I was working at Cisco Systems. I was in sales, managing a great team, and I absolutely loved it. But as I was growing into the role and discovering my leadership style, I realized that I didn’t have all the tools I needed to do a great job. I took a step back and reevaluated my career trajectory. An MBA made sense as the next step, and Yale SOM’s core curriculum, right away, drew me in. It emphasized both the softer skills, the interpersonal stuff that’s such a big part of leadership, and the hard skills like finance and decision modeling as the foundation of strategy. Then, when I did my campus visit, I sat in on Rodrigo Canales’ dynamic Innovator class, and I knew I was coming here to do my MBA.
The core also did a phenomenal job of setting me up for my internship. In the Executive, the final core course, we had to perform a due diligence. My internship involved performing due diligences on software companies.
It was unbelievably valuable to have learned how to think through how a business works, from end to end. What does the competition look like? Is the market growing? What’s the pricing strategy? The Executive is the course that brings all these different concepts together and teaches you the mental flexibility to move from operations to marketing to competitive strategy to finance. It was a huge course for me.
SOM is a community where we help each other. There were probably a dozen second-year students who helped me think through what I needed to do to find the right internship. The Consulting Club offers a fantastic and thorough prep course. They ran me through strategy cases that prepared me for the interviews.
Alumni, too, were so amenable. I did a networking trip to San Francisco, before résumé drops, just to learn about the industry. I reached out to five Yale SOM alumni at BCG and Bain, and I had face-to-face meetings with four of them. They shared the kind of insights you can only get from people in the field. That’s when I realized, “Wow, this is a really powerful network.”