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A Day in the Life: Lauren D’Souza ’25

We spent a day with first-year MBA student Lauren D’Souza as she went to class, organized a book exchange, and ventured out to the Yale Farm. Photos by Tony Rinaldo.

Three people paying for coffee at a cafe

8:00 a.m.

These are my friends Grace McEnery and Lacey Neel. We all did Math Camp, which is a three-day math refresher for anyone who needs that before starting the MBA. But I actually first met Grace on my interview day at SOM. Jared Liu from the admissions office was sharing anonymous fun facts about all the potential students. My fun fact is that I was on Jeopardy! in 2020; when he read that fact, Grace whispered, “Oh my gosh, I wonder who that is.” I was like, “That was me!”

Lacey is in my cohort, the Green Cohort, and we sit together in every class. She’s going to be in Austin this summer, and I’ll be in San Antonio, so I’m excited to spend a ton of time with her and her fiancé and their dog and cat.

I sometimes meet up with friends for coffee before class, and G Café is just a little walk down the street from Evans Hall. I’m a big believer that if you’re buying coffee at a coffee shop, you have to get something fun, so I ordered a mocha. G Café has amazing pastries, and we got a couple to share.

Several students with name tags sitting in a classroom
A professor wearing a baseball cap gesturing in front of a chalk board

8:30 a.m.

The Innovator is one of our core classes in spring two. We look at a lot of different topics—operations, accounting, investment, sourcing—from the perspective of an innovator working at a company or launching a startup. It’s a super unique course because it’s taught by Tristan Botelho, who is an amazing entrepreneurship professor, but he brings in a bunch of other professors who have expertise in different areas; it’s always interesting to hear from a lot of diverse Yale faculty. That day we had a guest lecture from Kyle Jensen, who is the head of Yale SOM’s entrepreneurship program and an expert on AI and machine learning.

The coolest thing about this class is that you make your own startup idea and then work on a pitch for that startup the whole quarter. My idea is a social entrepreneurship venture called HeatRx. It would treat heat stroke and heat illness in outdoor workers, who are vulnerable due to increasing heat waves, climate change, and lack of access to technology.

Several students listening to a professor in an auditorium
Two students chatting in an auditorium
A wide view of a professor lecturing a class in an auditorium

10:10 a.m.

I have another core class right after The Innovator, which is called The Executive. I got there early and chatted with my friend Charles Papagiannopoulos. He knows I’m a big Jeopardy! fan and wanted to recommend a new game show called The Floor.

This class is heavily focused on cases, and SOM uses a raw case method where you get a ton of information about a company and have to assess different questions while taking all this data into consideration. We had just read a case on the Chicago Fire, the soccer team, and our professor surprised us with a guest lecture by Andrew Hauptman, the team’s former owner, who was the main protagonist in the case. We got to ask him questions about he reacted to different developments and made the decisions he made.

A student asking a question
A speaker gesturing in front of a chalkboard

11:45 a.m.

Every Wednesday there’s a speaker series called Social Impact Lab. Lunch is provided, and there are no devices allowed, so we get to have a truly open and honest conversation with the speaker. Today it was Vincent Stanley, one of the founders of Patagonia. His talk was called “Making a Living in the Anthropocene”—basically thinking about our careers in terms of the climate crisis, the importance of just energy transitions, and the need to rethink how consumer goods are made and sold.

I feel that one of the biggest problems in the Anthropocene is consumerism; people don’t necessarily need to buy the apparel and products that Patagonia produces. I asked how the company builds a business model that doesn’t rely on constant consumption. Vincent mentioned Patagonia’s re-wear program, as well as an ad campaign that actually discouraged people from buying new clothes, and talked about how it’s possible to build that ethos at other companies as well.

Two students sitting at an outdoor table and talking

12:50 p.m.

After lunch, I caught up with my friend Shiv Chaturvedi. It was a beautiful day, so we decided to take advantage of the sun in the courtyard.

We’re both leaders of the Food, Agribusiness, and Beverage Club, and we wanted to talk about a potential partnership with CT Food Launchpad, which is an incubator and pitch competition for New Haven food entrepreneurs. We’re hoping that students in the club can help these small businesses craft their stories and pitches, and maybe even support their development in the long term.

A person walking a dog outside
Two people walking a dog outside Evans Hall
A person walking a dog outside and talking to two other people
Two people walking a dog outside SOM, and two other people hugging

2:20 p.m.

This is my dog, Selma. I got her because I grew up with corgis, and when I first saw her at the shelter, I thought she looked just like a giant corgi. I’ve had her for three and a half years, and she moved to New Haven with me. I live very close to SOM, which is nice because I can go home between classes and walk her.

My friend Eliza Chory-Noyes loves Selma, and she and her wife often take care of her when I’m away. So we decided to take her for an afternoon walk. We ran into our friend Nico Pedreira and his partner Nick, who visits from LA all the time and feels like a part of our community. Having a dog around really makes people want to talk to you!

A student organizing a display of books on a table

3:45 p.m.

I’m the student government sustainability chair, and I love little free libraries. For Earth Week, as part of the idea of reducing consumption, I set up a book exchange table in Evans Hall. I also brought sticky notes and pens so people could write little descriptions of the books they were donating, because I love going to a bookstore and reading all the bookseller recommendations. I donated The Devil in the White City, which is one of my favorite narrative nonfiction books, and picked up The Ministry for the Future, which is a climate dystopia novel—another genre I love. I’d heard amazing things about this book, so I was thrilled to see it on the table.

A professor addressing a group of students in a classroom

4:10 p.m.

My last class of the day is Narratives in Health Media. The professor, James Hamblin, used to be a staff writer at the Atlantic. I’ve been reading his articles since high school, so when I saw his name on the course listing I knew I had to take it. This class is all about the business of journalism, and how to repair the public’s trust in scientific information. It’s also sort of a creative writing class—one of our first assignments was writing a profile of another person in the class. Most students come from the Yale School of Public Health, so I get to meet a lot of people I would never otherwise interact with.

A person facing away from the camera, walking up some steps to an outdoor structure
A group of people eating pizza at an outdoor picnic table

5:45 p.m.

For dinner, I walked to the Yale Farm. I’m part of group run by the Yale Center for Business and the Environment called the 2050 Fellows. It’s a discussion group that meets once a month to talk about creating a more just, sustainable, equitable society by 2050. I love spending time with students from so many different Yale grad schools. For our end-of-year celebration, we got pizza from one6three, which has a lot of unconventional flavors—there’s one with goat cheese, asparagus, and cranberry jam. Lots of things were blooming at the farm, so it was a really fun and beautiful evening.

A group of students smiling on a patio and holding a plate of food

7:30 p.m.

I didn’t fill up on one6three because I knew I’d be doing a second round of matzah pizza at a Passover seder organized by my friend Hannah Roth. She will always have a special place in my heart: my birthday was on the second day of Math Camp, and even though I had only known her for one day, she brought in pastries and got everyone to sing “Happy Birthday” to me. She’s always organizing big friend events.

Hannah also loves sharing Jewish traditions with all of us. She brought a ton of delicious toppings and red wine to a friend’s apartment complex, and we made matzah pizzas on the grill. It was great to end the night sharing in the Passover customs of lounging, asking questions, and telling stories.