Board Fellowship Program


By Ana Carolina Pinaya

In the last few months I have been amazed by how Business School is so much more than taking business-related classes.

Of course the classes are a cornerstone, discussions can be very insightful, solid technical skills are a requirement for any job and faculty is inspiring. But I found that being an MBA student is much more than attending and participating in classes. It is about networking and meeting new people and participating in events. It is about exploring the different opportunities to collaborate with both your school and the community.

One of the most exciting opportunities the GSM has provided me is the Board Fellowship Program. The objective of the program is to offer board-readiness training to participating MBA students (Fellows) and placement on the Board of Directors of partner non-profit organizations as non-voting (or adjunct) members.

As part of the program, I participated in a full-day professional training on the necessary skills one should possess or develop as a board member, and I had the privilege to be placed in the Board of Directors of Watermark. Watermark’s mission is to increase the representation of women in leadership positions by empowering its members to make their mark in their companies, careers and communities. It is a non-profit organization focused on giving women opportunities to network and develop skills to grow their careers through a series of events, workshops and webinars.

As a professional woman, and somebody that had been involved in internally promoting diversity in the companies I worked with, Watermark’s mission and work is very close to my heart. Since the beginning of the program, I had the opportunity to participate on the yearly Board Retreat, which gave me insight on how a strategy is developed in a NGO. It was also a very interesting experience to observe the dynamics of a 100% female board meeting and to interact with some of the most successful women in Silicon Valley. For the rest of the program, my commitment is to help Watermark executing their strategies for growth.

Experiences like these are the most valuable assets somebody can get out of business school, and I am grateful I am having the opportunity to be a part of the program and make a positive impact in the community.

My internship at State Street Global

UC Davis Ambassador

Nice summer weather, a panoramic view of the bay through the big office windows, guiltiful ice cream time in the afternoon at Embarcadero, coffee run and morning walk with my colleagues, happy hours with GSM alumni who work in the city… My three-month internship at State Street Global Advisors in San Francisco leaves no regret to me in this summer.

Three months go quickly. Now I am in the second last week of my internship. Afterwards, I am going back to Davis and continue my second year of my MBA education. It is hard to say goodbye to my friends here, to the delicious food, to the nice weather, to the decent pay, to the view of the bay bridge and the ferry building. However, I have so many takeaways, and those takeaways, I am sure, are going to boost my second transformation at GSM.

State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) is the second largest asset management firm in the world. I work with its global marketing team, and directly report to the head of Global Channel Marketing, a marketing team responsible for segmentation. My boss is a successful marketer. She holds an MBA degree from GSM, and graduated several years ago. At SSGA, I have received tremendous help from my coworkers and my bosses. Unlike some other internship experiences I had before, at SSGA I feel that they invest their time and energy in my future career growth instead of milking my intelligence for a short term.

My internship opened my eyes to a new industry, financial services. Every day, I work in the same office with portfolio managers, financial product researchers, and economists. I listen to investment discussions between people from Boston, London and Hong Kong. I participate in meetings of product innovation with insurance companies. Interestingly enough, it is not a peaceful summer for this industry. Greece, China, all you can recall… For me, this summer has taught me to better understand the global economy.

To fulfill my responsibility as an intern, I interact with marketers with different expertise: branding, segmentation, direct marketing, web marketing, marketing technology, and advertising & creative. I have interviewed more than 30 colleagues to understand their roles, responsibilities and challenges. My interviewees include my peers, heads of marketing, vendors, and financial experts the marketing team supports, such as sales, Chief Investment Officer, and traders. Now, I have a much better grasp of how to work cross-functionally and with different marketing teams in a global organization.

An absolute high of my internship is the trip to SSGA’s global headquarters in Boston. I was amazed by the SSGA-owned skyscraper in downtown Boston; I was excited by the open communication between different floors in this building. I visited a trading floor, which has more than 1000 trading terminals working at the same time. I met senior people from the investment team. I sat next to product strategists. Additionally, lobster rolls and cocktails used to be on my every day dinner menu. I enjoyed the walk with my boss along the Charles River, where the MIT campus and Harvard campus locate.

And of course, I also work hard at my internship. I came in office at 7:00 AM to attend global video conference calls. I woke up at 4:30 AM to dial in an investment discussion. Once, I stayed late in the office in a Friday evening to finish a project report, rewarded by the view of the beautiful lights on the bay bridge. Finally, I want to show SSGA that as a GSMer, I can deliver the best quality of work.

My value has been recognized by the team. Multiple times, I was invited to give presentations to the team, to share my findings and recommendations. A lot more times, at one-on-one meetings, the other part appreciated what I brought to the table, my insights, my creative ideas, my empathy and enthusiasm. Through those conversations and feedback, I am much more mature and confident in a professional setting.

As a result, a manager who worked with me is making an effort to keep me as a contractor after my internship. Some other coworkers told me that “Please let me know if you are back to SSGA. I would like to work with you.” The result of my 360 assessment wasn’t surprising either. But they all sound less exciting than the compliment I received from a senior industrial leader who left SSGA during my internship. She said: “Please let me know if you need any help in the future. I would like to work for you.”

I thought an internship was only the opportunity to hone the business skills you learned from GSM. Now, I have realized, an internship is also an opportunity to visualize how GSM can prepare you to be a global leader.

If you are interested in hearing more stories about my internship, feel free to reach out to me at I will be happy to share my stories and cheer you up for your next mile stones.

Blogpost by Elizabeth Liu – Class of 2016

What A Year of Business School Can Do for You

Jose Macedo

One year down and one to go. With a year left, you would think that there is still an outrageous amount of material to learn before becoming a full-fledged MBA. You’d be right to think that, but here’s the kicker. If you also thought yourself a proficient student of business with vast potential and the ability to succeed in any industry of your choosing, you would be right again.

A year ago today, I was making a living making drugs. Don’t worry, they were FDA approved. I have a degree in biomedical engineering and all of my experience revolved around the sciences. I could purify one of the most expensive medicines in the world, but I had no idea how to assess a market, understand a financial statement, or even write an effective executive-level progress report. So what did I do? I went to business school and started exercising my new business skills right out of the gate.

My first exposure to the world of business was my part-time internship at Mytrus Inc. I had the opportunity to work with the Director, the CEO, and external partners involved in promoting new business opportunities. I had only just started business school, and I was already applying a great deal of what I was learning to real world business problems. As my first year drew to an end, I began searching for my next challenge. Mytrus operated in the clinical trials marketplace which is right up my biotech ally, but the real question was: “knowing what I know now, can I be just as successful in an unfamiliar industry?” The answer is yes!

This summer, I put my business abilities to the test when I joined the Keysight Technologies marketing team. It was Day 1 and I hit the ground running. I was able to learn an entirely new industry, size up our competitors, assess large amounts of data to help inform marketing strategy decisions, and so much more. The Keysight culture was one of the most welcoming cultures I’ve ever encountered, and that made networking within the company a great experience. All I had to do was introduce myself and ask for some one-on-one time. That was all it took for me to pick the brains high level decision makers, including the head of internal audit, R&D portfolio manager, and a plethora of other managers and VPs.

There is no denying that I still have a lot to learn, but a year of business school was all it took to transform me from an engineer into an exceptional business development and marketing intern. I hope this gives you a glimpse into what one year in business school can do for you. Imagine the doors that will open after the full two years.

Blogpost by Jose Macedo – Class of 2016

So You’ve Been Accepted…Now What?:


First and foremost, congratulations are in order. You’ve been granted the opportunity to earn a degree only 2% of the population holds. Perhaps more interesting is the fact that many of you will also be getting your first summer vacation in years.

Taking time off between working and starting business school is a great way to reintegrate yourself to the student mindset. The prospect of having 4 classes with one lecture a week may make b-school seem like an extended vacation. While the daily grind of a 9-5 or an insane 80-hour work week may be on hold for the next two years, don’t let your new schedule fool you. While deceptively bare on the calendar, your days WILL fill up fast. Group meetings for assignments, the internship hunt, networking events, involvement in clubs, and general life will take over. Soon you’ll be wondering where all that free time you thought you would have went. So before you get bogged down in the nitty-gritty of school life, take some time to get a jump-start (or refresher if it’s been awhile) over the summer.

I know I said summer was for that vacation you’ve been putting off for years, and it is. Take trips, catch up with old friends, spend time with your family, and refresh yourself from being burned out by work. These are the most important things you can do to get your mind fresh for the next chapter. However, there are a few side tasks that are easier to get under your belt before you start school. Below is some advice I wish I had before coming back as student2.0.

  1. Get acquainted with excel! Being comfortable working with hundreds of rows of data will save you hours down the road. This includes everything from the basic shortcuts (like highlighting up to the last cell of data without the entire column), to slightly more advanced equation rules (like when to use ($) in formulas).
  2. Get your LinkedIn page up to speed. Before you get to school update your profile to include your candidacy. This will help you find alumni connections, set up informational interviews, and start the internship hunt. Getting your internship locked in as soon as possible will save you untold amounts of stress. Do not wait to start reaching out and creating those relationships.
  3. Refresh your statistics acumen. You don’t need to take a whole summer course, but do make a conscious effort to re-learn what a p-value is from your freshman year of college (or maybe high school for some of you). The basics of statistics will pop up in a variety of classes, from marketing to operations, and you won’t want to spend hours on Google trying to re-learn it just to finish your homework.
  4. Devote time just for thinking. You already wrote your application essay that most likely asked your future goals. And you most likely danced around and threw in a bunch of jargon-of-the-day verbiage to sound like you had it figured out. We all know you don’t. And that’s ok; the good news is you’re in! Now you have some time to actually sit down and figure out what that roadmap is to your dream job. Don’t just identify what company you want to work for and go back to sitting by the pool. Really figure out what types of tasks motivate you, what roles you enjoy being in, what skills you have that cover multiple positions and across industries. This may sound like fluff, but the basis of these conversations with yourself will come up in the job search, networking, and, most importantly, interviews. So sit down and come up with some actual answers…and the great news is you can do this at the pool.

Blog by Karen Mesrobian – Class of 2016

Most wonderful time of the year

UC Davis MBA Ambassador

The halls of the GSM are filled with a nervous excitement as the internship-hunting season is in full swing. With some classmates getting positions early at Intel, Wells Fargo, and other great companies, the bulk of internship interviews and hiring are happening as I write this. So, the question that is on the forefront of the mind of every future intern is, “How do I get the right internship for me?”

Excellent question, young padawan. First and foremost, figure out what sector you are looking to get experience and what role in that sector fits your skills, likes, desires, etc. Not every internship is right for everyone, and the worst thing someone can do is to accept an internship that is totally outside what you know you want to do (Example: Don’t go into Investment Banking if you want to be in tech marketing.) Next, leverage your networks, from everyone to prior coworkers and family friends to GSM Alumni and the Career Development team at the GSM. The key to getting an internship that makes you excited falls into two categories: Getting the Interview and Crushing the Interview. Your resumes, connections, that alignment of the stars, all work to get you in the door. Crushing that interview is on you. Be the best, most polished, likeable, and intelligent version of yourself you can be. Dress for success. Basically, do what the Career Development team tells you to do at an interview. (The GSM has great training and prep opportunities for students.)

Some subtle keys to success fall in that murky area between your ears. Trust yourself; know that you belong with the top-level companies in the best positions. Don’t let others talking about their success intimidate or stress you. As the saying goes around here: Everyone who wants an internship gets one. All good things in their own time. Internships are like playing house. They are for trying out a role that you think you will like, mostly to give yourself some perspective for that looming career decision after graduation. Happy hunting, future interns. You are going to crush it.

Blog by Jim Terheyden – Class of 2016

Christine’s Summer Internship at eBay—Summer Intern Series

UC Davis MBA ---EBAY Intern Experience--PowerUP conference in San Francisco

This summer I had the fortune of landing my dream internship at eBay, where I spent three months working with the social media marketing team. The company offers one of the best internship programs for MBAs, and they invest a lot into giving interns a meaningful experience.

While there were many things I loved about my summer, here are a few personal highlights:

My project and team. From the moment I arrived, my coworkers made me feel integrated into the fabric of the team. For my project, I had the perfect balance of autonomy and support. They trusted my expertise and wanted me to succeed.

The company culture. eBay has a very supportive environment. People were generally open with their time, willing to chat, teach and learn. This is an amazing opportunity when you’re surrounded by so many smart people!


The MBA treatment. There were many events throughout the summer, including a huge overnight welcome party, a three-day conference in San Francisco, learning lunches, and more.  The company also set aside special events for the MBA interns. This was an amazing opportunity to make new friends along the MBA journey and expand my network.

UC Davis MBA--EBAY Experience-Happy hour with fellow MBA interns

UC Davis MBA–EBAY Experience-Happy hour with fellow MBA interns

I feel transformed by my experience this summer at eBay. It was a whirlwind, and I loved every minute.

It’s intern season!—By Dani,2012

It’s a blog posted two years ago. Same story is taking place. Last Friday, most of my class drove to San Ramon for the Career Fair 2014 held by GSM Career Development. P&G, Intuit, NetAPP, Oracle…, bunches of great companies, nice net-work! It’s good to see everyone dressing up and being professional! It’s amazing to see the alumnus representing their companies to recruit, some of them were ambassadors!  Now I am re-posting the blog to give you  a sense of an internship for the MBAs. I will keep posting more about intern/job hunting, and the career fair!

As part of our MBA curriculum here at the GSM, it is required that each student complete an internship during the summer between their first and second year. Of course, even if it weren’t a requirement, we would all still want a summer internship.

An internship offers the opportunity to gain some real-world experience in our desired field. The internship is especially important to those of us who are career-changers. The 10-12 week full-time position is the career-changer’s chance to be certain he is happy with the new direction he has chosen.

In addition, the summer internship is a networking opportunity- and could potentially lead to a job offer upon graduation. It’s this possibility that gives the internship even more importance- it’s every MBA student’s dream to receive an employment offer upon completion of the summer internship!

The GSM Career Development team more than understands the importance of this summer position. From day 1 of orientation, they have helped each of us prepare to wow future employers. Between the interview training, resume perfecting and networking, the Career Development team has done outstanding work.

The evidence of this work and preparation? Many students have accepted intern positions well before crunch-time. The GSM has an excellent intern-placement rate. With the continued help of the Career Development team, you can bet that each student will have accepted a position before the end of the school year. I’ll keep you updated on some of the great companies employing GSM interns.


WiL. I AM by Yoyo Wu

(Left to Right) Onyeka Enwerem, Vice President and Director of Finance; Yoyo Wu, President of WiL; Kanupriya Verma, Director of Marketing

(Left to Right) Onyeka Enwerem, Vice President and Director of Finance; Yoyo Wu, President of WiL; Kanupriya Verma, Director of Marketing

If you are a fan of the Black Eye Peas or, please don’t be disappointed that I am not highlighting your musical idol or think I made a typo. That being said, I am glad to introduce to you the WiL in GSM: the Women in Leadership Club.

WiL club is one of the smallest clubs operated through the Associated Students of Management (ASM), but also one of the clubs with the longest reach. Why? Because our goal is to effect and enhance the experience of every woman and everyone who works or will someday work with a woman. Our mission is to serve UC Davis Daytime MBA students and alumni through professional and social activities geared towards the development of future women business leaders.

WiL club is active in organizing activities to bring in benefits to future women business leaders. For example, we have a tradition of great activities like the annual “Mock-Tails with the Dean” during every fall quarter, providing an opportunity to all students to communicate with Dean Currall face-to-face. We also work to sponsor students to attend the annual Women in Leadership Conference in Haas, UC Berkeley. Lastly, we innovate new activities such as “Speed Mentoring”, inspired by Speed Dating, which connects second-year and first-year students in one-on-one mentoring sessions sharing interview skills and lessons.

This year’s board of WiL club comes from very diverse backgrounds. I, Yoyo, am the WiL President. I am a Chinese student with 5-years of auditing experience and the proud mother with a 15-month little girl. I realize the subtle balance women in business have to maintain as they have more social identities to handle, that was why I decided to lead the WiL club and try to help women leaders find out the balance to ensure success both in career and family life. Onyeka, our Vice President and Director of Finance, is from Nigeria where she worked as an engineer. She is very versatile, just to name some of her many talents: dancing, photo-shopping, and engineering. Kanu, our Director of Marketing, is from India and was also a mechanical engineer before she came to GSM. She plans to pursue marketing, using her instincts and skills to help WiL club with innovation and new ideas.

In our nearest upcoming event, WiL club will introduce some successful business women leaders to GSM students, sharing stories of their successes and failures. Then, WiL club will co-host another guest speaker event with Entrepreneurship and Innovation Society club. Looking forward to those exciting and inspiring events in May!

Interview with a Veteran: Michael Van Derwood, JD/MBA Candidate ’15


Former Marine Corps Captain Michael Van Derwood shares his experiences transitioning from the military to student life at UC Davis. He is currently enrolled in his first year of business school after completing one year of law school.

  • How has your background prepared you for current student life?
    • It’s given me perspective regarding my current situation, understanding what’s critical versus what’s just important. The military helped me grasp how to manage myself in terms of time and efficiency. I think I have more experience than most when it comes to leading teams. Group work is a big part of business school and working in groups is not something I find difficult or frustrating.
  • Can you describe your transition from the military to civilian life?
    • The biggest transition challenge other vets and I have experienced is understanding that the military system we lived in, although efficient, is not directly translatable to the student environment. The established leadership structure we experienced in the military doesn’t necessarily apply to the classroom. You’re among your peers and no longer formally in charge of anything. It makes life easier in some ways because I’m allowed to experiment with different leadership styles. But not being in a true leadership position means I don’t have the same responsibility as I had before. On a lot of levels, I just have to worry about myself. This setting grants a much greater deal of autonomy than the military does.
  • How has UC Davis welcomed its veterans?
    • Both the law school and the GSM are very receptive to veterans. In today’s society, people value vet’s experiences and are more willing to listen to how we can contribute. Both schools are interested in my experience and have been very welcoming; I’m happy with the overall reception. But I also think universities are still in the process of determining how much value veterans add because people don’t necessarily understand the nature and type of experiences that we come from. For example, people know what it means when you say you’re a  district manager in a retail chain. But that same understanding is lost when you say you’re a company commander in the Marines. It can be difficult to translate prior experiences and make people understand what it means. We’re not often looked at as belonging to the diversity pie but I really think we do. I don’t think the diversity definition should stop at socioeconomic status, gender, or race. Prior work experience plays a huge role as well. I think the military adds value because it contributes people with different types of reasoning skills and life experiences.
  • How do you plan to leverage your education for future success?
    • I think there are a lot of parallels between military and management instruction. The military taught me how to do a job and how to lead. Business school teaches a similar type of overall management skill. But vets need to realize that the civilian job market is very different from what we’ve experienced. The MBA is valuable because I’m leveraging my prior experience while filling out a skill set that’s translatable to the civilian world. I think that’s why so many vets decide to pursue business school after the military.
  • Is there anything you miss about your time in the Marines?
    • The intensity of the experience creates a different kind of bond among peers, coworkers and colleagues. It’s a tighter community in some ways by virtue of shared experience. Even though law and business school is strenuous and stressful, that kind of bond I experienced in the military is difficult to duplicate.
  • Any last words why a veteran should consider graduate school at UC Davis?
    • Because there aren’t a lot of veterans at the GSM or law school, we do have an opportunity to stand out. Other schools might have thirty vets per class. Veterans are valued here; faculty and staff want to include us in the community and see us succeed. I think that because there aren’t a lot of veterans at the GSM or law school, we do have an opportunity stand out. I’ve landed interviews at companies based solely on my military background. The GSM career staff is learning quickly how to leverage and take advantage of that.

Michael Van Derwood

Founder & President of Veteran’s Association at UC Davis Law School



Summer Internship Series: My Internship at Apple

Next up, we hear from Deepti, who landed an internship at Apple! Find out how it’s going…

I am about to complete 6 weeks at Apple and my journey so far has been really fantastic. I am part of the Retail Fulfillment and Logistics team, which is responsible for keeping the retail stores all across the globe stocked. So, next time you walk into an Apple Store and you don’t find your favorite Apple products please don’t get mad at me! I know we are so amazing that everyone wants to buy our stuff. Isn’t that true?!

My task this summer, called the Slow Runner project, would allow Apple to access, which of the Third Party Products (3PP) are not selling well and not generating enough revenue. Then, the merchants and planners, who decide the assortment in the store, could decide to hold fewer inventories of those SKUs in the back-of-house of the store.

The day I started working on this project, I was amazed how well the concepts taught in the Supply Chain class and Operations Efficiency class apply to the real world. All the technical terms seemed familiar, and I was actually able to incorporate some of my learnings to my work.  The task is enjoyable and I also get weekends off, unlike school where we had some assignments or exams due every week.

Apple is actually a cool company. Just like its products and the feel of those products, Apple believes in providing a well-rounded experience to all the employees. The most interesting part of the internship, except for the discount on Apple products🙂, is the special events organized for the interns wherein we can talk to the top executive of the company and these are very informal. I attended one such session and met Deirdre O Brien, VP Operations. I was charmed by her enthusiasm and energy. She joined Apple right after her graduation and has been with the company since then. She said that she enjoys coming to work everyday, and I am sure she left a mark on every intern who attended that session.

Well, the thrill continues and I have six more weeks to go!