When you recruit for banking, one of the most important things to do, in addition to gaining the technical knowledge, is to make connections with contacts across different banks and financial institutions. What Yale SOM does very, very well is leverage its network across Yale University. A lot of Yale alumni end up on Wall Street, working in so many different capacities. So, when you meet with banks and start conversations and get to know people, you interact with not just SOM alumni, but Yale College alumni, too. It really is one cohesive network. I knew the Yale brand was strong—there’s no question about that. But it’s hard to really understand just how strong it is until you join the community.
During my internship, I learned the importance of being a quick learner who can adapt to different situations. SOM’s integrated approach gave me a head start by introducing me to companies and industries that I might not have been so comfortable with at first. In the core curriculum, we’re exposed to diverse viewpoints and scenarios in business. We have to absorb it all quickly, get up to speed, and learn to ask the right questions. I’ve learned to be fearless when I step outside of my comfort zone. That’s incredibly important when I have a new client who wants to look at a new industry and they want me to research it and advise them.
I had had leadership experience before coming to SOM, but I never really understood what it meant to be a leader. In hindsight, I understand that I was just being a manager, not a leader. My understanding of leadership was very directive, very assertive, just focused on delegating tasks. Having been at SOM for two years now and having the leadership experience here, I realize that leadership is much more. It’s about listening. It’s about being more thoughtful and not necessarily jumping to action. It’s about understanding the perspectives of your team and your colleagues. I’ve learned that there are different forms of leadership—leading up, leading across, leading down. It’s incredibly complex, but it’s a capacity that everybody can develop, no matter how old you are or how accomplished you are.