Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
College: Bates College; Math & Economics
Pre-Business School: Offshore Operations Manager at Athenahealth Inc.
Summer Internship: Product Management at VMware Inc.
Childhood dream job: Good question. Every year or so my interests change. I think as most kids do at one point, I wanted to be a fire fighter. That moved on to wanting to be a Ghostbuster, a football player, and then finally a movie director. I'm sure there were 30 other things as well that I just can't recall.
Why business school? Well, having realized that being neither a Ghostbuster nor an NFL player was feasible, it just seemed like the right thing to do. In reality, knowing that business was going to be my future in one way or another, I just knew that getting an MBA was going to be a necessity for me. When making the ultimate decision to leave my last job, my mentor at my last company said something to me that I'll never forget: "Look, if you go to work everyday and you're still learning new things, then stay put, but if you come everyday and there's nothing left for you to absorb, go get your MBA." The time was right.
Why Anderson? Is this a trick question? Why not Anderson?
Anderson Activities & Leadership: Anderson Student Association (ASA) President; VP Social JBSA, Comm TA, 1st/2nd year Mentor, Randomly wandering the halls saying hi to people, Being too loud in the atriums and/or courtyard
Favorite class and why? Are the professors reading this? This could be problematic. I took the Management and Strategy elective with Dick Rumelt last year. That class was unreal. 3 hours of completely engaged class discussion across the board with one of the preeminent strategy thinkers in the world (http://hbr.org/web/slideshows/the-50-most-influential-management-gurus/20-rumelt).
Applied Management Research Project: My team and I focused on discovery of customer pain points in the online booking process for Princess Cruises. We spent a good chunk of time at their corporate office meeting with customer service reps, spent some time in Long Beach interviewing passengers at port, and even got to go on a cruise to Cozumel where we ran customer focus groups. My team really put together a great report, and we had a lot of fun doing it. I think Anderson wins the prize for best field study program.
Favorite Anderson Event: C4C Weekend was pretty fantastic. I'm extremely competitive, so the athletic aspect of it really appealed to me. Playing flag football against a former Indianapolis Colt was certainly a highlight, despite him crushing us. Watching Christina Khosravi lead us to victory in Softball was also great. Overall, spending the whole weekend with classmates all coming together to dominate the other West Coast MBA programs will be a lasting memory.
Best Anderson memory thus far: Too many to count. Planning to create and experience many more before I leave.
What helped most in your interview preparation and career search? Sally Stahl is a rockstar. Somehow she managed to put up with all my exploration last year. I'd probably call it more life-coaching than interview prep/career search.
How did you figure out what industry/function you wanted to pursue? I’ve been lucky that I have built an extensive network, so things tend to just fall in my lap. If they seem interesting enough, I dive deep into them. I wanted a role that would allow me to not only make a large impact at the organization, but would also keep me engaged by managing a variety of projects. International travel is also a plus.
How many informational interviews did you conduct? Ha, you’ll laugh at this. A grand total of 2 for my summer internship and 0 for my full time job. While I’m pretty happy with my post-MBA job (I’ve been consulting there since October), I will say that informational interviews are very important, and I regret not having done more of them.
How did you land your internship? On-campus recruiting and then really hitting it off with the first product manager who interviewed me.
Why Operations? I like to see the measurable impact of the work I do day in and day out. Knowing that a company succeeds or fails depending on the operations that support it is a huge driver in pushing me to succeed. And it’s not just maintaining the status quo that leads me to ops, but rather the constant evolution and innovation of the operational framework. Leading the effort to tangibly improve workflows and cut unit costs while managing a team to get us there is very rewarding.
-Sandra Nguyen, Communications Manager, Parker Career Management Center