My Story: From The Defense Department To Yale SOM

Evans Hall at the Yale School of Management

Evans Hall at the Yale School of Management

I was fortunate to be part of the Yale SOM class that transitioned into the new Evans Hall, a $250 million building with five floors designed by Pritzker Prize-winner Lord Norman Foster. As the leader of the Student Government Long-term Planning Committee, I organized a group of classmates to help turn this beautiful space into SOM’s home, where students can explore new ideas creatively and freely, and get the most out of their time in Evans. We recently put up an art installation that plays off of the glass walls around the central courtyard and it has become an attraction on campus. Before our move into Evans Hall, there were several smaller buildings. Now, all the faculty and students are in one place. It’s unified the community.

I have come to love all that New Haven has to offer. I didn’t realize just how much is happening in the city. My friends and I go to one of the many theaters at least monthly, visit the incredible Yale Art Gallery and Center for British Art, explore New Haven’s amazing culinary scene, see concerts at a range of venues, and stroll through the beautiful East Rock neighborhood. I think the intimacy of the city brings together the Yale SOM community in a way I never expected.

My internship at Google was great. It was a unique role, almost like a consulting engagement, in which I developed a strategy for how cutting-edge technologies could be used in Google’s office environments. The team was like an office building lab where we tested all sorts of new technologies for acoustics, glass, lighting, and more. I worked on a decision framework to choose which technologies to pursue. Then, we had to figure out how to put it all together and how to implement our approach. I didn’t have a background in office design so I learned a ton as I went along.

I’m really looking forward to returning to Google and taking full advantage of the opportunities there, while also finding community organizations I can volunteer with in the Bay Area. I’m hoping my future spans the private, public, and non-profit sectors because I found my work at the Defense Department very meaningful and fun and want to be an active member in my local community.

I think the biggest lesson I gained from business school was to never underestimate the importance of interpersonal dynamics. Professor Heidi Brooks’ course, Interpersonal Dynamics, changed the way I work with others and contribute to teams. When we contributed in the small “lab” groups in her class, our classmates would give us feedback about how our remarks made them feel. It opened my eyes to how even the smallest behaviors and character traits can have a huge impact on others.

This life lesson was similar to something my grandfather told me – you don’t have to like everyone, but you have to be nice to everyone. The idea is that you don’t know what people are dealing with and what type of journey they are on so people feel positive around you.

My advice to any applicant to the Yale SOM is, Don’t be worried if you have a “non-traditional” background. You’ll be just fine and will be celebrated for your experiences. And before starting school, take some time to think about a few different paths you’d be interested in pursuing – things don’t always work out as you might envision and having other options can be really helpful.

Also, try your best to understand the differences between business schools. They all have their own unique flavor. Really get to know the schools before making a decision. Yale SOM, for example, is a very collaborative and caring environment. It’s very supportive and collegial. Friends help one and other, even for the same job interview. People are here to improve their skills and themselves and help others do the same.


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