Category Archives: West Coast

HBS in San Francisco: Get a Recap on West Coast Recruiting

In March, HBS ventured to the Bay Area to host a series of recruiting and networking focused events. In response to our students’ enthusiasm towards exploring opportunities on the West Coast, HBS Career & Professional Development (CPD) hosted thWestCoast3e first school-facilitated interview event outside of the Boston area. CPD provided all logistical support for the 93 interviews that took place on March 17th and 18th in San Francisco easing the interview process for both recruiters and students.

Our office also facilitated networking opportunities for students to connect with companies and alumni in the Bay Area. The HBS California Research Center and CPD co-hosted a start-up mixer allowing students to network with exciting companies, learn about WestCoast1potential opportunities and listen to a panel of entrepreneurs and VC partners moderated by Professor Bill Sahlman. With over 65 students and 25 start-ups, including Pinterest, Cointent, Dropbox and Boomtrain, the mixer was full of energy and engaging discussions.

Tuesday began with a Venture Capital breakfast hosted by Kristen Fitzpatrick, Managing DirectWestCoast2or of the HBS CPD office, which allowed a group of students to learn from alumni working in VC. Interviews continued and student buzz was still high from the event the prior evening. The two days concluded with an alumni networking reception attended by over 180 alumni and current MBA students.

As HBS continues to see an increase in West Coast bound students and alumni, we look forward to making this an annual Bay Area event, partnering with firms both large and small across a variety of industries.

Looking to recruit talent but missed our event on the West Coast? Request the West Coast Club’s complimentary club resume book and connect with students seeking opportunities in your area.

– Drew Davis, Recruiting Coordinator, HBS Career & Professional Development

The Summer is Finally Over

It has been about a week since I finished my summer internship, and I can’t believe how quickly the time flew by. I started the internship intent on learning as much as I could about an industry that has inspired me since my childhood. At the same time, I wanted to contribute as much as possible to an organization undergoing significant change. Reflecting on the experience now, I feel like I was able to achieve both goals. In addition, I also learned a lot about people – how much they matter and how you (one person… even an intern!) can add to an organization’s (already positively strong) culture.

As a first-year at Harvard Business School, you take several classes that suggest that the most successful companies have strong, indelible cultures that embody its employees’ beliefs and values. While the cases and discussions resonate with you at the moment you learn them, it’s not until you are back in the field actually dealing with ‘real-life’ situations that you can truly appreciate the cause and effect relationship between culture and sustained organizational success. This summer, I got to work with passionate, energetic, smart and incredibly humble people. Their efforts helped to launch several new cable networks, sell and acquire companies and set the stage for continued growth and success in an uncertain business environment. Though I was new to the company and only there temporarily, I tried my best to tangibly contribute in ways that I could – from the basics (copying papers) to the more advanced (modeling proposals, presenting them and providing different perspectives when appropriate).  Some days (and nights) were long but there was no wiping the smiles off of our faces! We liked our roles and enjoyed collaborating with each other. I have little doubt that this friendly atmosphere nudged us in moments of fatigue and doubt. When I was uncertain about an assignment, an experienced employee would provide words of encouragement and direction. In turn, I proactively tried to help in any way that reinforced the already focused and determined work environment that I was in.

While I don’t know for sure what the full-time job search will bring, I know that I will seek to be in an organization with a culture as fantastic as the one I experienced (and contributed to) this summer.

As I enter my second year at HBS, I am looking forward to so many things:

– Reuniting with my classmates and catching up on our amazing summer experiences.

– Getting the chance to pick and ultimately take my own classes for the first time… My tentative schedule looks so exciting!

– Enjoying even more of what Boston and Cambridge have to offer in food, culture, entertainment, sports and any other kind of fun.

I know one thing is for sure… I am not looking forward to saying goodbye a year from now!

– Nick Singh, MBA 2014

3 Projects, 1 Priceless Picture

I could fill another dozen blogs with all the fun activities I’ve experienced at Nike this summer: seeing Lebron James on campus as we celebrate his 11th year with the swoosh, playing pickup beach volleyball on Friday afternoons, taking a double-decker bus to local Oregon vineyards, and the list goes on. But, I suppose I should dedicate at least one entry to my professional experience this summer. Unlike most interns at Nike who have one project over the course of the summer, I’ve actually had the opportunity to learn invaluable lessons across three projects, each at very different levels of the company.

The 100,000 Foot View: My first project with the Corporate Strategy & Development group was in support of the annual corporate strategic planning meeting for Nike’s CEO and executive team. To help underscore the importance of a long term vision, I developed a presentation about the parallels between JFK’s vision to put a man on the moon in the 1960s and the opportunity that faces Nike today. With technology advancements speeding up day-by-day, what could Nike accomplish in a decade if the US could successfully complete the Apollo mission? What should be the vision to catalyze Nike toward global leadership, just as the space race galvanized America? Only Mark Parker and his team know for now, but I was excited to get a glimpse into the way Nike’s top executives are thinking about the future, while also honing my ability to tell a compelling leadership story.

The 50,000 Foot View: My second project was with the Nike women’s business, called Women’s Training. My work with this team brought me one step closer to the product and the Nike consumer, allowing me to see Nike’s intense passion for meeting ‘her’ needs. Assessing the women’s athletic clothing market, I helped the Women’s Training team better understand Nike’s position against global competitors and identify gaps or opportunities to consider in their business plan. Working with the group’s Strategic Planner, I also developed a ‘War Games’ activity to provide a simulation where key companies in the market battled for market share by making strategic moves like brand extensions, product innovation, and international expansion. While the game was simulated, the lessons are being taken seriously in considering Nike’s next moves in meeting women’s needs, and the analytical skills I honed will surely be a personal asset in the future.

Amanda-Nike
Our winning Nike+ team and honorary team member, Phil Knight

The View from Your Finger Tip: My final project brought me down into the details of the Nike+ Running app with a team of twelve other graduate and undergraduate interns from across the company. Our goal was to understand current Nike+ users and provide ideas for continuing to engage the Nike+ community. Our team surveyed nearly 150 runners, conducted over 30 one-on-one interviews, scanned the market for competitive apps, and ran over 1,000 miles using Nike+ ourselves. In the end, we gathered valuable insights that led to our recommendations to take Nike+ to the next level by providing runners with the resources, training and social support they need to achieve their goals. Our hard work paid off in the best way – I learned how to take deep consumer insights and apply them directly to a Nike product, and our team was selected to present our recommendations to all 150 Nike interns and Phil Knight, co-founder and chairman of Nike!

– Amanda Burlison, MBA 2014

Fellow HBS Classmates Enriching the Internship Experience

I am not sure how my internship in Los Angeles would have gone had it not been for the presence of some really great HBS classmates. They provided company and comfort when I needed it the most (not to mention a plethora of great Facebook photos).
Nick LAEmployers often focus on making sure that MBAs within the same company are connected with each other. As mentioned in my last post, this is extremely important for creating a memorable experience as fellow interns can make the entire internship richer on several levels. At the same time, some of the most impactful summer experiences are with people who come from your school but don’t work at your company. My friends from HBS have really made me step back and carefully consider the special parts of LA and my overall internship. By comparing and contrasting our summer experiences, we have also found ways to support each other and make the most of our out-of-work time.

I think relationships with HBS classmates are particularly rewarding for several reasons. First, we have known each other (in many cases) for almost an entire year. This degree of familiarity breeds a natural trust and understanding that’s hard to find elsewhere. Second, we are also going through the same adjustments in being somewhere new and unfamiliar; therefore, we can (usually) pretty easily empathize with each other’s struggles. Third, since these classmates are generally not in the same firm, they can provide perspectives and opinions that might otherwise be subject to group-think or not even discussed at all.

Having a seemingly unbiased or “fresh” voice is great when you need advice or counsel on a pressing issue… Or when you want to reference that HBS case, which you believe to be 100% applicable in the situation you are thinking about in the moment (perhaps every HBS intern had that moment this summer).

I sometimes wonder what employers can do to facilitate more of these interactions, especially since they may not feel like they can do much. Practically speaking, there might not actually be much they can do but encouraging interactions in an informal way can help (It can be as simple as a reporting manager encouraging an intern to meet with other classmates over lunch). Regardless, the sooner an intern is truly comfortable at work, the likelier they will be their “best” selves. .. And those are probably the optimal conditions under which to find out if an intern is really a great fit for your firm.

– Nick Singh, MBA 2014

The Social Side of an Internship

I think I speak for most interns when I say that company sanctioned social outings can be a crucial part of getting to understand a firm’s culture. At my internship this summer, I and other interns have been exposed to lecture series, tours, barbecues and happy hours all organized for us… And then there was this:

Nick Baseball

I recently had the privilege of attending a baseball game with other interns at the media company I am interning for this summer. The specific team I work with is small, so it isn’t always easy to get to know others in the firm; ultimately, these intern events become crucial for rounding out the internship experience and making new friends (and future colleagues).

The day itself was a blast. Forty or so of us took a company bus to Anaheim and were treated to lunch by the company. In between hot dogs, soda and cracker jacks, we had time to learn more about each other’s backgrounds and summer experiences so far. While it’s a bit late in the summer and some people are even getting ready to leave soon, the bonds we made over a few hours will never be forgotten.

So what happened at the game? The “good guys” (the Angels) won a two hit shutout against the Twins. The game was a classic pitcher’s duel that ended with an overenthusiastic fan running onto the field and getting tackled by security… perhaps another part of the afternoon that we will never forget.

– Nick, MBA 2014

The Hunt for Summer Housing in LA

HollywoodIt’s great to be back writing in this blog. The topic I want to touch on is summer housing and how hard of a struggle it can be to secure affordable (and comfortable) summer housing in a location far away from Boston.

Let me also say that I was not alone in having this conundrum… Almost all of my peers at HBS can share stories about trying to get their summer housing plans firmed up at the last minute. I have also been fortunate to have a great sublet back in Boston (thank you for HBS section mates!), which has completely de-stressed the other half of the summer housing equation.

When I got to L.A., I thought I had a place to stay but quickly realized that my expectations were not aligned with what I saw. Without going into the gory details, I will just say that it’s hard for someone to determine if an apartment is completely suitable for living without actually seeing it in person. A picture can tell a thousand words but sometimes it’s that 1,001st word that is most telling.

Through some very kind friends, I was finally able to find a place (which is where I am writing this blog post). If I had any advice for interns trying to find housing next summer, it would be the following:

(1)    Make a list of questions you want to ask the person who is subletting to you – so many things can come up during your stay that it makes sense to know the important details. I might even suggest asking a 2nd year what their experience was like and what they wish they could have known before picking a place.

(2)    If possible, don’t consider committing before you (or a friend) has actually visited the potential spot. That way, you will know for sure if your expectations are realistic.

(3)    Don’t worry too much about a few dollars here and there. It’s only a few months that you get to intern, so (first and foremost) make sure you secure a comfortable place to stay.

Nick Singh, MBA 2014

Running into Summer!

Amanda Post 1
At Nike in South Africa with my FIELD 2 team

As I look back on my first year at HBS, one of my most memorable experiences was the international FIELD project. I had the incredible opportunity to travel to South Africa and work with a company that’s been a part of my life since I learned to walk. A lifetime athlete, I have a long history with Nike – my first basketball shoes were Nike, I crossed the finish line of my first half-marathon in Nike running shoes, and my favorite yoga pants now sport the famous swoosh. Like the five other HBS first years on my team, I was honored to help Nike think about its strategy to grow access to shoes and apparel in Africa. The experience was so rewarding for me, I vowed to put every effort I could into finding another way to work with Nike. Using the knowledge and skills I developed working with the South Africa team, I interviewed for the Nike World Headquarters internship in the Corporate Strategy & Development group – believing my prior work as a consultant and my passion for sport would be a winning combination. As I prepare to fly to Portland for the summer, I’m thrilled to accomplish three things: to better understand the role of an internal strategic planner, to use the new skills I’ve developed during my first year, and to make a valuable impact in a company that’s left such a positive mark on my life. I suppose I should confess to one more goal – I’d love to leave with some awesome new shoes, too.

– Amanda Burlison, MBA 2014