This episode is part of a special mini-series of “Career Conversations” focused on MBA summer internships. 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.
Julia Frederick ’21 is a joint-degree student at the Yale School of Management and Yale School of Public Health and is the SOM student government president. This summer she is interning with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Before SOM, she worked in government and politics, most recently for Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Transcript provided by rev.com.
Emily Kling (00:05):
Welcome to Career Conversations, a podcast from the Yale School of Management. Each episode of Career Conversations is a candid conversation between a student here at SOM and a member of the Yale community who's doing something that we're curious about, kind of like an informational interview, except you get to listen in. I'm Emily Kling, a full time MBA student in the class of 2021.
Amy Kundrat (00:25):
Hi there, and I'm Amy Kundrat, an executive MBA student also in the class of 2021. And today we continue our special Career Conversations miniseries focused on MBA summer internships. We are joined by Julia Frederick. Julia is a full time MBA student in the class of 2021. Julia, welcome.
Emily Kling (00:42):
Julia Frederick (00:44):
Amy Kundrat (00:45):
Thanks for joining us. Can you please introduce yourself to our listeners?
Julia Frederick (00:49):
Sure. Hi everyone. My name is Julia Frederick. I am in the MBA class of 2021. I'm also in the YSPH class of 2021, that's the School of Public Health, and I'm in the accelerated dual degree program for both degrees.
Amy Kundrat (01:08):
Great. And what were you doing before you attended Yale?
Julia Frederick (01:12):
So before I attended Yale, I was working for about seven years in politics and in government, and most recently spent about five and a half years working for Senator Elizabeth Warren, with the past three years, prior to coming back to school in D.C., Working on health policy for her.
Amy Kundrat (01:37):
That's exciting. I know Emily and I both would love to hear more about that, but we also want to hear what you're doing now and why you came to SOM. So why did you come to Yale SOM?
Julia Frederick (01:45):
I was interested in Yale pretty early on. I knew that I wanted to do a dual degree program, so I really wanted to do both an MBA and an MPH, and I wanted to do it as quick as I could. And Yale was one of the only places that had a two year accelerated program. So that was one of the immediate draws.
Julia Frederick (02:12):
Another draw, I really wanted to be back in the Northeast. I'm from the Boston area. I wanted to be closer to home.
Julia Frederick (02:20):
And then really the biggest piece though was the community and the culture of SOM. I knew some people who had been there before. I visited for my interview and for Welcome Weekend and I loved the mindset, loved the value around [inaudible 00:02:42] society and felt like a lot of the students that were coming to SOM were coming from really diverse careers and interested in all sorts of things, and that so many people I met really wanted to go back out into the world and do something meaningful. And it was really important to me that if I came to business school, I was somewhere that wasn't kind of a standard business school, but somewhere that you might find more nontraditional business students like myself.
Emily Kling (03:10):
I'm curious what some of your highlights from the first year have been.
Julia Frederick (03:14):
Ooh, that's a tricky question. A lot of highlights. Honestly, it was an incredibly fun year, of course, until the end. I really enjoyed getting to know the Gold cohort. So I was the Gold cohort representative on student government this past year. So I got to put together a lot of events for the cohort, which was a lot of fun. From the start, I felt like our cohort was really bonded a lot, and many of my best friends at SOM are from the Gold cohort.
Julia Frederick (03:56):
So I have great memories of different Gold events. Winter Formal was super fun. Harvard, Yale, all of the big events that I'm getting nostalgic about now because I'm realizing we won't be able to do many of them this fall. But really, just kind of anything with the community.
Emily Kling (04:20):
And there was one other thing from your past year, which some of the listeners might not know, but Julia is our class president. And I would love to hear about your experience running for class president. Have you done that before? Have you run for a student body representative position in college or high school, or was this the first time?
Julia Frederick (04:40):
First time. Yeah, I guess that was another good memory this past year. So I have never done student government before coming to SOM. And really, even getting elected Gold cohort rep was kind of a random, in a sense. I had not thought about running for student government until I arrived on campus. And in full honesty, we had our field day at the beginning of the school year, and Gold showed up in full spirit, and I led Gold and a bunch of Gold chants that I pulled from like 15 plus years ago when I used to go to sleep away camp. And honestly, I think that like pushed me into the role of Gold [inaudible 00:05:26]. I think I messaged my old camp director after that being like, "Thank you, I'm now I'm student government."
Emily Kling (05:41):
Julia Frederick (05:43):
But yeah, I ended up really enjoying the cohort rep position and just being involved with student government generally. And so when it came time to thinking about if I wanted to run for student government president, it seemed natural in the sense that I was really enjoying what I was doing, wanted to have a bigger role in the work of student government, and felt like there was a lot of work to be done there.
Julia Frederick (06:11):
And one of the reasons that I came to business school was that I really wanted more kind of leadership and management training. And at the end of the day, you can learn some of that in the classroom, but really, you learn it by doing. And so student government was a way for me to learn really, and get more experience in leading and managing.
Emily Kling (06:39):
I remember the elections came after we had moved to online. So what was it like giving the speech from I imagine your bedroom probably, or a room in your house? How was preparing for that?
Julia Frederick (06:53):
Yeah, that was interesting. I was definitely very nervous for my speech, which hopefully you couldn't tell. The silver [crosstalk 00:07:02].
Emily Kling (07:04):
[crosstalk 00:07:04] tell.
Julia Frederick (07:05):
That's good. The silver lining was, I mean, if I was shaky at all, no one could probably see it, but also, I could have my notes in front of me, which I wouldn't have probably done or wouldn't have wanted to do if it was in person. So that in some ways made it easier, but it was definitely odd. I get my energy off of other people, and so not being in a physical space with people while doing that was hard.
Amy Kundrat (07:36):
I can't imagine that when you were thinking about running for student government president, you would imagine what was about to happen in terms of everything moving virtually, COVID, especially given your interest and background in public health and business, kind of blowing up our world. And of course, the seismic, hopefully the seismic shift that Black Lives Matter will be having. How are you thinking about these movements given that you're now kind of deep in learning about management and business and society and public health? Where are you thinking these days about how we can best, as future leaders for business and society, activate ourselves?
Julia Frederick (08:22):
That's a really important and big question and something that I'm thinking about a lot, both in terms of the work that I'm doing with student government, but also the work that I'm doing with my summer internship, which I know we'll get to in a little. And then also just in terms of thinking about kind of where I want to go and what I want to do after SOM and YSPH.
Julia Frederick (08:42):
I think when I originally thought about running, I had no idea that these things were going to happen. And so it's been an incredibly busy spring and summer because of COVID, because of the Black Lives movement, because of so many other issues that keep coming up. But in that way, I'm even more glad that I did run for student government president because there's so much work to be done there. These issues are impacting the whole world, but they're impacting our students and they're impacting our experience at SOM, both in terms of COVID completely changing the format of the next school year, but also, when we think about the Black Lives Matter movement, that's incredibly important to think about in the context of business school too.
Julia Frederick (09:39):
We're at school, a school whose mission is to train and educate leaders for business and society, and so I think it's incredibly important that we're positioning students to be thinking about these systems of oppression and how they can dismantle them and kind of what role they have currently, but also what role they'll have when they leave school and they go into whatever workplace they're at. Whether it's into the public sector or a private company, I think these are really important issues for us all to be thinking about and working on.
Amy Kundrat (10:24):
Well, thank you for answering that. I wanted to give you an opportunity because I think it's a really challenging time that you stepped into this role of leadership for the student body. And so I just want to say both thank you and how impressed I am that it's just a really challenging role and it's a really challenging time. And I appreciate your leadership and your consistent communication around representation for the student body. And yeah, so I just want to sidebar that.
Julia Frederick (10:52):
Yeah, thank you. There's so much, and there's so many things that we can be doing and should be doing, and so we're only just scratching the surface. But it's hard because you're thinking about it in the context of student government and what we're doing at SOM, but then we're all trying to think about how these movements and these issues impact our everyday lives, but our futures. It's overwhelming.
Julia Frederick (11:19):
But I think for me, it's motivating dealing with all of these issues right now. It sucks in so many ways, but they're bringing to light, I mean, whether it's COVID or the Black Lives Matter movement, the issues are not new. Yes, COVID-19 in particular might be new, but it's bringing to light all these disparities in our healthcare system that have existed for a long time. The Black Lives Matter movement is once again just bringing to light issues that have been ongoing for so long, but these things are kind of forcing us to pay more attention right now. And so I think it motivates me to kind of keep focused in the right ways on the things that matter, and to keep focused on doing something after school too that I think is meaningful and will hopefully make some sort of dent in these issues.
Amy Kundrat (12:27):
And speaking of things that matter, it sounds like you've found an internship sort of at the intersection of society, public health, and business. Where are you interning the summer?
Julia Frederick (12:41):
Yeah, so I'm doing my internship for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. I was originally supposed to be interning directly for the Secretary of Health and Human services down there, her name is Mandy Cohen. And my internship is a bit different than it was originally supposed to be. I was going to be in Raleigh shadowing the secretary, working on a lot of things directly with her. Of course I am not in Raleigh right now. I am in my apartment in New Haven working remotely. So I'm still, I'm a fellow for her office, but I'm working on a variety of different projects across the department.
Julia Frederick (13:28):
The Department of Health and Human Services is a massive state agency. I think it's over 19,000 people with 15 different divisions. So I'm working within the Secretary's office, but I am getting to kind of touch on different projects across a few different divisions.
Emily Kling (13:47):
Julia, I imagine there are some things you can't talk about, but are you able to give us some insight into the projects you're working on?
Julia Frederick (13:55):
Yeah. So I am working on a variety of different projects across the department. I'm doing some COVID response work, and in particular, doing some COVID shelter work. I am doing some work with their Medicaid Department around tele-health. I'm also doing some work on child welfare, which is really interesting and a space I've never worked in before. And then also working a bit with local health directors, and then some different other projects in between to fill the time. So it's busy, it's very diverse, but I'm learning a lot.
Emily Kling (14:40):
And you mentioned that you're fully remote. What have you found to be some of the pros and cons of a virtual internship?
Julia Frederick (14:49):
I will say I am not meant to work virtually. I am an extrovert. I miss being around people. I miss the social interactions of the workplace and just being able to kind of pop by someone's desk to have a brainstorming session. I think the con is it's harder to get in touch with people to have those more informal strategy sessions that I think can be really important. I guess the pro is that I wear leggings almost every day, so that's nice. But yeah, it's not for me. I will be so excited to eventually go back into a workplace.
Amy Kundrat (15:36):
Yeah. Thank you for giving a real answer to that because I know at this point, a lot of us are just trying to get by and we're telling ourselves it's okay, but I think there's some days it's okay to not be okay about it. So thanks.
Amy Kundrat (15:48):
So working as a fellow in the Secretary's office, I would imagine you're just privy to a lot of different kinds of projects. Are there any things that surprised you about what that office deals with or maybe things that were affirmed by spending time with the office?
Julia Frederick (16:07):
That's a good question that I haven't really thought about before. My experience before school was working for the federal legislative branch. And so now I'm working for a state executive office. So that in itself is just very different than the work that I did before. And I think one of the things that I'm realizing is really cool about, and fun about state government is that you get to do the policy, but there's also a lot of project management and strategy. And so I don't know if that's surprising, but it's a significant difference from what I did before, and I'm realizing that I really enjoy and appreciate that.
Amy Kundrat (16:53):
And how much has that experience in Senator Warren's office and/or SOM informed the way you're thinking about problems in the Secretary of Health and Human Services office?
Julia Frederick (17:09):
So I think my time working on health policy gave me a really good foundation for just understanding the basics of the systems and the basics of the health and human services systems in a state. Even though we were doing federal policy, obviously I was just deep in the weeds of anything health related. And so that has helped in that, especially in the healthcare world, there's so many different acronyms that get thrown out. There's so many just laws and acronyms that people refer to that, coming into this, I automatically felt pretty comfortable. Even though it was a very different workplace than I'd been before, it did not feel completely new to me. Like the conversations were still very similar, it's just that now we're actually talking about how you implement programs and how you kind of innovate based on a law that already exists.
Julia Frederick (18:20):
And so that's been fun because I think what I missed in doing policy work was that kind of more creative side and that ability to strategize a bit more with a team. And I think that's what I'm really enjoying, that problem-solving piece that you don't get as much in the legislative branch, or at least not in the same way. There's definitely a lot of problem-solving still, but it's different when you're actually implementing programs.
Amy Kundrat (18:51):
And I guess the other side of that question is what do you think you're going to bring with you back to SOM after your internship?
Julia Frederick (19:00):
I think one of the reasons that I wanted to go to North Carolina in the first place is that I had met Secretary Cohen and followed her work a bit. And I was incredibly impressed by her as a leader. And so I was really excited to learn from her, see a strong leader in action and learn from her directly. While I haven't gotten the experience that I originally thought I would in that I'm not shadowing her every day, I still do get to witness her and how she kind of runs that state agency and how she works with people. And I've continued to be really impressed by her and it's made me continue to think critically about how I am as a leader and a manager, and want to kind of use more of my time at SOM to take some more organizational behavior classes and think a little bit more critically about my own skills in that space.
Emily Kling (20:20):
Julia, what's one thing that you're doing this summer that has nothing to do with your internship?
Julia Frederick (20:26):
Well, I spend most of my non-internship hours doing student government work. I don't know. That's a great answer.
Emily Kling (20:35):
Well, it sounds like the true answer.
Julia Frederick (20:37):
It's true. It is true. Otherwise, well, now that I'm back in Connecticut, so I was in the Boston area at my parents' house for the first few months of this, but I came back to Connecticut a few weeks ago. So I'm trying to, at least on the weekends, get out and explore Connecticut a little bit, go on some hikes, find some local ice cream spots. So I will be continuing to do that for the rest of the summer and probably into the fall because we'll need to keep finding things to do outside.
Emily Kling (21:13):
Do you have a favorite ice cream place in New Haven or Connecticut at large?
Julia Frederick (21:18):
Ooh. I just this past weekend went to a farm, and now I'm going to totally forget what farm it was, but I also went to Arethusa, which there is a spot in New Haven, but I actually went to their site in like Litchfield, I want to say, which is over like an hour away, and that was fantastic.
Amy Kundrat (21:44):
I co-signed that original location. And in fact, they have, I don't know if you visited the cows, but you can actually go to their farm, their dairy farm nearby near the original location and visit their cows, which are just these beautiful bovine creatures that are well taken care of, let's put it that way.
Julia Frederick (22:02):
I did not do that, but I will have to. I'll put it on.
Emily Kling (22:07):
Arethusa has been my saving grace throughout COVID. And I've done so many pint orders that I looked them up, and if I'm messing this up, my apologies, but I learned that it was originally owned or maybe became owned by the Manolo Blahnik family, or maybe not the family-
Julia Frederick (22:25):
Emily Kling (22:25):
But the president and vice president of Manolo Blahnik own it, which I just thought was, I don't know, kind of a fun fact. I liked it, but that's besides the point. Another question for you, Julia, is what advice would you give to a matriculating first year student who's just starting out online, or hybrid rather, but what would you tell them?
Julia Frederick (22:49):
It's a hard question because they're entering at such a different time.
Emily Kling (22:55):
What would you tell yourself then? If you could go back in time and tell August 2019 Julia something, knowing what you know now, what might you tell her?
Julia Frederick (23:05):
I'd say never leave a party before it ends because, soon enough, you won't be able to go to any.
Julia Frederick (23:18):
Well, the more serious I guess piece of advice because, unfortunately, it's not the fall of 2019, is just take the time to have real conversations with your classmates outside of the time that you're working on your coursework or your conferences or whatever other kind of extracurricular projects. I think it's really easy to get wrapped up in a billion different things at SOM and then be so spread thin that you don't get time to really kind of invest in kind of deeper conversations and relationships.
Julia Frederick (24:07):
And I think one of the silver linings of COVID for me is that while I might not be seeing or talking to as many people, I'm having more in depth conversations with people and I'm really getting to know some of my classmates better. And that's been fun because I think I'm going to come out of this experience with many lifelong friends, but I almost think because of the current situation, some of those relationships are going to be even stronger.
Amy Kundrat (24:41):
That's great. I agree with that and I'm going to take that to heart. And one of the things that I've been looking to do this year and I've challenged myself with is that each week, I'm reaching out to and connecting with a student, a fellow student that I haven't... It could be my year, it could be the an incoming EMBA, but reaching out, having a phone conversation or making plans. In fact, I just had dinner with a fellow EMBA tonight who drove like 40 minutes to have dinner with me. And so I feel like that's my big takeaway from the first year when I was all like head down into books, not that I won't be this year.
Amy Kundrat (25:22):
Anyway, I guess I wanted to ask you one other question, which is if you had another summer to plan an internship and maybe COVID was in our rear view mirror, what would you be thinking about doing as an internship?
Julia Frederick (25:39):
You mean like if I could get a second internship?
Amy Kundrat (25:42):
Julia Frederick (25:43):
Yeah, because I would definitely still keep this one. I've loved this experience and I've learned a ton. If I could have a second summer for an internship, I would want to do something in the healthcare delivery system, so perhaps an internship within a hospital system or within an organization doing something innovative in the healthcare delivery space. I think all of my experience so far has been mostly in government and I would be interested in getting some private sector experience on the delivery side of care.
Amy Kundrat (26:27):
What are you looking forward to when you come back to New Haven? I know you're back in Connecticut now, but when you're back on campus, you're back in the classroom, you're back with your learning teams, what are you looking forward to doing when you're back?
Julia Frederick (26:42):
I'm definitely really looking forward to seeing certain friends. It's been a while now, so that will be one of the things I look forward to the most. I'm also, I'm honestly looking forward to jumping back in on classes and being able to take classes that I choose to take. I think I've been excited to take some more organizational behavior courses and some economics courses. And another thing I'm realizing from my internship is that I want to have a better kind of understanding of data systems. And so I think having a summer under my belt has helped me better understand the types of courses I want to take going into this year that will help me kind of hone my skills to make me a better candidate for whatever that job is that I want after.
Amy Kundrat (27:41):
Great. Well, thank you so much, Julia, for spending time with us and telling us about your internship this summer, and we're really excited to see you back on campus in less than a month.
Julia Frederick (27:52):
I'm excited to be there.
Emily Kling (27:55):
You've been listening to Career Conversations, a podcast from the Yale School of Management. If you like what you heard today, please subscribe to this podcast. You can find Career Conversations on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or however you take your podcasts.
Amy Kundrat (28:07):
You can also find the show on our website at som.yale.edu/careerconversations. Career Conversations is produced by SOM. Our producers are Amy Kundrat and Emily Kling. For Career Conversations, I'm Em... I'm Emily Kling?
Emily Kling (28:27):
And I'm Amy Kundrat.
Amy Kundrat (28:30):
Thanks for listening. We hope you'll tune in again.
Julia Frederick ’21
Internship: North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
Hometown: Brookline, Massachusetts
Clubs and affiliations: Student Government, Social Impact Consulting Club, Healthcare Conference
Favorite Yale SOM Class: The Global Macroeconomy with Lorenzo Caliendo
Favorite New Haven eatery: One 6 Three
Favorite Professor: Lorenzo Caliendo
Favorite Yale SOM community event: Tight ’n’ Bright
Bonus facts: Current SOM Student Government president and a joint-degree student in the two-year accelerated program with the Yale School of Public Health