Student Profile: Crossing Sectors
Laura Rodriguez í11
Summer Internship: Barclays Capital
When I graduated from college, I moved down to Washington, D.C., and joined Accentureís consulting practice to the Federal Government. I focused on improving efficiency through business process redesign as well as providing strategic planning on certain policy considerations. During my four years there, I honed my problem-solving skills and developed a curiosity about the role of government in our market-driven society.
I was torn between an MBA and a masters in public policy. But at the end of the day, I wanted to develop skills that I knew I could use for the rest of my life and that would make me marketable in any situation. What I really like about Yale is that I feel like I am getting the MBA and a lot of the policy. SOMís integrated approach really aims to understand the connections between the public and private sectors that are becoming increasingly important in todayís world.
As part of SOMís required curriculum, I spent my International Experience in China and Hong Kong. The focus of this trip centered on the role of China in the global financial system. We met with high-profile business leaders and government officials, ranging from the Peopleís Bank of China and the China Investment Corporation to the Carlyle Group and Citibank China. It was fascinating to hear their perspectives first hand. As we traveled from Shanghai to Beijing and eventually to Hong Kong, it became increasingly clear that China struggles to balance its economic goals while maintaining tight governmental control, both domestically and internationally.
We were also very fortunate to have Professor Jeffrey Garten lead the trip. He teaches a new class called Wall Street and Washington that looks at the similar political-economic ties and tensions in this country. Given his remarkable career that has spanned the public sector, from serving in the armed forces to advising on international trade as an undersecretary of commerce, as well as the private sector, including building Lehman Brothersí Asia practice in the 1980s, his experience added significant depth to the conversations encountered on this trip abroad.
Thinking back to when I first came to visit the school, I remember leaving so impressed by SOMís mission to engage on this broader understanding of business's responsibility to society. This summer I interned at Barclays Capitalís Investment Banking Division in New York and will be returning full-time upon graduation. While I had no background in finance prior to SOM, I found this experience invaluable in understanding Wall Streetís capital creation ethos and how it interacts with the policy world I am accustomed to in Washington.
With all the recent discussions on financial reform, I believe this will be a critical time to address these issues. In preventing future crises of this magnitude, there is obviously a role for policy and regulation, but I feel that the private sector will be the catalyst for lasting change. I credit business school for opening up this new opportunity, and particularly SOM, for its holistic preparation. Regardless of where I end up, I am fully confident in that what I have learned here at Yale will enable me to contribute to the complex issues that face our society.
Interviewed on March 25, 2010. Updated November 18, 2010.