Interview Round Table with 1st Year Anderson Students Interning in Tech

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Participants:

Daniel Figueiredo

Internship employer & role: Microsoft Corp., Business Program Manager and Operations

Pre-Anderson employer & role: LATAM Airlines, Sales Strategy

Yanting Li

Internship employer & role: Microsoft, Central Finance Manager

Pre-Anderson employer & role: Moss Adams, Audit Manager

 

Santiago Perez

Internship employer & role: Amazon, Senior Product Manager – Technical Products (PMT)

Pre-Anderson employer & role: Balfour Beatty, Senior Project Engineer

 

Connie Jiang

Internship employer & role: Facebook, Product Data Operations

Pre-Anderson employer & role: Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Research & Strategy Analyst

 

Why did you decided to focus on tech companies in your recruiting process?

Santiago: I decided on recruiting for tech way before I even decided to go to business school. Wanting to work in tech was the reason for me to go to business school. My reasons for going into tech were: I was working in construction because I always wanted a career that had impact on people’s lives and in construction you get that very tangible impact. My reasoning was I was building 300 apartments for 300 families over the course of 2 years. They’re going to appreciate that. But with tech, maybe I can build a piece of software eventually that’s going to be used by 300 companies, each of which will build 300 apartments for 300 families. That amplifying of impact was my reason for going into tech. And because it provides you a better path into entrepreneurship. It’s easier to start your own company in tech rather than a development project, which costs millions of dollars in capital.

Yanting: I started recruiting more for function than industry. I recruited in finance, and I’m going into finance at Microsoft over the summer. I also interviewed with Nike and some other CPG companies, but I decided to go with tech because I think in our modern world every company is a tech company in some way. It’s a great launching platform for anybody looking to do anything to have tech experience and to be involved anywhere, like Microsoft, that sees so much and does so much. It would be a really good experience to see that. That was my reason for choosing tech over other industries.

 

What are you most looking forward to in your internship, and what skills are you looking to develop?

Connie: Something I’m looking forward to the most is being able to work within a company that has such tremendous impact, and working on specific products that make a huge difference in people’s day-to-day lives. I think that also working in a truly innovative space -- I came from broadcast media where everything was a dinosaur and moved really slow, and so working at a faster pace where you are encouraged to move fast, be bold, and break things will be really exciting for me. Specifically what I want to gain from this internship experience is not only a better understanding of the tech industry, but also process and product development, and learning R.

Daniel: I have a background in airlines. I’m used to working at a very slow pace with 3% margins and 5% growth industry...So I kind of want to confront those realities and just check what is actually transferable between industries. What can I bring from my background that can make a difference here, and what can I learn here with different people and a different setting? Especially coming in as an international student with a different setting with Americans and also international people, seeing different cultures and how people work.

 

How has Anderson/AnderTech prepared you to work in tech?

 Daniel: As an international student, location was very important for me. Being on the west coast, being close to universities… I came here, spoke with people. I learned a lot about the collaboration. Not only from students but people from Parker [Career Center] etc. That really made a difference because Anderson was the first school I visited and then I visited other schools, HBS for example, and it was a completely different setting, a completely different way of working. For example, this was the only class of all the MBA classes I visited where people really got into heated discussions… All of this collaboration isn’t just a selling point. It’s embedded in our DNA.

Santiago: My favorite part of Anderson is that we have this system built where second years help first years and then we pass it on and then we have this awesome wheel of successful people training people that want to be successful. My favorite experience in AnderTech was the IPT [Interview Prep Team] program because I was matched with somebody who was awesome and who had already successfully recruited, and they passed all those lessons onto me. And beyond that, I knew that if I wanted to go outside my individual IPT coach, anybody in AnderTech would be willing to meet with me, do an IPT session, and give me career strategy. I think that’s the secret of why Anderson is so successful in tech.

Connie: I think that’s what makes Anderson such a strong tech school. Because of the network effects there’s such a strong network of alums that are so eager to help out current students. And they’re able to refer you for current roles, which is essentially how I got some of my current offers. That sharing success is very integral in helping get roles in tech.

 

Are there any classes you are looking forward to that you think will help in tech?

Yanting: I signed up for a Customer Data and Analytics marketing class that has nothing to do with what I’m going into, but I think part of the reason I came to business school is to learn different skill sets that I wouldn’t have learned outside, so I’m constantly trying to push my boundaries and seek out classes that have nothing to do with finance so I can get a broader view. And I think that will eventually help. My role [at Microsoft] is very numbers based, but you have to understand what’s happening at the rest of the company, and at some level customer analytics as well.

 

 Any thoughts on going to school in the Bay vs LA?

Santiago: For me, LA is such a better city. I picked up surfing here, the weather is better, there are more things to do, it’s a little more diverse, and tech companies are starting to move here. That’s one. Second one: I’m one of those who’s going to be really in debt at the end of the MBA program. I’m actively not looking to work in San Francisco with the exception of a few companies that are super awesome and I’m actually targeting. But if I actually had a choice and those companies were in LA or Seattle, I would choose LA and Seattle to save money and be able to pay off my debt. I think that’s an advantage over those poor Berkeley and Stanford students who are going to have their debt for a long time.

Connie: I think that one of the coolest things about LA is, the Bay is known for being tech, but LA has so many other industries that are flourishing so you have the opportunity to leverage your tech experience in other industries, which is why I was like yeah I definitely want to go to LA because I’m interested in new media and entertainment and so that creates a better pipeline because that’s where the industries and the companies are. So I think being very intentional about which industry and what you want to do within that industry is really helpful in terms of deciding between the Bay and LA.

Daniel: I agree 100%. Coming to LA was actually better in my case because if I went to the Bay area I think that my MBA would be 100% tech, whereas here it also focuses on gaming and other things I never would have thought about. I feel that Anderson has such a great culture in terms of reaching out to alumni -- reaching out to people who are working in tech -- that the distance fades. You don’t have to worry about a one hour flight because you can call people. I did a lot of informationals with people in the Bay area so I feel that for location, I would definitely pick LA and have a fun 2 years, then move to the Bay if needed.

 

Last thoughts:

Connie: I would just say if I could go back in time and tell pre-MBA Connie some advice, I would say don’t be afraid of making two pivots. Because, it’s doable. When people tell you that you have to try to find something that is in line with what you did before, yeah that definitely helps but at the end of the day what’s most important is networking and talking to people and learning about what they do because that translates very naturally when you go into the actual application process and the interview process. I would just tell Connie “Chill out, it’ll be okay. Just network and you can do more than one pivot if you want.”

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