All you need to know for IFT16: Apps, Appetite And More

IFT16 is finally on the horizon and you’ve come looking for hints and tips for the wise sagely SMF crew… well are you in luck. We’ve cobbled together information on the swanky new IFT16 app (there’s a game and no it isn’t Pokemon Go!), best eating and networking ideas, so buckle up!

IFT16 App
Get social now using the IFT16 app. Discuss what sessions you are excited for, and connect with other students and new professionals before you get to Chicago. If this is your first time to Chicago, the regulars might have great suggestions. So make sure you’ve your phone at the ready! Look for IFT16 in the app store or go to:

  • Post photos, status updates,  and comments in the activity feed
  • Connect with potential new friends
  • Browse and bookmark events and exhibitors
  • Search and save sessions and speaker information
  • Get real-time event communication via push notifications

It’s Gametime! Play The Surge
New for IFT16 is the in-app game, The Surge. Be on the look-out for daily push notifications that notify you of SURGE times and direct you to special SURGE locations. Prizes will be awarded. Don’t miss you chance to win and be sure to have Push Notifications turned on

First Timer Tips

  • Attend the First Timers Session in the Student Lounge to get to grips with IFT16 with all your fellow first timers!
  • Make a schedule for yourself (research companies that interest you and be prepared, don’t miss events that are important to you)
  • Don’t attempt the expo floor in a day, you will regret it and we will empathise with your enthusiasm!
  • See the city, it’s kind of a rite of passage to get a picture with the bean!
  • Write info on the back of business cards and follow up with people
  • Watch what you are eating on the expo floor, what goes in must come out!
  • Attend competitions and sessions to get new ideas, or just to be blown away by the creative types.
  • Hang in the *student lounge* there will always be someone new to meet, somewhere to charge your phone and the students always have the best tips!
  • Follow IFTSA on Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat… That will be a great source of information and fun!
  • Network yourself (pass out business cards and resumes)
  • Make sure that you show respect to the companies on the expo floor (hint: Don’t try to ninja steal pens… it just looks bad)
  • Prepare yourself to make awesome new friends!

Travel Discount Apps
Technology can save you money with just a bit of time investment. A few apps I’ve used before include:

  • Happy Hours: find happy hour discounts for food and drink. On my last trip to Chicago our group of 8 people enjoyed 10 appetizers and 3 rounds at a nice restaurant for $20 each.
  • Yelp: locate food and drink based on location, price, and style. Besides the user ratings and map, my favorite feature is the lottery-wheel feature. I can set a limit on location and or price, and then Yelp suggests a restaurant at random.
  • Uber or Lyft: transportation in a car, or van at rates cheaper than taxis. Set your preferences carefully as the rates vary based on the vehicle size and additional features (luxury sedans cost more). Also, check out the “recommend a friend” option. If a friend signs up for the app using a code you supply, both of you get a free ride.
  • SpotHero: discount parking. If driving, you can reserve a spot in advance at parking garages and lots throughout the city. Some parking garages cost $40/day, my last garage only charged $19/day via SpotHero. 

Science Meets Food

The IFT Student Association (IFTSA) is a forward-looking, student-governed community of IFT members. Through competitions, scholarships, networking, and leadership opportunities, you’ll set yourself apart from your classmates (unless they’re members too).

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