Yale SOM Students Tap into Networks and Opportunities on Winter Job Treks

Visiting Silicon Valley companies like Google, eBay, and LinkedIn in early January, Antoine Ligier ’16 got a series of reminders of the power of the Yale connection. “Yale students are really willing to help each other,” he says. “As soon as you mention the ‘Yale’ name in a conversation, you can actually feel the sense of community, help, and trust. It’s amazing.”

Students at Intuit in Mountain View, California.

Ligier was one of more than 150 Yale SOM students who fanned out across the globe during winter break on more than 15 job treks exploring opportunities in a variety of sectors.

The students met with alumni of Yale SOM, Yale College, and other Yale graduate schools at company visits and other informational gatherings.  “I chatted with an alumna who went to the School of Forestry and now works at PG&E,” Ligier says. “She gave me contacts of friends at tech firms who recruit MBA students. It’s a great chance for me to diversify my internship search.”

Student leaders and staffers from SOM’s Career Development Office organize the school’s many annual job treks. Over winter break, students traveled to a number of U.S. cities and several international locations.

“The treks are really about access,” says Nicolle Merrill, a CDO relationship manager, who accompanied students on a trek to the Bay Area. “During company visits, students have access to recruiters and alumni who share candid advice—what they look for in applicants, how to succeed in their company culture, and tips on getting noticed in the application process.”

In the Bay Area, more than 90 students visited more than 40 companies from tech giants to startups, as well as investment firms, healthcare companies, and social enterprises. Students also attended an evening panel event with Yale alumni from SOM and the schools of public health, forestry and environmental studies, and law

Students at the home of Ray Chia ’88 in Hong Kong.

Alvin Cheng ’16 co-led a China trek, one of 20 students who visited more than 45 companies, including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Chongyang Investment, and ZhenFund, and met with SOM alumni in Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai. “Many of us have secured internships from the trek,” Cheng says. “The alumni clubs in China organized fantastic events for us. We met with more than 100 Yale alumni, and built very good relationships.”

Nine students went on a Mexico City trek, visiting companies including Google, Volaris, Coca-Cola, Walmart, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, A.T. Kearney, and Prudential.  “More than anything else, we learned that in Mexico, there are tons of opportunities in emerging markets for MBAs, with global salaries, exciting places, and considerably fewer candidates and less competition for these spots,” says Ignacio Garat ’16, trek co-leader.

Multiple New York treks took in financial, consumer product goods, media, tech, and healthcare firms. For example, seven students visited PepsiCo to explore opportunities and learn more about the consumer packaged goods industry.  “Our contact at PepsiCo, who is also an alumna, did an amazing job of lining up different speakers and panels so that we could learn as much as possible about the company and the role of a brand manager there,” says Karen Chen ’16, trek co-leader. “We were able to get a glimpse of the process brand managers go through when launching a new product, hear from the innovation team on how a large company like PepsiCo remains entrepreneurial and agile, and speak with employees about daily life as a member of the marketing team.”