the program: Academic, professional, and social.
The courses at iX ‐ covering a wide range of business and technical skills ‐ are incredibly intense. As a Finance major, I was amazed to see iX Finance students learn more in a month than I would in an entire semester. The vibe is professional yet relaxed, engendering a uniquely intrinsic motivation in its students. Everyone is there to learn from each other, and the program’s ability to attract top students and lecturers creates a magical learning environment.
Following the classroom component, students intern with a local South African company to put their newfound skills to use in a professional environment. This experience was pivotal, as I realized that a career in web development was not the right fit for me. Though this was a bittersweet realization, it led me to make a more informed post‐graduate career decision. In recruiting for consulting positions, I am confident that my internship work in Cape Town was essential to my success in landing a position with Bain & Company.
Finally, there are countless social benefits to attending iX. I built a network of highly aspirational friends, many of whom I still keep in touch with. Our friendship was founded not just on our classroom experiences, but on the epic adventures we had in Cape Town. I underwent rapid personal growth at iX and had the greatest summer of my life, all while gaining crucial academic and professional experience. This program is ideal for any college student looking to study abroad, intern, and explore the world all in a single summer.