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How My SOM MBA Helped Me Land My Dream Job

Sam Jiang headshot

Sam Jiang ’21 documents his journey from SOM to his new position at Wizards of the Coast, working on Magic: The Gathering sets and products.

Hi, folks! I’m a proud member of SOM’s Class of 2021 and current product architect in Studio X (formerly known as Magic R&D) at Wizards of the Coast, which means I get to work on Magic: The Gathering sets and products that you’ll get to see two years down the road. I couldn’t be happier with where I am today, and I want to share what it was like for me going from Yale to Wizards. I hope that my experiences can serve to inspire future generations of SOMers to chase after their dreams and aim for those one-in-a-million opportunities that aren’t nearly as unrealistic as they might seem at first glance.

My SOM Experience

People really aren’t kidding when they say, “academics, socializing, recruiting, and sleep—pick two.” I had an idea of what I was getting into, but it really sank in during the first few weeks just how packed our schedules were. No matter what you’re trying to do, Yale will have an endless supply of resources for you to draw from. Some people can maintain a laser focus on one of the categories, but like most people, I found myself constantly juggling priorities and making tough trades. By the end, though, I had met friends I’ll stay in touch with for life, learned bucketloads from professors and alumni, and gotten way more career prep training than I expected to.

Some pro tips:

  • SOM’s Consulting Club is great, and everyone should at least join the first few events. Even if you aren’t interested in recruiting for consulting, the skills you’ll gain from the casing and career prep sessions will pay dividends long into the future.
  • Make sure to attend at least one Ask Me Anything (AMA) session. You may be tempted to skip them in favor of career seminars, but at the end of the day, it’s the AMAs you’ll remember and talk about for the rest of your life, not résumé line-spacing techniques.
  • Treat yourself to “do nothing” days every now and then, no matter how packed your schedule is. Block out the whole day and let loose, by yourself or with a group of friends. It’ll do wonders for replenishing your mental stamina and improve your subsequent performance all around.
Sam Jiang holding a Wizards employee handbook
Sam Jiang with Mitzy, the Wizards’ guardian dragon
Sam Jiang with recent Magic products on display at Wizards’ headquarters
Pictured, from left: Holding the Wizards’ employee handbook; with Mitzy, the Wizards’ guardian dragon; and in front of a display of recent Magic products at Wizards’ headquarters

Tips for Future SOM Students in their Career Search

Chase your dreams and go straight for what you want. Be bold and don’t be afraid of missing the mark. Announce your presence, and the world will make room.

At the same time, if the answer isn’t clear to you yet, it’s OK to not know exactly what you want, but make sure to be adventurous and put yourself out there. An MBA provides a golden opportunity to reorient yourself and shoot for greater heights. Ask around and learn as much as you can from everyone around you, students and professors alike.

I didn’t expect to get this position at Wizards when I started at SOM—in fact, I was originally headed in a completely different direction. After exploring my options and speaking to classmates from those industries, however, I realized that the job I truly wanted was one that brought me a personal sense of joy every day, more so than anything else. I was definitely one of those “100% or 0%” types, and the journey of exploring my options at Yale helped me realize that settling for a decision of indecision was never really an option for me, so I zeroed in on what I wanted, focused on depth rather than breadth in my search, and ultimately found exactly what I was looking for.

For MBAs looking to break into a new industry, you’re in the right place. The leadership skills, business acumen, and career training you’ll get from SOM should be more than enough to propel you toward any goal you want to aim for. Great things take time to achieve and great stories are written across months and years rather than weeks and days, so stay awesome, stay focused, and aim to leave behind a legacy that will make you proud.

Life at Wizards

My coworkers at Wizards are some of the most passionate, talented, and lovable people I’ve ever met, and it’s quite thrilling to wake up every day excited about my job. As a Magic player of eight years, TCG player of 19 years, and long-time fan of both the Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms series, I’m in paradise. It was mind blowing when I realized that I would be working directly alongside industry titans like Mark Rosewater, who I had been reading about for years. I can also see tremendous opportunities for growth across the company as Wizards shoots for the sky, so I’m a happy camper. I’ve been at the company for a year, and I can safely say that I feel just as excited to be here now as I did on day one—if not more!

That said, though Wizards as a company has been growing significantly over the past few years, from the inside it still feels much smaller than I expected at first. As a product architect, I spend most of my time working across multiple departments on product strategy and game design and I really get the feeling that each person is absolutely indispensable to their team. We are our biggest fans, and I’m constantly impressed by how mission-driven Wizards is. Two of our mottos have really stuck with me: “be legendary,” which refers to how we should constantly aim for greatness and set a positive example for those who follow in our footsteps, and “it takes a multiverse,” which speaks to the importance of diversity and inclusivity and aligns very well with SOM’s mission of “educating leaders for business and society.”