Student Perspectives

Student Perspective

Cynthia Song

Cynthia Song

MBA 17

Product Specialist
Airbnb

Working on a tech product with positive influence

I wanted to work on tech products that influence people’s lives in a positive and scalable way. I am personally committed to the mission of connecting people and making the world a bit smaller than it seems - geographically, culturally and emotionally.

I fundamentally believe in the kindness of humankind and that we are more similar than we are different. This is the reason I am working on Product at Airbnb – a platform that has made sleeping in a stranger’s home possible.

There are a million important problems to solve in the world, but which one really speaks to your heart? Working for a travel company whose mission is to make anyone belong anywhere–is an ideal fit for me.

Choosing an MBA in the Bay Area

Before my MBA, I was working in consulting and rather clueless about how to make a shift into the tech industry. Working in London back then, where a lot of companies focused on traditional sectors such as Finance, I felt I was missing out on the latest innovations happening in Silicon Valley.

I think Haas has one of the most extensive networks in tech among all business schools. Being in the Bay Area made it easy to reach out to folks and get to know their roles/companies over a coffee.

The location of the business school matters a lot. In the Bay area, I managed to do lots of face-to-face networking through company treks organized by Haas, as well as attend world-class conferences such as Techcrunch Disrupt SF and Startup Grind.

Learning the power of soft skills with an MBA

I have grown to be a lot more assured of my own self-worth, and this cultivates a virtuous circle for wanting to achieve more – all coming from within rather than some external pressure or benchmark.

Haas's four Defining Leadership Principles, especially Beyond Yourself, taught me about leadership. On multiple occasions, I saw how putting yourself last and watching out for others is actually leading.

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