Yale School of Management

Internship Spotlight: Giovanni Cruz ’20

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

August 12, 2019

Giovanni Cruz ’20

Internship: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, Washington

Hometown: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Favorite Yale SOM class: Human Capital Strategy
Favorite professor: Lorenzo Caliendo
Favorite New Haven eatery: Barracuda
Clubs and affiliations: Internship Fund, Out of Office, Social Impact Consulting, Welcome Weekend Committee, Admissions Guide, SOM Voices, Consortium for Graduate Study in Management

This summer, I’m working at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, within their U.S. K-12 education team. As part of the analytics team, I’ve been working on a few data analytics projects to help inform the foundation’s K-12 investment strategy.

For my first project, I’ve been using R, a programming language, to analyze English Language Arts (ELA) proficiency rates in one of our focus districts in northern California to understand how the district is performing, and how its performance compares to the performance of charter schools in the area. Additionally, I’ve analyzed data to understand how the performance of this district compares to nearby districts across different student populations. The findings from my analysis will be used to inform our charter seat growth investments in northern California.

My second project also involves using R, but to analyze district purchasing data as a proxy to understand district-level adoption of high-quality curricula. The findings from my analysis are being used to set curriculum adoption targets for the next few years, which will inform the foundation’s curriculum-related investment strategy. In addition to the analysis, I’m working with my program officer on an investment to further understand how this external district purchasing database can be leveraged to answer market-related research questions in the education field at large.

In addition to my projects, I’ve had the opportunity to attend a speaker series that included our CEO, Sue Desmond-Hellmann, our COO, CIO, CFO, and many other foundation executives. I’ve also had the opportunity to attend foundation-wide talks with Bill Gates; Henrietta Fore, the Executive Director of UNICEF; Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo Movement; and Aliko Dangote, the richest man in the African continent. This summer has provided me with countless opportunities to meet and hear from some of the leaders working on the world’s most pressing issues.

Having spent four years supporting fundraisers at an education nonprofit, being able to learn how the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation approaches its investment opportunities, and more importantly, how it leverages data to inform its strategy, has been an eye-opening experience. As I figure out my post-MBA plans, I’m excited to leverage what I’ve learned this summer to ultimately make an impact in the world.

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Giovanni Cruz Gratacos

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