Student Profile: Shifting Perspectives
Lauren Coape-Arnold '13
Co-chair, Philanthropy Conference
Summer Internship: Education Pioneers/Carnegie Corporation
During college and my first years of work, I had been involved with a number of organizations through volunteer work, but I never thought of philanthropy as a career—until the hedge fund where I was working, Maverick Capital, launched a foundation. I got direct exposure through the foundation, became a volunteer board member, and enjoyed doing deep analysis on nonprofit organizations. I quickly realized that this was my passion.
Eventually Maverick offered me the position of director of the foundation. It was really the perfect opportunity for me to try out the job that I thought I wanted… and it was everything I had expected and more. I loved being able to take the network and experience that I built at Maverick, the love of their culture, the really talented colleagues, and shift that energy into a totally new medium. I knew at that point that philanthropy was actually going to be my career.
Yale was the best place for me to hone some of the financial and quantitative skills that I had acquired through my previous jobs to further my career. I also liked how I would gain another perspective on how to serve society and become a leader.
The first segment of the Yale curriculum was more challenging than anything I can remember. What got me through it was the help and support of classmates. My study group was phenomenal. If I ever had a question about a new concept, there were others with different experiences who could walk me through the assignment and help me learn. We had one student in my study group who was a joint degree with the Medical School, so he brought a completely different skill set than the two consultants in my group. We really had great team chemistry and it was a lot of fun cracking some of the cases with people who brought such different perspectives to the table.
During Fall-1 we took a class called Problem Framing that really pushed you to think about situations in ways that were different from your natural response: Stop, take a minute, and think of five different ways that you can tackle the situation. And that approach, to me, has been the biggest learning experience. Beyond all of the quantitative skills that I'm learning, the ability to look at an issue from other perspectives has been hugely impactful, which is the purpose of our integrated curriculum.
For my summer internship, I worked at Carnegie Corporation on the 100Kin10 initiative, which is a national coalition addressing the critical shortage of excellent STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) teachers. I spent my summer devising strategies to promote purposeful partner engagement and encouraging collaboration to accelerate the movement. This project felt like a microcosm of SOM, almost perfectly mimicking the integrated curriculum; I was constantly shifting perspectives to understand what each of the various stakeholders—such as Google, Teach for America, the D.C. public schools, Maryland's Governor O'Malley, and the Gates Foundation—each sought from this initiative, and how to best address their diverse interests. The core curriculum gave me a deeper understanding of how to integrate those distinct perspectives.
Interviewed on March 21, 2012. Updated August 29, 2012.