Career Profiles: Staci Ja Yoon Heo, Walmart e-Commerce

Career Profiles is a series of posts that will feature Haas students who have accepted an internship or full time job offer across various industries. This one is on Retail and e-Commerce.

DSC08709_1When it comes to consulting experience, it is probably difficult for any undergraduate to compare to Staci Ja Yoon Heo (Class of 2014). However Staci has decided to take on a different route. Staci is a double major in Business Administration and Psychology. She has interned for Bain & Company and the Boston Consulting Group in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Staci was a Finance intern for Walmart’s e-Commerce division last summer. At Haas, she served as Director of Communications for the Berkeley Business Society from Fall 2012 to Spring 2013, and is an inducted member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society for business students. Staci also held positions as Associate Editor and Marketer for the Undergraduate Journal of Psychology and Director of Finances for the Berkeley Interdisciplinary Research Conference. She also won the Edward Frank Kraft Award and the Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship at UC Berkeley, and was on the Dean’s Honors List from Fall 2010 to Spring 2013.

What made you join Walmart’s e-Commerce? What makes it so interesting to you?

Before joining Wal-Mart eCommerce, my internships and extracurricular activities focused on client-consulting projects. Wal-Mart’s projects were a bit different from these client projects, because first of all I didn’t have a client, I was just working with my team for my firm; also, the solutions were not meant to be delivered to clients but needed to be carried out immediately to bring about tangible results. I was extremely attracted to the prospect of solving problems and implementing the solutions (or watching those solutions get implemented by relevant business partners) rather than just recommending solutions. It was my first internship at a non-client-services firm, and it was very hands-on. It was interesting to come up with solutions, test them, and prepare training materials and internal-control documentations. I gained a big-picture perspective of looking at things and detecting and solving problems.

How was the interview process for Walmart?

The interview process consisted of two rounds. The first round was with two directors, and was highly structured with behavioral questions requiring you to draw experience from classroom, internships, and/or business clubs. The second round was with more people from various departments in controllership, and was more conversational and casual. It ended with a mini-tour of the awesome building. All the interviewers for both rounds were upbeat, friendly, and easy to talk to. They were also very accommodating of my questions about the firm, internship, and potential projects.

You interned for the Boston Consulting Group and Bain & Company in the past. What made you shift industries?

I enjoyed every bit of management consulting at those two companies. I learned a great deal and made valuable connections. However, I decided that I was more interested in the technical side of things, building my professional expertise through licensure in accounting and then applying my knowledge to understanding and evaluating various business processes.

Haas students tend to pursue the ABCs. Do you think this prevalence made you pursue consulting initially?

There was definitely a peer pressure from my business club that provided consulting services to for-profit and non-profit clients. Investing time and effort in securing clients and working on and presenting deliverables influenced me to believe that this was what I was going to do, post-college. But once I talked to more people, especially from Wal-Mart as well as from other firms at the career fair, my club’s mentorship mixer, etc., I looked beyond consulting and realized there were opportunities that sounded even more interesting and that I needed to try out.

What excites you most about doing Finance for Walmart, post-graduation career?

I would have said that I love every single bit of it, the people, the culture, and the projects. They also have lots of fun events, such as diversity festivals, SF Giants games, and bring-your-dog (or cat) to work days. Wal-Mart’s eCommerce is probably the world’s largest start-up, so it is an exciting time to be a part of that momentum. Unfortunately, I will be joining Deloitte Audit in San Francisco office starting September. What excites me the most about joining this firm is that I get to do similar kinds of work in business processes and financial statements, except for a lot of other firms from different industries. I am excited about learning from the peers as well as experts and exploring various areas apart from retail.

Do you have any advice you would give other Haas and Cal students in general, who are also interested in working in retail versus traditional ABC industries?

I believe that both retail and traditional ABC industries are very good post-college careers with lots of merits. Your earlier question related to a lot of Haas students pursuing ABC’s, and my advice to that is not to cross out anything completely just because no one is going for it or to commit to something too early because everyone is going for it. At Haas or at Cal you are sometimes peer-pressured into trying out for the most popular. Do talk to people and find out reasons for why some careers like ABC’s are more pursued; however, I also recommend that you take plenty of time to think, experience, and explore the different areas like retail that you find interesting. I realized during my recruiting process that it is really important to talk to my friends, family, professors, mentors, and professionals about my career interests, and to know what I prioritize and value the most.

Denice Sy
Class of 2014

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