And there goes Fall A…

Ahh…I’ve finally given my apartment the cleanup it’s needed. Those who know me know that the state of my desk is all too often a reflection of my state of mind. If that is, in fact, true then this week should be much better than last!

I’ve restocked the refrigerator and even replaced the “emergency food” I resorted to in order to keep me going last week during finals (not that I don’t like canned tuna, frozen pad thai and canned clam chowder normally!).

It’s just hard to believe that Fall A has already come and gone. As you may know, the way the first semester runs in the full-time program here at Haas is that the semester is split into two 7-week terms. Fall A this year included Microeconomics, Data & Decisions, Leading People, and Leadership Communications. Being used to 15-week semesters from undergrad, it was a bit of a whirlwind. But, we still managed to get through a lot of content and it’s perfect for giving everyone in the class an overview of the different business areas they may want to further explore come spring and 2nd year.

The first two days of this week have been spent in a Career Management Conference where the Career Management Group has arranged for a range of panels, speakers and sessions to help first years further explore career options and also begin to focus in on specific targets for internship recruiting which will kick off early in the spring semester. The two-day conference also included very practical things like extended drop-in hours for resume reviews, mock interviews and even a “photo booth” for each of us to get a current professional photo taken.

Tomorrow we have a day of review sessions – Finance in the morning and Financial Accounting in the afternoon – to serve as a quick refresher before we dive right into Fall B (Financial Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Problem Finding Problem Solving) on Thursday. The brief hiatus from classes in the first half of this week has been helpful for all of us, I think, to get things back in order, think about recruiting and also prepare a bit for Fall B. With how hectic even just these last couple of days has been (without classes!), I know that Fall B will no doubt be just as packed as Fall A and hopefully just as memorable!

Busier than ever!

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any busier, the summer internship recruiting process began in earnest! In addition to attending classes and fulfilling my club leadership responsibilities (Haas Student Ambassadors! Tech Club! Beer Industry Club!), I’m also actively searching for a summer job in the tech industry. Since I’m an industry switcher, I’ve been focusing on ways to increase my knowledge of the tech industry. Two of the main ways I’ve been doing that since coming back for Spring semester have been informational interviews and company treks.

Although Haas has a smaller student body than a lot of MBA programs, it’s turned out to be a tremendous benefit when it comes to networking because our alums are so eager to help out fellow Haasies. I was initially pretty uncomfortable with the idea of reaching out to complete strangers, but our alums have made it painless! Every single person I’ve reached out to (and there have been literally dozens) has gotten back to me, answering my questions and encouraging my interest in their companies. They have graciously taken time out of their busy days to chat with me on the phone or over coffee about their companies, roles, and trends they see in the industry. As a result, I’ve been able to identify companies and roles in which my skills would be a good fit, and I’ve felt prepared and knowledgable for interviews, which just started a few weeks ago.

I’ve also enjoyed visiting tech companies in SF and the Silicon Valley. HTC has been really active setting up on-site tours and networking events with large and small companies in a variety of sub-industries, from networks to online to software. These events give members a great opportunity to get a feel for these companies and another way to meet current employees. I recently joined HTC’s trip to Cisco, where we had the chance to hear about the internships for which they’re hiring–AND test out their TelePresence software! (Read about it here.) Pretty much every Friday, we can count on a trip down to the Valley. And in fact, today is no different; I’m heading out the door to the GooglePlex right now!

Media / Entertainment 101 Panel

Today I participated in the Media/Entertainment 101 panel. The purpose of this panel was to give the class of 2012 an overview of the space, the typical roles and work performed along with information on what is needed to conduct a successful job search.

On the panel was a handpicked selection of second years who spent their summers at Apple, Disney, Facebook, Google, and Zynga. From launching new products to managing global teams, the class of 2011 panelists showed that it’s possible to accomplish a lot in 2.5 months! While we had different roles and responsibilities, it was no doubt that we were all enthusiastic to talk about our great summer experiences!

This was a great opportunity to share our insights on not only the recruiting process but also give the first years an inside look at what it’s like to work at these companies. Given the insightful questions, we are confident that the new class has hit the ground running and will continue to stake their claim in the digital media and entertainment industry!


Career Trek to Symantec

Last week, I had the chance to visit Symantec as part of the “career treks” that are organized by the Haas Technology Club. These treks allow us to visit company facilities, see their work environment, speak with members of the senior management team and gain a better perspective of the various roles and responsibilities across various groups.

Our trek started with a visit to the Symantec Labs. These labs were not IT software labs, rather they were test environments for their engineering groups. This was where Symantec simulated multiple environments to do thorough tests and quality assurances before releasing their products. We got to see some of the most high-end, high performance machines in the industry today. The lab forms a very critical part of Symantec’s product development process, and it was amazing to see the infrastructure that they built up.

Later, we were addressed by Kathy Bonanno, VP of Finance and Josh Kahn. Kathy spoke about the various functions performed by the finance organization within Symantec. It is always exciting to learn about a company that has continued to grow as rapidly as Symantec, both organically and through external acquisitions. We had a chance to speak with recent interns and graduates who enthusiastically shared their experiences thus far.

Josh Kahn spoke about the various products that Symantec has come up with, and the areas of growth for the company. We learnt about various interactions between product, engineering and marketing managers. It was also interesting to hear Josh’s take on the competitive landscape, and how that would pan out for the company.

Later, we had an informal panel discussion with various Haas alums in the company. Alums were in a variety of roles that spanned finance, corporate strategy, business developments, product management, product marketing management and business operations. The culture of Symantec had a very Haas-like feel – collaborative, innovative, energetic and entrepreneurial.

Overall, it was a great day. Treks like this play a huge role in the career search process. Learning about a company is instrumental part of the job/internship seeking process, and on behalf of all the students that visited, I like to thank the Symantec team for organizing this fantastic event.


The Multi Club Firm Night

This week, several student-run clubs got together to sponsor the multi-club firm nights. The Multi-Club Firm Night is an annual career event hosted by the Haas Marketing Club, General Management & Strategy Club, the Digital Media & Entertainment, the Technology and the Sales Club. This year over 14 firms attended the event, including Adobe, Apple, Chevron, Cisco, Clorox, DelMonte, E&J Gallo, Ivelich Stone, Leapfrog, NetApp, Neutrogena, SalesForce, Sony, Symantec, Gallup and VMWare.

It was fascinating to see 2 vastly different companies just 2 booths apart – Apple, which beat Wall Street expectations this quarter, and Zynga, which probably beat its own expectations of how fast they’d grow.

It was a perfect opportunity for students to spend 1-1 time with company representatives, understand their unique propositions and get a feel for what kind of career they’d like to choose. For a high tech enthusiast like me, I truly enjoyed meeting all the companies that are revolutionizing our digital futures – Of course, I can’t wait to be part of that revolution as well!


Hanging out on the couch

I’ve been hanging out in the MBA lounge a lot–low-key atmosphere, light-hearted chit chats, comfortable couches–what better environment in which to do some reading for the next class:

It was on these very couches that, one day last week, a fellow second-year and I spontaneously gave unsolicited advice to a first-year who made a mistake of sitting next to us when we were just hanging out. We found out she received two internship offers.

After giving her the congratulations, we immediately began lecturing about how Offer B was the better choice for her, even though she was leaning towards Offer A. We gave examples from our own experiences; we used metaphors; we tried everything to be persuasive.

At the end of our “session,” she did not seem convinced. “Only you know what’s best for you,” I conceded before she left for class.

Well, what do you know. Yesterday I found out she decided to go with Offer B.

—Helen Ip