‘Career Conversations’ Podcast: Tony Lynn ’14, Global Program Lead at Meta
Tony Lynn ’14 is a Global Program Lead at Meta, leading strategy development, operations, and execution for Instagram's SMB Advertiser Growth Sales Programs. In the episode, Tony discusses what it is like to work at a highly cross-functional and flat organization like Meta, the importance of cultivating your network both during and after business school, and how to best position yourself to pivot into tech. He is interviewed by Omolegho Udugbezi ’23.
About Tony Lynn ’14
In his role as Global Program Lead at Meta, Tony Lynn ’14 heads a global cross-functional team of marketers, sales and program managers, data scientists, qual and quant researchers, designers, and engineers in order to support small businesses through Instagram. Tony was formerly a Business Strategy Manager at Accenture, where he led management consulting teams and advised corporate, government, and NGO clients on complex strategic problems related to growth. He also previously held management and advisory roles at the White House, the US Commerce Department, and the US Senate, as well as for leading Fortune 500 companies and start-ups.
Passionate about improving the human condition, Tony's professional focus is developing innovative strategies to solve the world's most pressing economic problems. He currently serves on the Yale School of Management's Global Alumni Advisory Board.
Omolegho Udugbezi (00:11):
Welcome to Career Conversations, a podcast from the Yale School of Management I'm Omolegho Udugbezi, a student in the MBA Class of 2023. Each episode of Career Conversations is a candid conversation between a student here at SOM that's me and a member of the Yale Community who is doing something that I'm curious about kind of an information interview, except you get to listen in.
Omolegho Udugbezi (00:35):
Today's Conversation is with Tony Lynn, a 2014 graduate of the Yale SOM, he leads a sales org and execution Meta's Small Business Program before joining Meta. He was strategy consultant at Accenture where he joined upon receiving his MBA from Yale SOM in 2014, he received his BA in Business , after which he worked in a variety of roles in the public sector, including working as a manager at the White House Administration during the President Obama's Administration. Tony's from Florida, but he calls the Bay Area home. Hi Tony, thank you so much for taking time to talk to me today. You have a very impressive resume in such an expansive career. So Tony please just walk me through your journey.
Tony Lynn (01:17):
Sure, absolutely. I think that my journey is probably pretty common at SOM, pretty unique when you start to get into industry. So first and foremost, I started working in the public sector, began as a low-level staffer on Capitol Hill where I really help run the operations for a Senate Office. Was able to move on to work on Policy issues that I care about, which I think is been the central throughline for my career. So I worked on economic policy.
Tony Lynn (01:47):
So I worked on in that Second Hill Office for about two years, a year and a half, and then moved on to the Obama Campaign in 2008 where I served them my hometown, Jacksonville, Florida, and I was an organizer, helped get people registered to vote, get people out to vote after that experience was invited to work at the White House.
Tony Lynn (02:06):
And I held a variety of positions at the White House, ultimately leading a small office that dealt with Presidential Acknowledgements and Greetings. I was then appointed to work for a commerce secretary. Secretary, Gary Locke, was also a Yale alum. And I worked on his policy and strategic planning stuff and served as more of like a chief of staff role as a special assistant to the director of policy. And I did that for a few years and I also got a chance to really work on a lot of economic issues that cared deeply about, got a lot of exposure to China policy, urban development policy, foreign direct investment policy. And it was really when I was at commerce. When I really realized that I could really provide some of my perspectives and do a lot of good from switching to the public sector to the private sector.
Tony Lynn (02:47):
So after that experience, I actually went to SOM I was one of those people who had the opportunity to take classes all across the University. So I made sure to take foreign policy classes, law classes, as well as competitive strategy in my second year and went into management consulting, did that for four years, had the opportunity to once again, work on economic policy issues. The World Bank was my client for a large portion of it really helped them on their small business journey and how to support small businesses, which was to segue into my current job where I worked for Meta formerly known as Facebook and I and a global program manager focused on really supporting and growing their small business portion of their business. Right.
Tony Lynn (03:31):
For the past three years, I've really focused on standing up our Instagram operations. So global sales operations, global marketing operations, and have had a lot of fun, really building out how medic and better support small businesses using IG and yeah, that's me on aside from that, I like to volunteer. So I'm on the Yale Alumni Advisory Board. I've served on various other Boards since graduating.
Omolegho Udugbezi (03:56):
That's amazing so I heard you say that in choosing to leave the White House, you thought you could do lots of good in switching from the public to the private sector.
Tony Lynn (04:05):
Omolegho Udugbezi (04:05):
And as [inaudible 00:04:06] and did you go to Business School. So could you please tell me in what ways the SOM helped you to do so, to make this switch, first of all, and also to give back in the way that you wanted to in your new phase of your career?
Tony Lynn (04:18):
Yeah, absolutely. I think that, as I mentioned, when I began that there's... my experience is a relatively common experience at SOM where we have a lot of people who are looking to really impact really big problems through a cross sectoral approach and it really just draws a lot of like-minded, at least when I was in school, a lot of like-minded students, right?
Tony Lynn (04:40):
And so I was very intentional about my selection of SOM because I knew that I wanted to make this transition, but I also knew that I wanted to be in a learning context where people really understood who I am, what my experiences meant and where there would be a lot of cross pollination where I could help, some of those with traditional background so [inaudible 00:05:00] really expand their perspective and those from traditional business backgrounds could really help me as I look to pivot into a more private sector focus for the next stages of my career.
Tony Lynn (05:10):
So I would say just the overall learning environment, including students was probably step one, step two was that, what I knew when I went there and I was able to really, see throughout my time is that the market really understood the value of proposition of a lot of students like myself by no means is SOM solely focused on recruiting and matriculating students with the public sector experience.
Tony Lynn (05:36):
But I knew that there was a decent portion and I knew that the market understood that too. So was really able to really talk to recruiters who really had a better understanding of what it is that I do and did and what I could provide. Then they probably would've found or really been looking for in other schools. So the recruiting infrastructure was there for me as well.
Tony Lynn (05:58):
And then the third thing, and the last thing was just the curriculum I thought was very well designed for a person such myself. I'm starting with the core and looking at the smaller problems of accounting and microeconomics and whatnot, but then expanding out to the place where we're looking at broader strategy and macroeconomics and whatnot. So I thought the orientation of the curriculum was one where a person such as myself can really get that crash course in those areas.
Tony Lynn (06:22):
I needed to get up to speed in. So yeah, that's essentially what really aid the transition, but I would also just really say that my classmates, I really just didn't have the expectation that my classmates would really care so much for my career and so in the case of the two jobs that I've had since SOM Accenture and Meta, in both cases, I was referred in by my classmates at SOM. So just all of that mixed in to really help support my career growth and where I hope to go over the coming years.
Omolegho Udugbezi (06:54):
Yeah. That's amazing. Thank you for sharing and I think just hearing you speak`a bout your time at SOM really closely knows what I'm going through right now, in terms of having, a wealth of experiences across the class, having people with like nonprofit backgrounds, technical backgrounds, all coming together to help each other out. So it's great to hear that it's been a long lasting tradition, just to do a bit more of a deep dive your time at SOM. So you've mentioned, recruiting, you've mentioned where the core curriculum helped you and the student body in general. Were there any initiatives or student clubs or societies you were involved with SOM that you can speak to?
Tony Lynn (07:28):
I think the question is that, "Was there an initiative or Club Society I was not involved with?" Yes, sure, absolutely. Starting with Student Government. So I was one of the two Senate reps to the Graduate Professional Student Senate, GPSS for the two years that I was there.
Tony Lynn (07:49):
So I had the opportunity really to work across school and cross pollinate with all the brilliant professional and graduate schools and a lot of their student reps as well. And I'll also say that I actually got involved with a startup my second year as a result of that experience and so I had the opportunity to really go nose deep into like a tech startup. So, yes, that was probably the first one. So getting involved with Student Government, the other clubs and initiatives that I was involved with was I was a Consortium Coordinator.
Tony Lynn (08:17):
And what that essentially meant was that I was the person who was responsible student rep, who was responsible for helping to coordinate consortium efforts on campus and onboard first year students, when I was a second year student onto the consortium program. The consortium's, a fantastic program from those who don't know, it and really focuses on really diversifying the private sector via diversifying business schools has been adamant about this mission for several decades, has several top schools, including SOM as member schools themselves was involved with the consortium, through the recruiting process to come to SOM and help lead some of their efforts, my second year, the Black Business Alliance, I was able to head up that organization, my second year as well and then I was also one of the co-leads for the Business and Politics Club, where we were able to carry on various forums to really talk about a lot of these different topics. So that was active in the Finance Club, Consulting Club and several other clubs. So I tried to really drink as much as the SOM water as possible while I was there. So-
Omolegho Udugbezi (09:23):
All the clubs I'd love to hear that and I'm trying to do the same now as I'm also [inaudible 00:09:28] like I mentioned [inaudible 00:09:28] what I love about is having that kind of cross-school [inaudible 00:09:31] exposure getting to speak to people in [inaudible 00:09:34] backgrounds. Different ways of seeing the world just learning from them, which I think is one of the most amazing things about being here, which is having that exposure. So you mentioned you found a startup during your time at SOM can you just tell me a bit more about that, please and as much [inaudible 00:09:48] detail you wish?
Tony Lynn (09:49):
Yeah, absolutely. So the startup was really focused on bringing a bacteria detection device to market, which moves much faster than conventional bacteria to test detection. So it was started up by one of our brilliant engineering classmates, and we both served on the Student Senate, my first year internship. I focused on medical device company in a product management role. So I got a chance to really understand that space a little bit.
Tony Lynn (10:21):
And so just through an informal conversation, I got a chance to learn about what she was trying to do, I was able to really raise my hand and say, "Hey, I would love to be a part of that." So where it really started was that there was an entrepreneurship course, which was a fairly intensive entrepreneurship course at SOM and we started by creating a team for that course, and it was essentially five people.
Tony Lynn (10:42):
And I think we were all from different schools as well, electric engineers, somebody from Forestry School, myself and various other engineering students and so what we were able to do was really started to figure out, where this product really fit in the ecosystem. So spent... most of the second year working with that team to raise money pitch in different... one source that we sought for money was these different case competitions.
Tony Lynn (11:09):
So was able to really compete in many of these case competitions and really was able to leave off at the end of the year with a more refined focus of go to market and really helped the founder really honed her perspective on how to really grow the product and she's really just been at it for the last six or seven years and has made a lot of headway with it. So it was a great experience. There were times during that period where I thought about doing that full time, just having that experience while at SOM largely just due to this remit to be very cross sectoral and focus across school was a rather unique experience that I'm glad that I had the opportunity to participate in.
Omolegho Udugbezi (11:50):
It does sound you've great experience and you mentioned that you were thinking about pursuing this full time.
Tony Lynn (11:55):
Omolegho Udugbezi (11:55):
I know that Post-school, you [inaudible 00:11:57] into consulting. So curious as to why you made that switch and what the thought process was behind that decision.
Tony Lynn (12:03):
Right. Why I went to consulting? I think that consulting has a lot of benefits for people leaving Business School, right? It allows you to really continue on of this more generalist journey that you're in. When you're in B School. I also found myself that I was very attracted to the competitive strategy classes and so... I had a general sense that if I take consulting, it would be an opportunity for me to take a lot of the things that I learned in school and put it in practice.
Tony Lynn (12:32):
And so that's why I decided to do it. I also think the people who decide to go into startups. I just have the utmost respect because there's oftentimes a lot of uncertainty. And especially when you're coming out of business school, in many cases, many of us have a pretty hefty balanced [inaudible 00:12:54] really pay off.
Tony Lynn (12:55):
So I think all those factors really weighed in. Yeah. I certainly have times where I think, wow, it'd been great to go on that startup journey then really get a chance to really learn what that journey's like. You know, it's probably something that I'll probably do in the future is going to startup.
Tony Lynn (13:10):
So, but yeah, the consulting experience was one where I was able to really, really focus on a couple areas where I was able to really build a super power so around one, assessing markets and looking at market opportunities and being able to articulate that with very little information, a skill, I was able to first really hone at SOM looking at the raw case method.
Tony Lynn (13:31):
So a lot of my consulting projects really were raw cases where we had a pretty vague problem statement and me and some analysts sitting at a computer and just really punching through and just kicking through different ideas of how to understand where there's opportunity and where there is no opportunity and where competitors are focused and things like that. So, yeah, it was just a really good opportunity to hone some of those that we got a chance to get some exposure to at SOM.
Omolegho Udugbezi (13:57):
Yeah. That makes sense. And I've had people given that advice and you included, which is that, "Consulting is one of those industries where you get to really refine your skillset and structure ways that you wouldn't necessarily have in all industries." So it's [inaudible 00:14:13] speak about it in that way. So looking post- consulting to what you do now at Meta, can you please tell us, at high level, what it's that you do day to day and how you came to have this morning you mentioned referred by a former classmate, but it would be great to hear more about how you decided this was the right company and role for you.
Tony Lynn (14:32):
Yeah, absolutely. So day to day manage ambiguities is what I day to day... I think that's in a lot of the job descriptions for tech companies and then there is a real aspiration, but yeah, more specifically, what I do day to day? I like to think that I help customers. So in many of the tech companies, you really have some core divisions with a lot of connective tissues.
Tony Lynn (14:56):
So whenever you're talking about the revenue generating arms of a company like Meta you'll typically have a product org, which is focused on the end product experience, and then you'll have more of a sales work. That's really focused on driving incremental revenue where possible and so I work on the sales org portion for Meta focused on small businesses. And I partner really closely with our product org to really build an experience that's added to a customer and really helps them better use our products.
Tony Lynn (15:24):
And so what I do specifically is I lead cross-functional efforts to bring specific experiences initiative to life where I've been tasked really over the past couple years is really helping customers using Instagram and these would be customers who are seeking to advertise or who have already advertised through the Instagram platform. And what I do is I set vision strategy and help lead a cross-functional team of marketing sales, engineers, data scientists [inaudible 00:15:56] researchers to understand problems and then understand opportunities for us to really solve those problems. And in doing so, helping that customer become more comfortable using the product and then hopefully retain on the product, expand their spin on the product and expand their efficacy using the product.
Tony Lynn (16:13):
So we're solving this problem with that really model in mind and then just kind of scale that globally, because where I focus is this customer around the world, which you can imagine different markets have very different works. You know, customers may want to use certain features such as messaging in certain parts of the world like [inaudible 00:16:31]. Whereas in other parts of the world, they may have more discretionary or marketing revenue. So they may want to just spend more. So it's about how do we really meet the customer where it is, and really build these global strategies to really help them become more effective and a company like Meta is highly cross-functional very flat.
Tony Lynn (16:51):
So it really requires people who are able to really work with other people, maximize the skills of other people and their partners build their experiences for other teams in mind, but also have a ruthless level of prioritization as we really work through to really build roadmaps that will help the customer and that are implementable by our teams.
Tony Lynn (17:13):
So it's really my job to really maintain a handle on that for the different problem areas that I focus on and so your other question was just about getting this experience at Meta and how I was able to make that leap and leverage the network, right?
Omolegho Udugbezi (17:29):
Tony Lynn (17:29):
Yeah, absolutely. So, as I mentioned, I worked in consulting. One of the clients that I had the pleasure of working with was the World Bank, which was actually an organization I always wanted to work with prior to SOM. So I worked with their private sector IFC and really helped them on, with their small business support model and it was in doing that when I really realized that really helping small businesses was this major through line with a lot of my life experiences, such as growing up in a household of small business owners to studying ways, to help small businesses through microfinance while in undergrad getting a chance to go to Ghana, to really work on that problem to Capitol Hill, where I had a chance to work on the policy side on some of these issues to the Obama Administration, where I was able to do the same.
Tony Lynn (18:16):
So when the opportunity came to jump to Meta, and I saw that there was this opportunity in the Small Business Group. So this was 2018, I started looking through LinkedIn to just see who I knew that was at Meta, and I saw a classmate and yeah, we got a chance to... I reached out and you know he wasn't a classmate that I spent a lot of time with at SOM. I think that we probably were opposite ends of the social spectrum. I was pretty extroverted, my perception was that he's probably was a lot more introverted, but we were able to really form a connection in our limited interactions on campus.
Tony Lynn (18:53):
So when I reached out, he just seemed really, really happy to, one hear from me and then really gung ho with helping me get into Meta. So he did the referrals when I was going through the interview process, we got a chance to talk quite a bit and even when I was going through the compensation negotiation process, he was really there for me to really frame my thinking on the process. So very thankful for Christian and his desire to really help me transition in.
Omolegho Udugbezi (19:22):
That's amazing. I'm glad to hear the network stayed strong across the years, post-graduation that's something to look forward to. So you mentioned already pros of working at company such as Meta and I actually have a lot of classmates right now who are applying for roles in any tech companies such as Meta. So do you have any advice [inaudible 00:19:39] they maybe listening about working at Meta, Instagram specifically coming from either a management consulting or just a non-technical background?
Tony Lynn (19:48):
I have a lot of thoughts on this. So what I would say is this, there's a lot of universal truths when it comes to getting the job that you want. Right. I think that networking is incredibly vital. So you need to really reach out, find those alums, find those classmates that have some strong connection, try to really understand if it's the right company, an opportunity for you and where you're trying to go.
Tony Lynn (20:15):
Having now spent three years at Meta, four years in consulting, so about almost seven years out of SOM. My perspective is that your first choice should be, for the career that you're looking for should be what you really want to do. It's not about, I think a lot of people probably think, "Hey, I can go into consulting or investment banking and then get to..." Whatever that thing is.
Tony Lynn (20:41):
You can, and that's maybe for me that was the right way in given my background. But I honestly think that I probably should have spent some time thinking about what it is that I wanted to do after those first four or five years or after that first initial experience and if I had put some hard reflection in and really talked to a lot of alums who were at these big tech companies like Google, Amazon, Meta I might have made the decision like, "Hey, maybe this is something I want to do coming out of SOM." So first and foremost, get crystal clear clarity about what it is that you would love to do. You know, I wouldn't necessarily say your dream job, but a place where you would really want to build your career. And I would say, get really focused about reaching out to people who are there and so that you can get a sense of that but I think that's step one.
Tony Lynn (21:31):
Step two, how to make yourself competitive? I think that you have really three ways that you can do it, right. And so, one way is you while SOM you really structure your learning around that area. So one thing that I did, was I did digital... I think it was called Digital Marketing or Digital Advertising Course that we had at the time I got a distinction in the class, which was unforeseen. But yeah, I did that class and that was my first real exposure to this space that I currently work in. So, though, I didn't really know that it was going to be this, I had sensed that it'd be something that'd be interesting to take.
Tony Lynn (22:13):
So I would say step one, really, really try to structure education around that and along with that, these companies are moving faster and further into really important areas like big data. It's probably a disadvantage that I certainly had when I was coming out. And it's not an area where I've really focused at subsequently, but learning how to really work with big data sets. Through programs like SQL and whatnot or programs like R. I think that having those tools are the types of tools that are extremely marketable and would allow you to have really a leg up as you're recruiting for different positions, especially the positions for business people in these companies. So, I would say really, really utilize and leverage your time at SOM to take the courses that are going to matter.
Tony Lynn (23:01):
So, certainly those are probably the biggest areas that where I can indicate the other areas that I would say is the networking tracks definitely do the tracks, definitely go to all the recruiting functions, try to stand out and not to stand out in a way where you're being obnoxious, but really try to freak out meaningful conversations with people. If you get people's information, follow up, don't be offended if they don't get back to you. But I think all that stuff matters right.
Tony Lynn (23:30):
So, utilize all those different opportunities to your disposal and then the third thing is that if it all doesn't work out very similar to some of the experiences that I'm talking about with me, it's just the beginning, right? Your first job out of B School is going to be something, it doesn't necessarily be the job that you work 30 years in. Right, and so just try to get some clarity around what it is that you want to do, how you can pivot, try to really maximize the job that you're, whatever, wherever you go into, if it's a marketing job, if it's a consulting job, an accounting job, and then just know that you're going to have an opportunity you to make it into these type of companies. So, continue to expand your network, continue to talk to people, continue to look for opportunities and continue to apply. So those would be my standard approaches.
Omolegho Udugbezi (24:23):
That's amazing advice. Thank you so much for sharing.
Tony Lynn (24:26):
Omolegho Udugbezi (24:26):
And just really quickly to follow up on the point you made around, knowing your area of interest. So beyond the electives and beyond getting involved with, let's say case competitions, which teach segment skills, are there any resources that you could recommend that students look into specifically in wanting to get into the tech industry?
Tony Lynn (24:44):
I think that for the electives, what I would certainly do is talk to the second years of your first year, or talk to the alums to get a sense of what it is that they were able to take. So I think that's probably the step one.
Tony Lynn (24:59):
Step two, like I said, big data, you can't go wrong, honestly. So even if you don't really intend to focus on data science or business planning and operations and things like that, which would require some of those skills, we're just kind of moving to this world where it's becoming more of an expectation that people can really work with data, pull out insights from data.
Tony Lynn (25:24):
So I would definitely recommend doubling down on some of those areas. That's probably, if I had a chance to go back and do additional courses, those would probably the ones where I would focus, try to whenever you can just maximize any of these type of experiential opportunities or if there's a chance to... get a chance to work with Google for a marketing project, which I think came up my second year, try to do those type of things because just getting in the space of learning the verbiage and learning how people are looking at the problems so I think is really important.
Tony Lynn (25:52):
And the last thing is when I was actually looking to transition, what I started to do was just consume a massive amount of information. So, well shout out, that I really looked at TechCrunch and I was really onto the podcast and listening weekly to all the different highlights, The verge, The Vergecast I was listening to that each week and there was quite a few others, Reid Hoffman has a podcast I listen to Recode Decode. And so it was really just trying to understand the space at this point, I listen to a lot of audio books as well. So will suggest just really trying to... really search to see whether it's a lot of thought leadership and just dive deep in.
Omolegho Udugbezi (26:31):
I love TechCrunch. Thank you for sharing. Those are great resources, okay. So changing tracks slightly. I did some reading and I see that you are a member of the On Deck Angels Fellowship.
Tony Lynn (26:42):
Oh sure. Yeah.
Omolegho Udugbezi (26:42):
We're curious to hear about that how you got involved, what you do, what's next for you in that space?
Tony Lynn (26:48):
Yeah, absolutely. So I actually got involved with On Deck through a classmate. So one of my classmates Will [Willie 00:26:58] was exploring it. I was actually living in Hawaii during a lot of 2020/2021. So that's where I went to during the pandemic and Will got a chance to come out and along with exploring and lot of our interests Cryptocurrency being the area where I was really focused Will, wanted to just talk about, investing in startups. So we talked about it and he introduced me to some people at On Deck and got a chance to talk to them and made a lot of sense for me to join the cohort. So I applied and was able to get in, but it was a really good experience. I really looked at it was more of like a Business School life for tech investors. So got a chance to network with a lot of great people, really understand how to become an angel. What's the right way to look at investments and start to move forward from there.
Omolegho Udugbezi (27:52):
That sounds really cool, especially about being in Hawaii, but that's just [crosstalk 00:27:58]-
Tony Lynn (27:57):
Hawaii's always to answer people, whoever listening, whatever the problem is, Hawaii's answer. So if you ever ask me, you're going to say, "Hey well, let's go to Hawaii and think about it for a few weeks and I think you'll have some more clarity. So-
Omolegho Udugbezi (28:08):
... I will take that under advisement. So following on that track, so what would you tell someone either a student alum looking to get into the angel investing space in terms of what they can do now start preparing.
Tony Lynn (28:20):
... yeah, absolutely. I think that there's, specific requirements to become angel investor. So yeah, there's certain income requirements and whatnot [inaudible 00:28:30] they'll allow you to be certified as an investor. So that's step one is pay attention to whatever those regulatory compliance requirements are. But two, the space is so interesting right now. Right? So try to understand what are the types of technologies and the type of people that you believe in, start to follow them and then once you start to pass those certified requirements, the rest thresholds, just jump right in, reach out, you don't have to be a part of a fellowship. You don't have to be a part of a formal DC or Syndicate Fund or anything like that. What these startups are really looking for. People that believe in them, people that are willing to support them and people that can really add something.
Tony Lynn (29:08):
So just our classmates and alums and current students, just by the sure fact that you're at SOM you're learning so much. If you have a specific expertise, all that stuff is valuable to startups. So I would also say, try to find startups in areas that you understand. So, as for me, I know a lot about social networking at this point, not an area that I can invest in while I'm at Meta, but you know, if I transition out, maybe that's an area where would invest in small businesses the same.
Tony Lynn (29:39):
So, certainly have a lot of those competencies where I get reached out by startups oftentimes are trying to navigate the regulatory space. So obviously my background in government prior to SOM is very attracted to them. So, and really where I have a lot of my thought is in the DeFi Space right now. So hopefully that's an area well... again a significant amount of expertise where I can start making investment. So...
Omolegho Udugbezi (30:05):
That's super cool. Thank you for sharing.
Tony Lynn (30:08):
Omolegho Udugbezi (30:10):
Okay. So throughout our conversation, there's been kind of a running theme about SOM Network through the startup you founded. Colleagues, ex-classmates help connecting you with different opportunities [inaudible 00:30:21] also member of the Alumni Advisory Board and you give back to SOM in that way. So I'm really keen to hear about role on the Board. If you can share then any responsibilities that you have on the board and how those play out.
Tony Lynn (30:33):
Yeah. I was fortunate enough to be nominated to the Board in 2019 and then confirmed by alums then and so I've served on the board for three years and I was just told this week that I was re-appointed to the Board for another three years. So yeah, it's been just a great fortune for me to really get that opportunity to really start to lean back into SOM.
Tony Lynn (30:56):
So I had been out of SOM for about five years and then, this opportunity got me back. And so what do I do? I first, I lead the Admissions Committee. So where we focus on is really supporting the admission's office and initiatives where that require alumni help. So we do things like expand the outreach on the referral program, which is a way for alums to directly refer individuals within their network to speak with an SOM Admissions Rep and also really just put them on the radar for the admission's cycle.
Tony Lynn (31:34):
So we've had a lot of success of really expanding awareness and follow through with this particular program. We also support yield events, which is a lot of it has turned really to a virtual setting over the past two years. And so that's probably where we met. I think I probably talked on a yield event or something like that. Right? So... right. So what we do is we try to activate alums some often, we often serve on these different panels and really try to talk about our time and experiences. I'm a very ruthlessly, honest person. So, I would only talk about things that I truly believe in. So yeah, absolutely. So those are two big areas another area where I focus on is diversity and equity, inclusion and so SOM has really been dedicated to this space for several years.
Tony Lynn (32:21):
As I mentioned, I was part of the consortium back when I was admitted in 2012 and what I've done is also speak on those associated panels and carry through on one to one engagements and things like that to really talk about DEI and how it supports the Students Body and things like that. So we try to really focus on strategic areas that are important to the office, but we also try to also build our own strategic areas.
Tony Lynn (32:47):
So we're in the process of doing that such as conducting competitive reviews, which is something I mentioned I specialized in. In consulting and things such as that to really help the Admissions Office to be more effective. But, yeah, I also serve on the Executive Committee as a by-product of being the chair of the Admissions Committee. So me and the other Committee leads as well as the Board President. This is the meeting that I'm currently missing right now.
Omolegho Udugbezi (33:15):
Oh, Well, thank you being here with us.
Tony Lynn (33:15):
Which is okay. I told... I got my report in and it's all good.
Omolegho Udugbezi (33:20):
I don't know how you make time for it all, but I'm glad to be here with you.
Tony Lynn (33:22):
I don't know-
Omolegho Udugbezi (33:23):
And congratulations on the expansion as well, your time on the Board. Okay. That was mostly it for my questions. You have a few closing/fun questions for you.
Tony Lynn (33:31):
Omolegho Udugbezi (33:32):
The first of which is if you hadn't come to SOM, what do you think you'd be doing now?
Tony Lynn (33:37):
Yeah, that's a really good question and this is presuming that I would not have went to another Business School, right?
Omolegho Udugbezi (33:43):
Tony Lynn (33:44):
It's interesting. I left the Obama Administration at the end of the first term. I probably would've stayed in Washington and gone on to serve in the second term and I probably would've tried to really make my way over on issues that I really care about. So yeah, I probably would've focused on banking and more on urban development and I can imagine I probably still would've ended up in the private sector probably focusing on those issues, but my lens would've probably been much smaller than we're it ended up now and so I don't know if I would've ended up in tech. I probably would've been one of those people that would've been interested in it, but not really would've known my pathway in. Right and so my pathway it would've been probably through the policy space, but yeah, I can imagine that probably would've made my way over to industry and focusing on ways to help marginalized communities.
Omolegho Udugbezi (34:34):
Tony Lynn (34:34):
Omolegho Udugbezi (34:36):
Okay. As we are speaking at the end of the year could you share any professional and personal goals that you have in the upcoming Year?
Tony Lynn (34:43):
Oh, wow. That's a big one. Yeah. So really excited about Meta and I'm not just saying that. I think that I've mentioned this multiple times that... been into the crypto space for sometime. It's an area that we're really moving into us all an area of Web 3.0 and so I'm very excited about the direction of the company. And it's probably an area that I'll try to really spread my wings and get into. So really diversify into some of these core areas that are going to really define our next digital age. I would also just tell everybody at SOM alums, current students to really, really take into this space, it's a bit of a weird, interesting space. I think a lot of people wonder why a company such as Facebook with such a massive brand a lot of revenue and its core business would make a pivot into something like Meta into something like the Metaverse.
Tony Lynn (35:39):
But once you really look under the hood, you just see so much opportunity and I think that I probably agree with a lot of the experts is where the world is going. The way that we navigate and utilize the internet is likely going to evolve significantly over the next decade. And so I like to be at the front of these things, leave the [inaudible 00:35:59] is stressful to be at the front. And I will say having started up... starting up the IG sales arm for the Small Business Group, working on Obama's first Presidential Campaign. All of that is like being in the Vanguard and so the there's a lot of stress with that, but it's really interesting to be ahead of the curve there. So you're able to really pivot and really dictate the direction of some of these larger movements. Right?
Omolegho Udugbezi (36:27):
Tony Lynn (36:27):
And so that's probably where I see myself going over the course of next year is really trying to get ahead of where the world is going.
Omolegho Udugbezi (36:34):
That's super cool. Thanks for sharing.
Tony Lynn (36:36):
Omolegho Udugbezi (36:36):
And lastly, is there anything that we didn't ask you about that you'd like to speak to us about or just to plug in general?
Tony Lynn (36:44):
Yeah, absolutely. I know that, the world is undergone so much change, right? We've gone from a place where it was all about how do we be in front of each other? How do we connect in person? How do we navigate these experiences through conversation to a world where we're doing much of this virtually? And I think a lot of people have a lot of hesitance and resistance to really moving back to this old world. I just wonder how have you felt your SOM experience has allowed you to really compete in that world? Because I felt like that's some experience have really allowed me to better compete in the way the world was and along with that just wondering, what are you looking forward to in the world, is the digital revolution, really something that you all are really focusing on and things like that. So I just would love to know how you feel you're evolving with the way the world is evolving.
Omolegho Udugbezi (37:39):
Well, that's a good question. So I've been here for a semester so far. Today's actually the last day of classes, so exactly a semester and I think something that I've noticed from speaking to former students speaking to second years, and my experience is that a lot of our curriculum has been tweaked to reflect what's happened in the past couple of years through variety of lenses, whether it's D [inaudible 00:38:01] or the future of work in terms of, for example, case studies being more relevant to the way the world looks today.
Omolegho Udugbezi (38:06):
And I think in terms of next steps, we do have we hopefully we'll have international experiences. We're starting next year, but it's very much in the [inaudible 00:38:14] Okay. Yes, we may be traveling to this country or traveling on this track, but when you do you get back into working full time, how are you going to create connectivity with your global teams without business travel?
Omolegho Udugbezi (38:26):
So I think school's doing an amazing job of that and I feel very like very privileged to be here at this time, this cost [inaudible 00:38:33] we're coming, hopefully coming out the worst of the pandemic, moving into this future of work and getting to be at Business School in that time is a great experience.
Tony Lynn (38:41):
Sound pretty cool. Well, I would probably speak for a lot of the alums, feel free to reach out to us and figure out how we can help. I think that we're all trying to figure out how to navigate this future of work thing. It's almost like on a month by month basis where we're learning where we're going. So feel free to reach out and we'll do what we can to empower you all to get to where we are. And beyond
Omolegho Udugbezi (39:05):
You've been listening to Career Conversations, a podcast from the Yale School of Management. If you like, what you heard today, please subscribe. You can find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you take your podcasts. If you're a ready subscriber, please go to Apple Podcast and rate us or leave us a review. That's a great way to let other people know about the show. Career Conversations is produced by Yale SOM. Our producer to this episode are Amy [inaudible 00:39:30] and Lisa [inaudible 00:39:31] our editor is Laurie Toth for Careers Conversations I'm [inaudible 00:39:36] thanks for listening and we hope we'll tune in again soon.
About Career Conversations
In this podcast series, SOM students sit down with alumni for a series of candid conversations about career paths, industries, opportunities for MBAs, and discussions on various career topics including work-life balance and creating a meaningful impact in business and society. This series is produced by Yale School of Management.