Life at Yale SOM, Google Internship & the Importance of Diversity
Learn how real students navigate their way through the business school admissions process and b-school itself with our What is Business School Really Like? series.
Meet Dan, a Yale SOM student with a background in engineering.
Dan, thank you for sharing your story with us!
I understand your undergraduate degree is in engineering. How does your engineering background fit in with your post-MBA goals?
Dan: I often get asked about the transition to MBA for those with engineering backgrounds. I feel that engineering gives a great base of skills that can be applied in a variety of contexts, including business school. Thinking analytically, working effectively in teams, and problem solving using a data-driven approach are all strengths that my engineering education helped me build. My engineering background inspired a love for working on innovative projects and digging deep into technical solutions. It has also guided me towards my goal of working on impactful, innovative technology.
What was the most surprising aspect of the MBA application process?
Dan: Most surprising was how enthusiastic and helpful all the people I reached out to were. From current students in the clubs to alums in the spaces I wanted to work, I was able to get a great amount of information and feedback. I would recommend reaching out to anyone doing something you are excited about from your programs of interest, and you will likely be positively surprised at the response.
What work experience did you have at the time you applied to business school?
Dan: Going into business school, I had four years of work experience as a Technology Consultant. From this experience, I knew that I enjoyed focusing on user experience, working directly with clients, and collaborating with developers and other technical teammates. I wanted to gain a more well-rounded understanding of business and add more varied work experience, so I decided it would be a good time to apply to business school.
Congratulations on landing an internship at Google! Can you tell us about the application process and your internship experience?
Dan: Thanks! Past the straightforward parts of applying, some useful things I did was think about how and why I use Google products, what past experiences were directly applicable to the role, and how working at Google could fit into my long-term development. After each interview (done over Google Hangouts video-chat), I felt even more excited about the work my interviewers described, and I was fortunate to get the summer role! So far, my internship experience at Google has been shaped by supportive and enthusiastic coworkers, lofty objectives towards impactful goals, and plenty of quirky, Googley fun.
Can you share more about your role as an intern? What does a typical day look like?
Dan: Of course every role is different but happy to explain mine! I am working to improve the support experience for an app. This involves analyzing the user journeys that lead to issues or frustration, recommending courses of action from a support perspective, and coordinating cross-functionally to build product solutions. My typical day involves researching issues and preparing proposals, presenting to stakeholders across the organization for feedback on feasibility and impact, and taking time to grab coffee or lunch with Googlers from across the organization. One of my goals is to meet many people and learn about what they are working on – something that the size and openness of Google is great for!
What is a Yale SOM student ambassador?
Dan: Student ambassadors serve as connection points for prospective students to learn more about the Yale SOM program and what current students are involved in. I am involved or affiliated with the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management (CGSM), the Technology Club, the Data Analytics Club, and the Hockey Club. If any prospective students have questions on those areas or are generally interested in Yale SOM, my contact information is listed on my page and I am always happy to connect!
What is the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management? What are the benefits of membership?
Dan: The Consortium aims to improve the representation and inclusion of traditionally underrepresented minorities in business and leadership. As a prospective applicant who is interested in business school and the mission of the Consortium, one can apply to Consortium schools through their reduced-fee application (cgsm.org). Besides the community and networking opportunities, membership (along with admission) allows you to attend a pre-MBA summit called OP to meet members across all the Consortium member schools and prepare for the transition to business school. At Yale, I have found a great sense of community with my Consortium peers, knowing we all support each other and share the organizational values.
What is your favorite business school course (so far)?
Dan: My favorite course so far has been the Employee Perspective. Going in, I did not expect to be very interested in the ‘human resource management’ class. After learning how to guide an effective people strategy – through job design, organizational structure, alignment of incentives, and more – I found myself excited to learn as much as I could from this class.
What elective courses do you look forward to taking?
Dan: One elective that I am hoping to take is Interpersonal Dynamics. Effective interpersonal relationships and being able to relate to others is essential for leadership in any organization. This course often comes up when I ask alumni for their favorite or most memorable course, and I am excited for the opportunity to try it. I also plan to take classes to strengthen my understanding of strategy, finance, and analytics.
What has surprised you most about your program?
Dan: A significant reason why I chose Yale SOM was the diversity I saw and experienced during my application and interview process. Even so, the depth of diversity has been a pleasant surprise. My classmates have widely varied backgrounds in terms of education, work experience, long-term goals, and more. Though there is still work to be done, the international and minority presence, including our large Consortium class, is a step in the right direction. This diversity creates an incredible environment for learning and inspiration that I am thankful to be a part of.
What are your post-graduation goals?
Dan: Tough question! At a high level, I would love to join an organization where I can contribute to innovative technology solutions, grow my analytical and interpersonal capabilities, and work with great people. These elements are personally important and will help me develop into the type of leader I want to become.
If you could share one message with new MBA applicants, what would it be?
Dan: Research! With the wealth of information from the schools, non-school sources on the internet, and student ambassadors, there are so many ways to learn all about an MBA program. Employment outcomes, life at the program, academics, or anything else you are curious about – please research, ask questions, and get informed before you apply. This will help you write great essays, interview well, and know for yourself if the program is right for your goals.
Do you have questions for Dan? Questions for us? Do you want to be featured in our next What is Business School Really Like? post? Know someone else who you’d love to see featured? Are there questions you’d like us to ask our students in this series? LET US KNOW!
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