“You want to drop some money?”
I had a pretty good idea what that text message was referring to when I received it the day of the annual Internship Fund Auction Night.
I was in the process of getting ready for “Lights, Camera, Auction!,” an evening of eating, drinking, taking fancy photos, and bidding on prizes and experiences at the Omni New Haven Hotel. Hair? Check. Makeup? Check. Bidding team? Assembled.
Auction Night is the Internship Fund’s biggest fundraiser of the year. While most MBA interns expect to receive generous stipends and salaries for our work over the summer, many of our classmates pursuing nonprofit, public sector, and social impact internships aren’t as fortunate. In alignment with the School of Management’s mission of educating leaders for business and society, the Internship Fund was created so that students pursuing these types of internships could do so without regard for financial constraints.
So that’s how I found myself on a bidding team with four of my classmates and a plan to spend some money. There were many interesting experiences that I was tempted to bid on at the Internship Fund Auction Night. For instance:
- Tickets to the Yale CEO Summit in New York City: I could imagine rubbing elbows with global icons at this exclusive, invite-only event. Maybe I would even network my way into a full-time offer. Past attendees had included executives of Microsoft, IBM, Goldman Sachs, Pfizer, Verizon, UPS, and Planned Parenthood, as well as senators, ambassadors, and many others.
- Four-course dinner and wine pairing: I could treat myself and three friends to a spectacular four-course dinner and wine pairing experience, meticulously crafted by Joseph Raff ’24, a former chef at Michelin-starred restaurants, and wine expert Philippe Newlin, Bordeaux buyer and director of fine wine at Wine.com!
- Hike of Many Moons: Was I bold enough to bid on this auction night tradition? Every year the Yale School of the Environment joint-degree students take regular MBAs deep into the woods to the Yale cabins at Great Mountain Forest for a whimsical (and spooky) Labor Day weekend of secret fun and merriment. What secrets would I uncover?
That wasn’t all! Even more auction items included a sailboat outing with a BlackRock executive, a polo retreat in Italy, a meme-making masterclass, dinner with Dean Kerwin K. Charles, and cocktails with macroeconomists (where the estimated value depended on inflation).
On top of the live auction items were silent auction items including a driverless car tour of San Francisco, a necktie from Professor Barry Nalebuff’s necktie collection, a homemade hotpot dinner, Dad jokes for a month (tempting), and a seat at Professor Daylian Cain’s Bourbon & Chocolate Smash.
It’s fair to say that there were many items we could have bid on that evening. But there was only one item that mattered: Game Night with Professor Lesley Meng. Our group had become obsessed with Professor Meng during our Operations Engine class. Maybe it’s because she brought in chocolate one time. Or because she included adorable pictures of her dog, Milo, on her slides. Whatever it was, we were determined to win that night of food, fun, and friendly competition.
Bidding commenced at $90. Paddles around the room flew up. $90. $100. $120. $150.
We found ourselves in a bidding war with another group. $200. $300.
We weren’t about to give up. $400. $450.
We raised our paddle. $500. Going once. Going twice… Sold!
I had a fantastic time at this year’s Internship Fund Auction Night. Great food, friends, and a lot of fun and excitement—I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. And now that I know how many amazing prizes there are, you can bet that I’ll be saving up for next year! See you there!