When I remember my time as a member of the MAM class of 2013, the first of such cohorts at Yale SOM, I cannot help but realize how very fortunate I was. This is why almost 10 years later I continue giving back to the school (and its students) whenever I can.
I have been a keynote speaker, a panelist, and an alumni volunteer with the Yale SOM Alumni Advisory Board. But, just as my career coach from the Career Development Office and the many second-year MBAs and alumni did when I was a student, I have enjoyed mentoring current international students in need of more connections, advice, and support during this unprecedented pandemic.
Earlier this year, David Han MAM '22 reached out to me after my participation in his orientation at Yale SOM in January 2021. Because of Covid-19 restrictions, his fall and spring experiences looked different from previous years with classmates not being able to travel and come to Yale to start their studies and modes of study and interaction that switched from in-person to hybrid. He had lots of questions about careers and jobs, internships and international experiences, and many other topics which felt uncertain for him and his classmates because of the current global health crisis.
So, we agreed to meet and continued doing so once every month to try to make sense of his unique opportunities and challenges. Soon his classmates joined us, and I also invited other alumni to help me answer their many questions in fields such as finance, consulting, healthcare, and IT.
Below are testimonials from these students which give me lots of reasons to continue strengthening my 'bonds' with SOM:
David Han '22
The things we learned as a group during these meetings about personal and professional life choices were truly impactful. The industry insights and practical tips on how to draft our career roadmaps, how to interview more effectively, and how to build our alumni networks led many of us to secure amazing internships during this pandemic. For me, it resulted in a summer internship with T-Mobile. I am grateful to Sojung and other SOM alumni who joined our meetings for demonstrating how united and supportive our community can be.
Win Tochirakul ‘22
I am from Thailand, but I had also lived in Singapore for 4 years, London for 7 years, and Tokyo for 1 year. Still, I was impressed by Sojung 's multinational experiences. She helped me with unique orientations and advice for recruiting, but also for managing cultural differences and sustaining critical relationships. I'm super grateful that she could share with us every month in spite of our time zone differences!
Adrian Lee ‘22
I was a corporate strategist with Hyundai Robotics in China before enrolling at SOM. But, once I became a student, recruitment in tech became an area of personal suffering for me. Then I joined our calls with Sojung and things changed. Watching her via Zoom when she answered our questions with calm and control truly inspired me. Now I recognize how important it is to think outside of 'my technical box' when recruiting, so I now successfully include in these conversations other ‘soft’ perspectives such as team dynamics and chemistry. Sojung also shared with us about her initial failures during recruitment. But she eventually landed an incredible job with IBM in their leadership development program! Learning to navigate the ups and downs, while maintaining your positive energy, is really important and I appreciate that she shared with us her personal story of doing precisely that.
Ron Vermont '22
Sojung sent an email to a top executive that started the process for me to secure an incredible internship with Philippine Airlines Inc. Had it not been for her, I would not have met the incredible people I worked with over the summer. I am glad that I joined our monthly mentoring calls because I was trying to discern whether it would make sense to go back to the Philippines knowing the risks of the pandemic and border lockdowns. This did make sense for me after all, and the experience was one of the key milestones in my student journey at Yale SOM.
Arthur Jiang ‘22
Before coming to SOM, Sojung was the first alumni connection I made. I first met her in Singapore and, once I became a student, I joined her monthly mentoring calls with my classmates. I really appreciated her insights on how to leverage our school experiences and our Yale degrees post-graduation, and how to build connections with people from different countries. It takes time and energy to build a community. Alumni like Sojung make the effort and make our community better every day. I am really proud to be part of it.
Mentoring current Yale SOM students has provided benefits to me as much as it has benefitted them. When I get to know these students and their goals during each one of our sessions, I also feel invited to reflect on my own distinct path through Yale SOM, where I found: growth; shared experiences; and a place to push myself.
I am genuinely happy to know that I can contribute a little bit to the progress our current SOM students achieve in their lives.
When will you mentor a Yale SOM student? If you are interested in mentoring current Yale SOM students, have any questions or would like additional information on how to support our school, please contact the Alumni Advisory Board at firstname.lastname@example.org.