Semester in Silicon Valley

Here’s a short video of our Spring 2018 students, sharing their Semester in Silicon Valley experience.

It’s that time again – you’re heading into the spring and you’re about to embark on your next adventure.  You’ve already made the choice of a dynamic education, real world experiences, and vibrant city living by choosing Northeastern—now we want to give you a brand new opportunity to accomplish your goals through a Semester in Silicon Valley.

Study Entrepreneurship
with Design Thinking in Silicon Valley

The D’Amore-McKim School of Business and Northeastern’s  Professional Advancement Network (PAN) are proud to announce an exciting new undergraduate entrepreneurship program through  a Semester in Silicon Valley.  This unique opportunity will allow you to explore the breadth of design thinking—a human-centered approach to innovation that integrates the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.

Fill out the above form and contact your academic advisor to learn more about the program and discuss your personalized plan

All undergraduates from all colleges (excluding CPS) are eligible! DMSB students can complete their Entrepreneurship Concentration through the program; while, non-DMSB students need to take one course in Boston, and then complete the Entrepreneurship Minor.


Program Structure

Fall 2018: September 5, 2018 – December 14, 2108

Semester in Silicon Valley will provide you with a unique approach to your education, as you complete the program in a three-pronged method.

The Semester in Silicon Valley is an opportunity available to students enrolled in Northeastern University’s Boston-based programs. Following the Semester in Silicon Valley, students return to their program in its usual format and location to complete their academic requirements.

Academics: Select up to four courses that will enable you to tailor your time in Silicon Valley.

To be offered in San Francisco:

ENTR2303: Entrepreneurial Marketing and Selling
ENTR3330: Lean Design and Development for Entrepreneurs
ENTR3305: Entrepreneurial Strategy and Business Model Design
ENTR4501: Business Planning for Technology Ventures
ENTR4992: Independent Study or Internship at a Startup

Independent Study: You can apply for an internship at one of the selected companies (20 hours per week – unpaid) or pursue an independent study working closely with an instructor if you plan to work on your own startup idea. This independent work will build upon the foundation provided to you in the classroom.

Final Project: Your Semester in Silicon Valley experience will culminate in a final project, pulling from your experiences inside and outside of the classroom. The final project will vary, and will include custom designed options, such as building a business plan or submitting a project proposal.

Extracurricular and Experiential Student Activities

Semester in Silicon Valley is highly experiential, and encourages a human-centric approach to entrepreneurship. While living in the Bay Area, you’ll experience professional life in San Francisco by working closely with start-ups, meeting with investors, learning from CEOs, and exploring the industry through unique extracurricular activities. There will be an on-the-ground Program Manager who will coordinate these activities and provide support.
As a student in this program, you will have the opportunity to take part in the following—and more:

  • Founder Breakfasts, where company founders will share their experiences in starting companies
  • Tech Treks, including day trips to local companies and startups
  • Pitch Nights, where students in the program can present and discuss their work
  • Social events hosted regularly throughout the semester

Outside of your program, you will also have all of the Bay Area at your fingertips!  Spend your weekends exploring the cable cars, the bay, endless neighborhoods and nearby cities such as Napa Valley and Sonoma.

Here are some of the companies that provide internship opportunities to the students of the Semester in Silicon Valley program:



How to Register

1.  Fill out our above information form.

2.  Pay the $1,500 program fee which covers all experiential and extracurricular activities in the program.

Northeastern Silicon Valley and the Northeastern Network

The Northeastern network comes with a series of opportunities aimed at increasing your competitiveness in the job market—and this collaboration between the Professional Advancement Network, the D’Amore- McKim School of Business, and the Silicon Valley campus is aimed at helping you to achieve those goals by giving you the ability to gain more from your education. As a participant, you will grow and nurture your network on the West Coast. You will engage with local Northeastern alumni and co-op students in the San Francisco and Silicon Valley areas to provide you with an “insider’s view” of this culture.  Even though your academic program originates in Boston, you will have the Northeastern Silicon Valley campus as a resource. And, should you want to return to this area later on in your career, you will have established a presence and a network there that you can directly tap into for career goals, lifelong learning, or wherever your future may take you.

Schedule of Classes

Day                        Time                                               Course No.                 Course Description                                                             Faculty

Tuesday                9:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.                ENTR 4501                  Entrepreneurship/New Venture Creation                           Rick Rasmussen & Alina Adams
Tuesday                1:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.                  ENTR 2301                  Entrepreneurial Sales & Marketing                                      R. Paul Singh & Dr. Mayasari Lim
Thursday              9:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.                ENTR 3305                  Entrepreneurial Strategy & Business Model Design        Cynthia Dai & Dr. Michelle Stecker
Thursday              1:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.                  ENTR 3330                 Lean Design & Design Thinking for Entrepreneurs          Dr. Aleks Gollu & Dr. Bulent Erbilgin

ENTR 4992 – Internships and Mentoring by Naeem Zafar


12th Floor, WeWork 600 California Street: 600 California St, San Francisco, CA 94109

If you have any questions about the locations mentioned above, please contact Lily Ma directly at for more information.

What Students Are Saying

“The Semester in Silicon Valley program provides great internship opportunity. I have made valuable connections since I started the program. It’s nice to actually work on real-world projects and apply what we learned in class. I would recommend this program to anyone who wants to pursue entrepreneurship. The professors are amazing, highly-qualified and are always available to answer our questions. Semester in Silicon Valley really gives students the chance to connect and network with experts in the industry.”
– Pierrick, Semester in Silicon Valley, Fall 2017


“The SSV program allows me to interact with business in many different ways, all at the same time. I study business academically, work as an employee, and create the foundation of a startup. With mentorship, I learn from my everyday experiences. My professors care about the future. Teaching us is another way for them to shape the future of the industry. It’s inspiring to be in an environment with motivated students, teachers, and professionals. Engaging conversations happen daily, and perspectives change constantly.”
– Autumn Martin, Semester in Silicon Valley, Fall 2017


“There’s no better place for this than Silicon Valley – this is a once in a lifetime experience. I am working on real-world projects. This is hands down the best program for entrepreneurship. There is so much energy both from the professors and students. The teachers do not just give the traditional way of lectures – they push you to get out of your comfort zone so you can prepare for the real world. The internship is taken to another level. I have made so many valuable connections in Silicon Valley. The experiential component of this program is the best I’ve seen. I recommend this program to anyone thinking about taking an entrepreneurship program.”
– Raj, Semester in Silicon Valley, Fall 2017

Here’s a short video of our Fall 2017 students, Alexy and Rebecca, sharing their Semester in Silicon Valley experience during the Northeastern State of the University event.

News@Northeastern Feature on Semester in Silicon Valley

Read it here:  Northeastern Launches ‘Semester in Silicon Valley’ Entrepreneurship Program

Student Life Video

Check out this amazing video from one of our Fall 2017 Semester in Silicon Valley students, Autumn Martin.  Watch as she shares her experience inside and outside of the classroom!

“I am already missing the culture in San Francisco. I want to thank you for a great semester. It was truly life changing. I talked with people after the program ended and they felt the same way. Overall, I think that this semester was perfect for the lessons it taught me.” – Rebecca Dragon, Semester in Silicon Valley, Fall 2017

“It was a great opportunity and I’m glad I attended it. I want to thank you for a truly transformative experience and for shifting my perspective on the way the world works.” – Alexy Santos, Semester in Silicon Valley, Fall 2017

Our students get the best of both worlds! Click here to view the photo gallery.

Meet the Faculty

Naeem Zafar
Naeem is a faculty member at the University of California Berkeley, Center of Entrepreneurship and Technology and the professor of the Practice at Brown University.  He has taught entrepreneurship and New Venture Finance since 2005.  As a serial entrepreneur he co-founded and served as the CEO of several companies including Bitzer Mobile, that was acquired by Oracle in November 2013. He is currently the CEO of TeleSense, an Industrial IoT company. Naeem has published several cases in Harvard Business School publishing and has authored five books. He has an Sc.B. degree from Brown University.


Leah Edwards
After earning a BS in Finance from UC Berkeley and an MBA + Certificate of Public Management from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Leah had a successful career as a co-founder of technology companies. Beginning with a $380 million sale of the first company she co-founded, Leah has co-founded and led or coached numerous technology and sustainability companies to successful exits.  Leah also served as the Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies in the Stanford GSB and is now teaching and advising startups, corporations, universities and nonprofit organizations.


R. Paul Singh
R. Paul Singh has been a founder and CEO of five startups with Veraz going public and Espresso Logic, CyLAN and Internetware being acquired. He is now the CEO of Startup Strategies where he works as a mentor to startup CEOs regarding various business and go-to-market issues.  Paul has co-authored three books on internet related topics. He has taught various classes at TiE Silicon Valley and IEEE besides being a guest lecturer at UC Berkeley, CMU, UCSF and Univ. of Rochester. Mr. Singh holds a BSEE from Delhi University, India and an MBA from St. John’s University, NY.


Rick Rasmussen
Rick is a Silicon Valley native with entrepreneurial, executive, government and academic experience focusing on startups and growth stage companies.  He works extensively with governments and economic development agencies looking to connect with Silicon Valley.  He is an active member of the Sand Hill Angels investment group. Rick earned an Electrical Engineering and Computer Science degree from the University of California at Berkeley and an dual MBA degree from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and Columbia’s Graduate School of Business in New York City with honors.  He currently lectures on Entrepreneurship at both UC Berkeley and Stanford University.


Aleks Gollu
Aleks is a veteran of the Bay Area venture start-up eco-system, with expertise in supply-chain, transportation, and telecommunication. Dr. Gollu holds a BS degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and MS and Ph.D. degrees from University of California, Berkeley, all in EECS with a focus on system management. He was Co-Founder of OTelNet, a pioneer of SMS-based cell phone applications, which was acquired by Telecommunication Systems (TSYS) in 2002. He founded PINC Solutions in 2004. PINC has since become the premier provider of yard management and transportation visibility solutions. His most recent start-up 11Sight provides a video interaction platform for businesses to establish first contact and to accelerate lead conversion. Gollu is a member of Keiretsu Forum. He holds 4 patents with 2 pending.

Cynthia Dai

A seasoned entrepreneur, Cynthia Dai has co-founded several high technology start-ups and served on the executive team of both early-stage and public ventures. As CEO of Dainamic Consulting, Inc., she has provided business strategy consulting and interim executive management to high-tech and social ventures since 1992. Previously, she held senior marketing and business development positions at Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard.

Ms. Dai was an Industry Fellow at the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology at the University of California at Berkeley, where she designed and taught an Organizational Leadership & Teamwork course. She also launched the Tsinghua-Berkeley Global Technology Entrepreneurship program in conjunction with Tsinghua University’s School of Economics and Management in Beijing.

She has also taught entrepreneurship, leadership, and teamwork at Tongji University (Shanghai), China Youth University for Political Sciences (Beijing), Shantou University (China), and Kyushu University (Japan). An active mentor, she has worked with aspiring entrepreneurs at the European Innovation Academy (France) and some of the world’s most promising social enterprises at the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship—home of the Global Social Benefit Institute Accelerator. Ms. Dai has an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science with honors from UC Berkeley.


Meet our Program Executives

Marc H. Meyer

Marc is the Robert Shillman Professor of Entrepreneurship as well as Matthews Distinguished University Professor. In 2006, Dr. Meyer started Northeastern’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group. Since that time, he and his colleagues have helped numerous students and alumni start their own companies. He has also been a long-serving director of the University’s High Technology MBA program and a faculty leader of Executive Education in the D’Amore McKim School of Business.

Marc is also an internationally recognized scholar in the field of innovation. The Power of Product Platforms (written with Alvin P. Lehnerd, The Free Press), continues to be a leading work in the management of architecture for products, systems, and services. The Fast Path to Corporate Growth: Leveraging Knowledge and Technologies to New Market Applications (Oxford University Press), links innovation with enterprise growth and is used by industry leaders around the world to develop and operationalize growth strategies. He consults to leading corporations around the world on developing new product lines and services as well as new ventures within the business.

Marc holds degrees from Harvard and M.I.T. and work closely with the Technical University of Delft as a university research and teaching part on design, innovation, and entrepreneurship.


Dan Gregory

Daniel S. Gregory is a co-director of the Northeastern University Center for Entrepreneurship Education and a faculty member of the D’Amore-McKim School of Business. Dan is the founding faculty advisor to IDEA, Northeastern University’s venture accelerator.

Prior to joining Northeastern, Dan has played a key role in strategic planning, organizational development, and generating initial revenues for multiple start-up and early stage companies. His industry focus is publishing and digital media, utilizing information technologies to deliver customized content to the business and education markets.

Dan’s entrepreneurial experience includes roles as CEO, a member of senior management teams, and in leading an independent consulting practice. He has been effective in developing, growing, and maintaining high value strategic relationships between companies, research centers, and major universities. As an entrepreneur, he has had extensive partnering experience with leading publishing and digital media companies, including Fortune Magazine, Intuit, Microsoft, Harvard Business School Publishing, Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, and others.

Dan has a BA from Wesleyan University and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he concentrated on Marketing and Entrepreneurial Management.

Our Program Director

Naeem Zafar

Naeem is a seasoned executive who has led several high-tech businesses as the CEO and guided dozens as a Board member or an advisor. He is an entrepreneur, a teacher, an investor, and a mentor. Having co-founded or worked at seven startup companies, he is steeped in the Silicon Valley culture and promotes the lessons of Silicon Valley to organizations and entrepreneurs all over the world.

Naeem has been teaching entrepreneurship as a faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley since 2005 as a part of the Haas Business School MBA program, as well as in the College of Engineering to graduate and undergraduate students. He has consistently been one of the highest ranked professors in entrepreneurship and strategy. He has written five books on topics related to entrepreneurship, some of which are now being used as curriculum textbooks at various universities. These books can be found at   Naeem serves on the Board of Directors of several companies and as the Board Chair of OPEN Silicon Valley. He is also currently the President of Brown University Club of Silicon Valley.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I work on my own venture during the semester?
Yes, this will be an excellent opportunity to work on your venture within the umbrella of IDEA’s venture incubation services. We will provide access to mentors in Silicon Valley from amongst the alums and friends of the university who are working there.

Who will I meet when I am out there?
You will meet young alums who graduated recently and can tell you all about life in the entrepreneurship ecosystem. You will meet alums and friends of the university who will welcome you to the community and offer your advice. You will also meet with corporate as well as startup CEO’s, VC, and other innovators in the California Bay area.

How frequently will I be in Silicon Valley for events?
We will be making regular trips to visit Silicon Valley companies to gain a better understanding of the Silicon Valley ecosystem. We will have a CEO breakfast series that will feature leaders of industry in the valley.

What classes should I register for, because I have taken an entrepreneurship class?
Contact your advisor to determine which classes you have left to complete your entrepreneurship minor or concentration.

Am I getting an entrepreneurship concentration, minor or certificate?
If you are a student in the D’Amore-McKim School of Business you will be earning an entrepreneurship concentration. Any other Northeastern student will be earning an entrepreneurship minor. We are currently not offering an entrepreneurship certificate.

Can I do an independent project or an internship?
Students will have the opportunity to apply for independent projects for academic credit, including internships. We are developing a list of companies who will offer internships.

How much will this cost?
You will pay tuition for the courses that you register for. In addition, you will incur housing and living costs in the Bay Area.  Northeastern can assist you in finding housing in the area for the semester.  Also, there is a Program Fee of $1,500 to cover the cost of local excursions, company visits, networking events, pitch sessions, receptions etc.  The Program Fee includes a non-refundable deposit of $500.

Can you help me find housing?
Please contact Sonya Cottam at the Co-op Connections office for questions related to housing and relocation to the San Francisco area. The Co-op Connections staff has a variety of student housing resources in San Francisco to share with you, as well as the ability to connect you with students who have lived and worked in the area. In addition to providing housing assistance, they can also connect you with other students looking for roommates and/or housing to share. Please contact Sonya Cottam, or 617-373-7492, for more information or to set up an appointment.


Student Activities

Visit to Astro Studios in San Francisco


Welcome Reception