MBA Students Network on San Francisco Job Trek
More than 100 MBA students headed west over the holiday break on Yale SOM's annual San Francisco Job Trek. Student clubs coordinated visits to 42 companies spanning 10 industries during the weeklong excursion, including Google, IDEO, Tesla, Visa, eBay, Plug and Play Tech Center, DBL Investors, and the Edible Schoolyard.
Job treks provide opportunities to meet and network with SOM alumni and other professionals at companies in a particular region or industry. Yale SOM also has an annual trek to Hong Kong, and students organize additional treks each year to cities such as Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
On the Yale SOM Community Blog, Ada Wan '14 wrote that the company visits were informative and illustrated the reach of the Yale SOM alumni network. "We officially kicked off the trek at 9 a.m. on Monday with a visit to eBay, which welcomed us with breakfast and inspiring conversation with senior executives, including Beth Axelrod '89, eBay's senior vice president of human resources," Wan wrote. "She spoke with refreshing candidness about her own career trajectory as well as the culture of a company whose leaders genuinely appreciate the value of human capital."
An alumni event including a panel forum titled "Globalization and Career," featuring Yale SOM alumni, capped the week. Panelists included Laszlo Bock '99, senior vice president for people operations at Google; Tolan Steele '97, head of risk management for the Asia Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa regions at Visa; Heather Corcoran '98, consultant and executive coach at Next Step Partners; and Sudeshna Basu '98, director of development at Electronic Arts.
Panelists shared their insights on issues including the challenges of globalization and the traits of a global leader. They also noted the limitations of technological advances, such as video conferencing, in developing and maintaining global business relationships. Corcoran recalled a recent meeting she facilitated for a global consulting firm. "[The participants] were so hungry to connect with each other," she said. "They had never seen each other in person, and in-person is really vital."
A personal connection is also crucial when a business is launching remote offices, Bock said, adding that Google learned through trial and error to staff new offices with at least one veteran who'd worked at headquarters. "Make sure there are people who really understand what the dream is and how the decisions get made," Bock said.
Panelists also offered career advice. Steele suggested that first-year students seeking internships should take the opportunity to experiment, learn from their mistakes, and cultivate new skills. Basu advised student entrepreneurs to begin work on their start-ups as soon as possible, and Bock recommended that students take classes in statistics and operations management, because these skills are useful at a broad arrange of firms and not enough new MBAs have them.