Student Profile: A Framework for Success
Socheata Poeuv '12
Pre-SOM: Khmer Legacies
Summer internship: ParentingBreakthrough.com
Before I came to SOM, I worked for five years in network news, directed an independent documentary film that aired on PBS, and started a nonprofit organization that uses media to further education and awareness about the Cambodian genocide. I found that the financial sustainability of the business was always the limit, whether it was documentary film or nonprofit organizations.
The core curriculum has given me an overall paradigm to understand businesses and industries and why some of them have certain advantages that others don't. For example, one of the reasons that nonprofits have such a hard time is because the way they bring in their money is through fundraising, which is an entirely different skill set than providing a service or the product to meet an unmet social need. So just in the education that I've had so far, I feel much more confident and empowered.
Roger Brown and Linda Mason, who are two Yale SOM alumni who are married, were very influential for me and inspired me to come here. Before they started the childcare company Bright Horizons, they spent a year in a refugee camp on the Thai-Cambodian border creating what would become the largest feeding program in humanitarian aid history. And that refugee camp was where I was born.
I heard about them, and because we had these connections I wrote a letter to them and told them who I was, and basically reached out to them and asked them to be mentors. What I love about them, and why I want to be more like them, is that they've been able to create financial abundance in their life and also do it while living in a way that is consistent with their values. And at SOM, there are so many people like that—people of really different perspectives who are also interested in how they can use their careers to provide some kind of social benefit to society.
At SOM, I came to understand that my skill set is around packaging and presenting information. I spent my summer internship developing a business plan for a company that provides training online for parents of children with behavioral problems. Without the framework provided by my first year at Yale SOM, this project would have been like working in the dark. SOM gave me the tools to effectively evaluate this opportunity—I learned all the reasons why this company might not work and what it would take to make it work.
Interviewed on January 25, 2011. Updated on February 1, 2012.