Category Archives: Technology

Checking out Dublin’s Tech Scene

Career & Professional Development recently spent a week in Dublin at the 4th annual Web Summit.  It was evident from the attendance and energy at the conference that the technology and entrepreneurship scenes are thriving in Dublin.  In addition to the Web Summit, we checked in with the Dublin offices of Dropbox, Google and Twitter.  It was great to meet HBS alumni and recruiters at their place of work and to see that the cultures of these firms are alive and well while incorporating the Dublin vibe.  As for the Web Summit, HBS was represented in a big way with speakers from HBS alumni founded companies Cloudflare, Peek, Zynga, Gilt and others.

We left Dublin feeling super excited about the career possibilities for our students and alumni.  For our recruiting partners in Dublin and Europe beyond or for organizations based in the US with international opportunities, we’d love to hear from you about your hiring needs for the coming year.  With 6% of the Class of 2014 who sought employment accepting jobs in Europe and 17% accepting jobs in technology overall, there’s an ongoing pool of interested talent to meet your hiring needs.

-Cathy Hutchinson, Corporate Relations Director, HBS Career & Professional Development

A Summer Internship: Sparking Curiosity

Classes started the other week and I am settling into the busy hum of case studies, student club events and catching up with classmates.  Each conversation is a new opportunity to reflect upon my summer experience.  Looking back, my time at Danaher was an intense period of learning, action and self-discovery.  I got a glimpse of how Danaher operated through the lens of Beckman Coulter, an operating company.  I scratched the surface of the healthcare and diagnostics industry and put theory to practice with lots of customer interactions.

The second year at HBS is a wonderful time because we can choose classes of interest.  I discovered a newfound curiosity in healthcare this summer and decided to change my course selection to include Healthcare IT.  Since my project at Danaher brought me in close working relations with the marketing and sales team, I’ve become very interested in B2B marketing and sales operations.  I plan to audit Business Marketing & Sales, one of the classes that focus on exactly that.  In the Winter term, I will be taking Building and Sustaining a Successful Enterprise (BSSE) and General Management: Action and Processes to further my understanding of general management.

As I embark on this next stage of learning and discovery, I am certain that my summer experience at Danaher will provide a valuable benchmark and perspective.

-Gong Ke, MBA 2015

A Summer Reflection

Looking back on my summer internship at Walmart, I have four main takeaways about the company:

Walmart cares A LOT about maintaining the culture that Sam Walton initially put in place.  It’s actively and constantly managed- 4 core values, 10 rules of doing business, discussions on culture in small team meetings (e.g., what can Walmart learn from GM’s issues with recalls?), murals on the wall listing these values / rules, and so on.  I have never worked in an environment where the culture was such an active focus.

For such a vast company, it feels relatively small thanks to unparalleled access to leadership.  In my previous job as a consultant, I was of the mindset that, if I left consulting for corporate America, I would never get to interact with senior leadership until I was much further along in my career.  This was most definitely not true at Walmart.  About 20 MBA interns had a private Q&A with the CEO, watched a golf tournament from the CFO’s house, and had a training on strategic thinking led by the SVP of corporate strategy (an HBS alumna).  Beyond this, I had the chance to meet several SVPs to discuss my project or my career ambitions.

Walmart’s scale is beyond belief, allowing them to take on some very exciting projects.  One HBS intern was on the clinics team, seeking to roll out basic primary care health services in stores- this has been in the news a bit lately as it ramps up.  I sat next to the Made in the USA team, who is working to get $250 billion worth of US manufactured goods sold in 10 years.  The Savings Catcher feature in the app just launched in August, which checks competitor prices of the items on your scanned receipt and gives you a Walmart e-gift card worth the difference if competitor prices are lower.  I’m sure there will be some kinks to work out as the Savings Catcher rolls out, but I think it’s a pretty brilliant idea to reinforce the one-stop-shop idea for cost-conscious customers.

Relationships inside a company are increasingly important with such scale.  As someone who worked on a dotcom project without sitting out at dotcom (in California), I saw firsthand the importance of knowing the right people to even get basic data.  Walmart understands this and thus strongly encourages networking.  Although at first I felt like I was back in recruiting season, all the coffee chats proved to be a great way to get in touch with the right people for my project plus learn about other interesting teams.

Overall I had a great summer, and I learned a lot about e-commerce and even more about building trust and influence with people both in Bentonville and at dotcom in San Bruno.  While I expected to apply knowledge from finance and strategy HBS classes during my internship, I was pleasantly surprised to be thinking about our Leadership and Organizational Behavior (LEAD) class more than anything else.

– Stephanie Tupi, MBA 2015

CPD on the Road in Manila

I recently visited Manila to meet with organizations regarding recruitment of MBA students and alumni. The Philippines is a vibrant market for business professionals and youth is a key part of the allure of businesses to the Philippines today. The country’s median age is about 24; compare that to the 40+ medians common throughout Europe and Japan. Labor continues to be one of the country’s biggest exports with overseas workers remitting cash to their families back home, but there’s a growing local consumer market. With 38 million internet users—that’s only 36% market penetration—the country is the largest English-speaking online market in East Asia. According to Kleiner Perkins’ 2014 recent Internet Trends Report, the Philippines is one of the world’s top 5 fastest growing internet markets, with 18% growth in 2012 and 27% growth in 2013.

An important upcoming milestone will be the creation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) at the end of 2015. This attempt at regional economic integration should increase business opportunities and cross-border trade for the Philippines. In addition, English is an official language so foreign entrepreneurs essentially find no communication barriers to starting businesses in the country. E-commerce and online services seem to dominate the start-up arena, but tourism and food-relatskyline1ed companies are also springing up. These businesses are targeting not only the burgeoning middle class but also consumers at the base of the pyramid. I had the pleasure of engaging with alumni, as well as representatives from several organizations, including: Ayala Corporation; Globe Telecom; Lenddo; FortmanCline Capital Markets; ICCP Group; AVA.ph; Kickstart Ventures; IdeaSpace Foundation; San Miguel Corporation; Pure Foods; the Asian Development Bank; and JG Summit Holdings.

If your organization is interested in recruiting top talent from HBS, we’re here to assist, so please reach out to me or another member of the team.

 

Working in Tech 4Dev

After spending the first half of my internship in Nairobi, I am now wrapping up the summer at Ushahidi’s San Francisco office, where I’ve been working in a business development capacity to develop a new mapping platform. Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of product management, an exciting combination of business development, marketing, engineering, and design. In fact, I’ve been surprised how much I’m loving this role thus far- it’s cross functional, involves working with experts, and allows me to leverage my knowledge gained in the first MBA year.

The product I’ve been working on is largely enterprise-focused and still in beta mode, but Ushahidtec4devi’s greater mission of technology for development—“tech4dev”—is worth writing more about. The company uses cloud-based technologies—your smartphone, your computer, and even SMS, to quickly aggregate data from a base of users onto a map. This can include the location of relief supplies after earthquakes, pothole sightings in municipalities, or reports of violence, genocide, and bombings in areas as disparate as Syria, Congo, and Gaza.

The model of “crowdsourced activism” is a fascinating one, and likely to be increasingly important as government and NGO budgets are squeezed.  The City of Los Angeles, for example, used our platform to crowdsource broken sidewalk locations for repair, saving the city a costly location survey estimated at millions. Ushahidid’s platform provides ease of use, transparency, and cost saving solutions that leverage free and readily available technologies that involve the whole community. It’s a dynamic space to be working in that feels like the future of government-tech collaboration!

While I’m not totally certain where I’ll land after graduating in May, this summer has held a number of important lessons: my enjoyment of product management, my confirmed belief that governments and organizations can be made more efficient through smart technologies and data-optimization, and my love of start-up culture. It’s been an unforgettable summer of learning and exploration, and one that I suspect will shape my trajectory in ways I can’t yet realize.

– Jen Bullock, MBA 2015

From FIELD to Field, Putting What I’ve Learned at HBS into Practice

If you asked me two months ago whether I learned anything during my first year at Harvard Business School, my response would have been a resounding “Yes!”  But, if you followed up by asking me for an example of how I applied the lessons I learned into practice, my response would have been a hesitant “Umm…”

The FIELD (Field Immersion Experiences for Leadership Development) curriculum provided me an incredible opportunity to learn leadership skills not only in the classroom, but also through practical experience in Ghana and in Boston. However, at the end of Minh_HBSthe day, FIELD remains an exercise constrained within an academic environment. The question I asked myself was “How do I actually put what I learned to the test?”

As I was starting my summer internship in Zambia over seven weeks ago, I pondered “What am I bringing to the table that I would not have been able to had I not gone to HBS?” At that moment, the answer was not quite clear. However, as the days passed and the summer (technically, it’s winter here) progressed, it became clear that what HBS equipped me with was not the hundreds of cases I read and analyzed, as I will be the first to admit I will be the last to recall any of the case facts. Rather, it was the persistent pushing and prodding by my professors, section-mates, and discussion group members that I remember the most.

As I dove deeper into the managerial and operational issues of working in Zambia, I found myself asking whether the problems were really as simple and clear as they appeared at first glance. The many times I was pushed to justify my stance – from the morality and ethicality of pharmaceutical patents in the developing world to the negotiation tactics I would use with Steve Jobs – became constant reminders for me to go deeper than just the first layer of the metaphorical onion.

What I learned at HBS and what I have applied in Zambia was more than just root cause analysis or the typical “Five Whys” questioning. It requires combining a dose of empathy with an equal dose of traditional problem solving. Just as I had to put myself in the case protagonist’s shoes, trying to understand the motivations, pressures, and stakeholders influencing his/her decision making, I found myself standing in the shoes of our sales captains, sellers, and buyers. I forced myself to distinguish what the problems appeared to be and what they really are, as well as what the solutions should be and what they really could be given the real and practical constraints we face. This “method” of thinking has become my de facto mindset whenever I’m in the field with our sales team or in a meeting room with a multinational telecom.

There isn’t a simple list of “Things I’ve Learned at HBS and How You Can Apply Them Too,” because the skills I’ve learned, and am constantly honing, are those that can only be learnt through the experience of having been forced repeatedly to defend my logic despite knowing it was not perfect.

To end this post on a lighter note, my HBS experience also never lets me forget that having fun is just as important of a success metric as any other. Here are a couple snapshots to explain why I may never leave Zambia (more on Google +).

– Minh Chau, MBA 2015

Connecting Fashion & Technology at Kate Spade

I found my internship with Kate Spade through Career & Professional Development’s collaboration with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). Coming from management consulting where the recruitment process was very structured, this PL-Clock1was a totally different experience. February through April was filled with introductory calls and various trips to New York City and San Francisco. In the end, my interview with the Senior Director of Product Strategy here at the Kate Spade company went extremely well, and I was very excited to start the job after receiving the offer the very same day. With this internship, I hope to immerse myself with the fashion-retail industry in New York City and find out whether this is a career I want to pursue in the longer term.

This new division, Product Strategy, was launched just this year in January. The division is tasked with accelerating the growth of three categories of product: tech accessories, watches, and beauty across all three brands, Kate Spade New York, Kate Spade Saturday, and PL-Sat4  Jack Spade, and across all channels of distributions globally. I’m specifically in charge of the tech category this summer. Our goal is to optimize how we work on these specialized categories and to increase our sales and profitability while leading the day to day operations.  Currently we are evaluating existing business, researching new and relevant product categories, distribution, and partners, and identifying the appropriate modeling for the business. My work has involved some overlapping with friends from HBS who are interning for tech companies in San Francisco, and it has been great to be able to reach out to them.

The interplay between fashion and technology is still a new aspect of the industry, but it is a very exciting one with a lot of opportunities that are occurring at a fast pace. It is the perfect combination for me to work on this summer since I was focused on telecommunications, media and technology (TMT) clients prior to HBS, and I have always had an innate interest in fashion retail.

It is currently my third week and I am really enjoying myself. The company has a bright ‘sunshine-feel’ to it, with neon installations on all floors. It has been interesting to discover the different personalities of the three brands. I love working with the Senior Director who had previously interviewed me, along with the product development, design and marketing teams. I also participated in consumer electronic trade shows for the first time to discover new PL-Neon sign2products on the markets and look out for potential licensing partners for the company.  The Fashion Tech Forum was also very useful in connecting with different people who were in the tech and fashion space and getting to know the industry on a deeper level.

So far, this has been the perfect experience to work on some of the day-to-day decisions needed within the Product Strategy division and on my tech growth strategy project alongside as well.

– Proud Limpongpan, MBA 2015