Saturday, October 01, 2011

Impressions from visiting LSU

As my flight home from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, had been canceled twice, including a overnight stay in a Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (BTR) airport hotel, I had a few moments to document my first on-campus recruiting trip to Louisiana State University - LSU in Baton Rouge for Real-Time Innovations.

I had the honors of presenting my first US company, VLSI Technology, many years ago at an info session and on-site recruiting event to Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. But it has been too many years ago to remember the details. But Cal Poly dwarfs in comparison to some of the universities on our current roster in size. Nevertheless we also are visiting Cal Poly and have recently hired some great engineers from Cal Poly.  

A couple of observations:
  • The first scenes on-campus were those of large couches outside the frat houses and guys throwing the football while onlookers were sipping a beer. These could have been scenes straight from Revenge of the Nerds. 
  • The Cook hotel on-campus is right next to the lake. The hotel is all about sponsorship: very room has a sponsor name tag with one of the best room being the Shaquille O'Neal suite
  • Computer science students focus on HPC, thanks to Eric, the on-campus cluster at the CCC, and the Queen Bee cluster at the Baton Rouge capital building. Louisiana has invested a lot in compute and communication infrastructure. HPC talent is in demand among the Oil and Gas exploration companies in the Gulf of Mexico. At the career fair, all the Oil and Gas exploration companies were recruiting heavily for both petroleum engineers, but also computer scientists able to help them run the compute clusters. Beyond HPC, LSU didn't impress me with lots of education on distributed computing or networking.
  • Career services is a well oiled machine. I am not used this at my university in Belgium. 
    • A well run career fair
    • Nice on-campus interview booths
    • Displays educate the students on proper interview attire (sponsored by Mervins and Target). 
    • Feedback forms on students.
  • This is a wealthy university. The Student Union is very modern, with great facilities and including three giant screens to watch the LSU football games. We were (un)fortunate that our company introduction was right before the LSU-Alabama game. LSU football (undefeated in the 2011 season) must bring in quiet a lot of money. The stadium is larger than the largest soccer stadium in Belgium and in Argentina combined. It would be a unique experience to tailgate and watch a game at the LSU stadium. 
LSU Tiger Stadium can fit more than 92,000 people 
  • LSU has on-campus tiger, Mike the Tiger (official site). This is a real tiger and mascot of the team. No stealing the mascot here. 

We ended our visit with some blackened alligator and one of the many international (including Belgian) beers at Chimes. Alligator is very tasty and it's better (and a little more chewy) than chicken! 

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