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.
Lauren Harper ’20
Internship: AgriDigital, Sydney, Australia
Hometown: Fayetteville, Arkansas
Favorite Yale SOM class: The Global Macroeconomy with Lorenzo Caliendo
Clubs and affiliations: Media and Entertainment Club, Tech Club, and WIM
Favorite professor: Mushfiq Mobarak
Favorite Yale SOM community event: April Foolery
Favorite New Haven eatery: Rice Pot
This summer I had the privilege of being a part of the finance product team at AgriDigital, an agriculture tech startup that has built a cloud-based digital commodity management platform making the agriculture supply chain simple, easy, and secure, from paddock to plate. A lot happened over the course of the summer: AgriDigital expanded to the United States; began digitizing cotton assets on a blockchain with their partner company, Geora; and prepared to release a new app. The finance product team was especially exciting because we launched new products that provide cash advances to AgriDigital customers just one month after I started. Since the products were brand new, we had to adjust continuously to meet our customers’ needs and discover how to be the most efficient operationally. I spent my summer participating in finance product development discussions, creating product process flows, designing slides for new customers and investors, and most of all, building a minimum viable product (“MVP”) for our finance products’ mark to market calculations and records.
I had no experience in agriculture or tech before joining AgriDigital, so this summer was a whirlwind of new terms, ways of operating, and asking question after question. My favorite part of the internship was having the opportunity to build something in Excel that is being used as the blueprint to build finance features for the digital platform. For someone new to tech, seeing a developer begin to build in code a spreadsheet I created was very rewarding. The finance product team also partnered with Geora to digitize the finance customer’s assets. After studying blockchain technology and constantly reading about the hype surrounding it, it was great to see a real-life use case for blockchain develop in front of me.
The entrepreneurial spirit and culture at AgriDigital confirmed my interest in the startup world. There is something addicting about the constant buzz at a startup and knowing everything you do is impacting the company in a big way. To top it off, I had constant exposure to the founders and CEO, was able to wear many hats, and didn’t have to wear a suit! I’m very grateful for my summer at AgriDigital, and for all the wonderful people I met working there.
One thing extremely unique to my internship was being able to work with my brother, who is the finance product lead at AgriDigital. I was able to learn so much more than at a normal internship because I had a built-in tutor. I would pepper him with questions after work, and we would spend hours at nights and on the weekends discussing the agriculture and tech industries. We also were able to squeeze in a lot of fun activities. We swam with whale sharks, went to the Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania, ran the world-famous City2Surf race, and drank lots of amazing Australian coffee. I couldn’t have asked for a better summer.
Lauren Harper is a recipient of the Sim Family Foundation Scholarship (2018-19 and 2019-20).