Yale School of Management

Allen Xu ’21

MBAInvestments and acquisitions, Jonathan Rose Companies

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As an undergraduate, I double majored in comparative literature and economics. It was interesting, combining the reading and textual analysis of humanities with the quantitative approach that economics takes to the world.

I was undecided as far as a career, so I went into consulting for broad exposure. Then I worked at a startup for a couple of years. But I kept coming back to this view that I had as an undergrad, of looking at the world from two different perspectives. I wanted to build on them as problem-solving tools.

At Yale, the law school offers me some of the same ways of thinking about the world that the humanities did, while my MBA program is sharpening my quantitative edge. I didn’t want to do one of these degrees without the other. I’ll have a legal background, but a business school education prepares you to lead organizations in ways that no other education can. And Yale SOM’s mission of educating leaders for business and society dovetails so nicely with my interest in exploring a values-driven way to lead in the future.

At the beginning of orientation, you meet your learning team and your smaller cohort. You do a project and continue working together in the Managing Groups and Teams course. These exercises are all about investing in your team, working together, and getting to know each other. It’s a meticulously designed process that really helps you build deep relationships quickly.

All through the core curriculum, you’re learning new perspectives. Sourcing and Managing Funds taught me the fundamentals of valuation, mergers, risk, and leverage, using practical examples that I’ve already been able to leverage in interviews. And in the Customer course—which I expected to be familiar, given my background in consulting and market research—I learned both formal frameworks and ways to think about strategic, organizational, and societal considerations. It gave me a more structured understanding of business problems.

This semester, I’m exploring some personal interests in the elective portion of the curriculum, including innovation in healthcare and institutional real estate investing.

I recruited in the field of affordable housing and private real estate investing. My career coach from the Career Development Office, Mike Colelli, was a big help. He pushed me to articulate exactly what I wanted out of my summer and why, so that we could search for the right opportunities.

Real estate is a very relationship-dependent field, so networking is important. The student Real Estate Club was a great resource. We did a job trek that put us in touch with so many people in the industry. The club, along with the SOM alumni I reached out to and my own personal network, helped me hit the ground running.

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