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Internship Spotlight: Betsy Rives '17

What are you doing this summer? We asked rising second-year MBA students to check in from their summer internships, where they are applying the lessons of their first year at Yale SOM.

Betsy Rives ’17

Internship place and location: Real Estate and Workplace Services MBA Intern at Google in Sunnyvale, California
Home country/state: USA, North Carolina
Favorite Yale SOM class: Yale Center for Customer Insights (YCCI) Discovery Project with Pepsi (also called Customer Insights and Applications), the Innovator’s Perspective, the Employee’s Perspective

Google is famous for its awesome workplace, and this is not by chance. Like most things at Google, workspaces and workplace programs are designed using research, data, and a user-centered focus. The Real Estate and Workplace Services (REWS) organization is responsible for the office design, food, transportation, sustainability, desk space, and even lighting and workplace materials that make for happier and healthier Googlers. Innovation is core to REWS’ continued success in building workspaces for collaboration, conversation, and team connections that drive productivity and effectiveness. My interests in human behavior, creativity, and data-driven decision-making led me to REWS this summer.

For my summer project, I am conducting user-experience research so that we can better design workspaces that help Googlers excel. To be successful in this project, I find myself repeatedly reflecting on lessons from my first-year SOM courses and clubs, particularly the Design and Innovation Club, the Innovator’s Perspective course, and Customer Insights and Applications, my Yale Center for Customer Insights Discovery Project.

The YCCI Discovery Project’s practicum style gave me great experience conducting interviews, writing surveys, and analyzing data with real participants and a real client. As I do similar work with Google, I keep Ravi and Nathan’s voices in mind, pushing me to think more critically: Is this insight interesting? How is this insight actionable? Is the user acting as scientist? With lessons from this course and real-world opportunity as a guide, I am able to better navigate the complexity and ambiguity of my research at Google with confidence.

At Google, I continue to be most surprised and inspired by the diversity of expertise on my team and throughout the company. In addition to meeting with engineers, lawyers, and business analysts, I am also working closely with a designer, an architect, a library scientist, a biologist, an anthropologist, and even a few other Yale MBAs. This range of experiences and voices introduces new perspectives and approaches to problem solving. Most importantly, this range means I learn many new things every day.