Career Profile: A Glimpse into Non-ABC Roles


In the midst of October where the sun will set earlier and the leaves from the trees start to fall, it is also the time when recruiting season start to ramp up for many. Strolling through the Haas courtyard, you are bound to see one of three observations:

  1. Someone practicing cases with another person
  2. Someone in a business suit holding a leather folder
  3. Someone seeking advice/feedback from someone else

Haas is composed of a diverse group of driven, intellectually curious, and well-connected people. As we learned in the beginning of our orientation, the network we build here will be the network we can use forever. Yet from looking around, it seems that a significant amount of students work within a narrow scope of the ABC (accounting, banking, and consulting) for one reason or another.

Therefore, today I decided to question the status quo and draw attention to the non-ABC route because I want to encourage you to think beyond that narrow scope and take time to self-reflect on what you truly enjoy. To facilitate this process, I interviewed four Haas students who did incredible internships this past summer without following the ABC track.

Evelyn Wang
Company: Nike
Position: Procurement Intern

How did you get involved in supply chain?
My mom worked in a similar industry so I was able to see bits and pieces of the work she did while I was growing up. With a general idea of the role, I applied and was accepted to be the Supplier Management Intern at Boeing; Boeing helped me reinforce my interest in this role. I found it incredibly rewarding to see the mechanical parts come together to form a product. Full disclosure though, there’s a learning curve; but once you get the hang of it, it’s really fun. You get opportunities to collaborate with different departments like IT, finance, marketing, inventory management.

Can you share a few projects you did at Nike?
Sure! I worked on the Packaging & Components team. For example, the Jordan shoes and Air Force 1 shoes is made up of many parts; I had to look into each individual component such as the eyelets, shoelaces, dubraes to find ways to reduce costs. I spent a lot of time researching historical price trends as well as explore different supplier options, partnership location, delivery costs and more.

Another fun project that I got to work on was solving the answer to “how might we fit a larger size shoe in a smaller size box”. By figuring out this problem, Nike could reduce fiber usage and increase sustainability. Like a case study, I went to the employee Nike store to measure the boxes and shoes of the top 10 best sellers and do analysis on those shoes to see if they could fit into a smaller box. Turns out it could! My internship ended before I could find the solution for that though- perhaps it could be something the next intern could work on.

Mari Wu
Company: Uber China
Position: Competition and Product Operations Intern

Why did you choose to apply to Uber China?
As an international student, I faced a dilemma between looking into opportunities in the USA or return back home to China. I ultimately chose Uber in China because I wanted to test out what the working life would be in China in order to decide whether I wanted to return to China for my full-time job or recruit in America.

What was exciting about your role?
As you know, Didi and Uber China recently merged. I spent most of my summer doing extensive research on our competitor, Didi. I would analyze their data and act almost like the CIA of Uber to form conclusions on how we could perform in similar ways and also predict Didi’s next strategy.

What was a key finding you found?
For example, I did an analysis on one of Didi’s most popular cities, Hangzhou in order to find patterns against our operations. I discovered that unlike a typical business cycle where there were two peak hours, Hangzhou had three. The unusual hours were from 9PM to11PM on weekdays. It turns out that the top technology firms like Alibaba was located in this city and apparently workers would stay late because they were provided with free dinner.

Do you have any thoughts on why Uber China ultimately merged with Didi?
They actually merged on the last day of my internship. I cannot disclose too much but one overarching idea that I think led to Uber’s merge in China was largely due to the lack of local customer insight.

For example, Uber partnered with Baidu Map and Didi worked with WeChat. Unlike America whose applications develop a one-point solution (one app solves one problem), Chinese customers like all-in-one package deal that WeChat offered. In this all-in-one capability, customers could the hail the taxi service (Didi) without even downloading Didi’s app. WeChat is not a social app, it’s a lifestyle app. By partaking in this partnership, WeChat provided Didi with the user inflow that made it that much stronger. Therefore, I think if Uber had understood the customer’s app patterns, they would’ve formed the partnership accordingly.

David Li
Company: Google
Role: Associate Product Marketing Manager Intern

What is your background and why are you passionate about marketing?
Growing up in the vibrant diverse city of Hong Kong, I was a rather observant child, exposed to an environment filled with the jarring juxtapositions of wealth and poverty and of modernist constructs immersed in underlying rich cultural heritage. It always fascinated me how these landscapes were shaped, and the nuances that built these complex dynamics. Marketing is all about understanding this sensibility and exposure, and the interaction between individuals with society and with products.

My exposure to these forces and underlying complexities that shape interactions were reinforced through my traveling adventures with my dad on his fashion business endeavors. I recall a specific fashion fair in Dusseldorf where I was puzzled over two similar pieces of clothing marketed in two fashion booths. One was charged a mere $5, whilst the other at a blatant $500. I came to realize that it boiled down to a brand’s power to liberate this difference, building a perception of premier. Marketers thus are equipped with the ability to conjure up the magic and hype behind a product or brand. There is a sense of excitement and cheekiness to marketing, serving as a voice of your company to your consumers, that really excites me.

Why was it an eye-opening experience to be a part of Marketing at Google?
Google Marketing is a truly unique organization, as no other organization has the breadth and depth of products Google has to offer. We are also at the forefront of developing the intersection between marketing and technology, ‘art, copy and code’ as we call it, to explore new ways in which technology can help build brands in a digital world. The fast-paced nature of the work conducted was particularly eye opening. We have a phrase called ‘launch and reiterate’ which describes the rapid ways we launch and execute campaigns and churn out more exciting ways of connecting the consumer to our products.

What is the role like for an APMM?
APMM at Google is a rotational program that allows you to touch upon different verticals within Google’s products (ie. YouTube, Android, Chrome). The degree of breadth is unique to the company; from potentially touching on B2B marketing to brand marketing, Google APMMs gain exposure and training to different types of marketing. The icing on the cake is also that the program is global. This means that after 18 months, you can travel to an international location, be it in Singapore, Rio, London, and learn how marketing differs in these local or regional markets.

As an APMM intern, I had the opportunity to execute a project with Google Play surrounding how we can create bigger and better partnerships. This involved working with different global and cross-functional stakeholders, creating pitch decks and other super cool things that I cannot disclose!

The most important aspect of this role is the ability to self-drive your own projects, take complete ownership of your work and embrace ambiguity. You have to be okay with dealing with uncertainty and pivot when necessary.

We have all read stories about the incredible perks at Google. What was your favorite?
After a training bootcamp we had in the SF office one day, we hopped on a shuttle to Safari West in Sonoma! It was an amazing two days of sunshine, good vibes, and touring around in jeeps to see safari animals. Other than that, I looked forward to my daily dose of Noosa yoghurt for breakfast.

Any final thoughts on Google?
If you’re interested in applying to any role at Google, be genuine and tell your story. We want to hear what have shaped your experiences and how you can bring your whole authentic self to work!

Adam Sloane
Company: Annie’s Inc.
Role: Business Development Intern

What were some of your projects as a Business Development intern?
So as a business development intern, I worked quite closely with the Sales department. I analyzed a lot of product data- data on our product, competitor’s products, as well as pattern searching in relation to promotion spending and general sales data. Ultimately, it was to see how certain products were performing in their respective food categories.

Can you share some of your projects?
Of course! We recently changed the structure of the ketchup bottle from an upright bottle to an upside down bottle. I tracked the new packaging style to see how its statistics performed against the old product. I also spent some time analyzing our fruit snack product line to understand why in some retailers we were losing market share.

What’s the culture like at Annie’s?
Even with the General Mills acquisition, the culture I’ve heard has managed to stay the same. It’s a tight-knit group of around 60-70 people; I could sit down and talk to the different directors -sales, marketing, operations, and logistics. Actually, I even got to sit down and chat with John Foraker, the CEO of Annie’s, about his perspectives in Annie’s.

What’s a fun fact about working here?
There is a garden right outside and a gardener comes and picks the produce for employees to take home for free; this is just one example showing how Annie’s really spends a lot of time emphasizing clean and healthy eating.

So now that you’ve read up on some amazing internship experience, where are you planning to go? I hope that I could show you that there are so many other jobs out there to explore. Your internship doesn’t define who you are, but it does pave way for your next experience. As Dr. Seuss says, “Oh the Places You’ll Go!”

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