ThinkChicago Encourages Students to “Live, Work & Play” in Chicago
Now in its fifth year, ThinkChicago drew 275 top engineering and computer science students to Chicago for ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza and ThinkChicago: Chicago Ideas Week. The program—a collaboration among Chicago Ideas, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the University of Illinois, World Business Chicago and 1871—encourages and ensures that “the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders decide to live, work and play in Chicago,” as Mayor Emanuel said in a press release.
During each of the programs, student participants had the opportunity to meet Chicago innovators and entrepreneurs, tour Chicago businesses and incubators, and attend Lollapalooza and Chicago Ideas Week events. Meetings with entrepreneurial leaders like Harper Reed, Startup League Co-Founder Mike McGee, TinyDocs Founder Sunny Williams and others gave students an insider’s perspective on the technological innovations that Chicago companies are pushing forward.
ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza participant Ritika Dhawan, a senior at the Illinois Institute of Technology, noted of Williams: “The beauty of his mission and the passion behind his actions resonated with my own professional goals in bettering the health of patients all over the world.”
Conner Dart, who attended ThinkChicago: Chicago Ideas Week, was struck by the entrepreneurial community the students were introduced to during the day. “It felt like everyone knew each other and was genuinely interested in everyone’s companies,” the University of Illinois senior said. “In such a competitive environment, it’s incredible to see people willing to work together towards different goals.”
And most students underlined the importance they now saw of applying to jobs in Chicago.
“I’d be putting myself at a disadvantage if I didn’t,” Max MacCready, a senior at Loyal University Chicago who attended ThinkChicago: Chicago Ideas Week, said. “Chicago is becoming a central hub for technology and innovation, and I want a piece of it.”