Greetings from San Francisco, where over 100 Yale SOM students just completed visiting more than 40 companies for our annual San Francisco Job Trek! During this year’s record-breaking trek, the leaders of eight SOM clubs, such as Net Impact and the Technology Club, have coordinated visits with diverse companies and organizations in the Bay area. Popular destinations included Google, IDEO, Visa and the Omidyar Network, the philanthropic investment firm established by Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, and his wife.
As has consistently been the case for me since school started in August, I have been impressed by the strength and breadth of the Yale SOM network as well as the broader Yale community of which we are a part. For example, we officially kicked off the trek at 9 a.m. on Monday with a visit to eBay, which welcomed us with breakfast and inspiring conversations with senior executives, including Beth Axelrod (SOM ’89), eBay’s senior vice president of human resources. During both her presentation and the ensuing Q&A, 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, among other topics. As a veteran myself of several organizations with differing talent management strategies (or, sometimes, non-strategies) prior to SOM, I could not help but wish I had heard her speak and absorbed this wisdom five years earlier.
Two days after our eBay visit, my fellow trekkers and I joined SOM alumni, admitted students and graduates of other Yale schools for an evening of networking and a panel discussing the impact of globalization on our careers. In addition to an illustrious roster of panelists that included Laszlo Bock (SOM ’99), the senior vice president of people operations at Google, I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to engage other members of the greater Yale community. Whether I was sharing travel advice with an economic consultant and member of SOM’s Class of 2015 or half-jokingly inviting myself to the San Jose home of a new friend and public health alumnus, I found myself marveling at the sense of near-immediate connection that derived from our common Yale affiliation.
Lest you worry that we have been all business this week, of course, I am also pleased to report that with the help of our SF trek leaders, we have been blending the company visits and networking with plenty of fun—both officially and unofficially. To supplement events like trek-wide happy hours, unofficial adventures have included leisurely ambles through Ghirardelli Square, trampoline dodgeball and dinner/karaoke at one of the best Japanese restaurants in the city.
Given the full week that we have had here, I won’t deny that I’ll be loath to leave San Francisco to return to New Haven for start of spring courses. That said, our first round of electives and upcoming International Experience promise to make for an interesting spring, and I look forward to sharing more updates as a “quarter-MBA “once I am back at school.