Accelerating Success: Gaining Invaluable Connections and Insights through Speed Networking

Building professional relationships with execs, top MSBA alumni

At the Speed Networking event in San Francisco, UC Davis MBA and MSBA students gained valuable insights into career roles and discovered which industries are actively seeking talent.

Speed networking is hands down the most efficient way to grow your professional network and meet new people with confidence. The process of networking can be daunting, especially when it comes to connecting with the right people who can help us achieve our career goals.

As business students at UC Davis, we are fortunate that the Graduate School of Management hosts an annual Speed Networking Event. It’s an excellent opportunity for students to connect with alumni and industry partners. The event’s alumni panel showcased MSBA graduates from Apple, Meta, Cisco, eBay and other Fortune 500 companies, who offer valuable industry insights.

Held October 23 at the Marine's Memorial Club & Hotel in downtown San Francisco, the event kicked off with UC Davis GSM Associate Director of Career Development Alexander Reyes who provided detailed guidance on how to effectively introduce yourself and navigate networking events.

Z by HP Career Advice: AI and Networking

Next was a panel discussion featuring representatives from Z by HP: Business Development Manager Brad Franko and Business Analyst Katherine Fernandes.

The duo provided an overview of the company's vision and mission, highlighting their focus on developing and implementing innovative AI solutions for complex problems related to large datasets. They also emphasized the importance of networking, sharing their experiences of how it played a crucial role in their job search.

Fernandes advised students to seek out mentors and take on challenges that scare them. She emphasized that stepping outside of your comfort zone is essential to grow personally and professionally.

Robust MSBA Alumni Network

After a gracious welcome from Senior Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Amy Russell, more than a dozen alumni shared their personal and professional journeys, providing us with valuable insights into their respective fields.

We then had the opportunity to engage in intimate conversations with these experienced individuals, allowing us to ask candid questions and learn about their career paths.

For example, Shaolong “Fred” Xue MSBA 23, a Senior Data Analyst at Acumen LLC, shared how networking paid off in his career journey. He was able to secure a job in the current market due to his networking skills. This experience helped me understand the power of connections and the importance of expanding our networks, including our alumni and industry experts.

We were honored to have a panel of distinguished alumni representing various industries and career paths.

A group shot of Amy Russell, Shachi Govil, and Manickashree Thayumana Sundaram
Manickashree Thayumana Sundaram MSBA 24 (right), Senior Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Amy Russell (left), and MSBA Associate Director Shachi Govil (center) attend the GSM Speed Networking event.

Stay Ahead of the Curve

To succeed in today's job market, it's crucial to upskill oneself in SQL and Python. These technologies are the most tested skills in interviews, and alumni suggested focusing on them to stand out in a crowded field of applicants.

Furthermore, having an Amazon Work Services (AWS) Machine Learning certification is tremendously beneficial, as it demonstrates expertise in machine learning and cloud computing.

Rajprakash Bale MSBA 22 said having the AWS certification helped him secure a job as a data scientist at Boston Consulting Group, which highlights the importance of staying up-to-date with the latest technologies and certifications

Glimpses into the Professional World

Attending the networking event proved to be an eye-opener as I got insights into how my professional life would be after graduation. Alum Arvind Jeyekuar MSBA 22, now head of business intelligence at Fellow, enlightened us about his work life and shared valuable tips on how to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

He emphasized the importance of being responsible at work and how one's supervisors trust them for the work that they do. To advance in your career, one must bring something new to the table, such as automating routine daily tasks.

Networking, up-skilling, and staying informed are essential for success in today's competitive job market. Networking can open doors to new opportunities while upskilling in-demand technologies like SQL, Python, and machine learning can make you a more attractive candidate to employers.

Staying informed about industry trends and advancements will help you stay ahead of the curve and make valuable contributions to your field. By following these tips, one can increase their chances of success in their career journey.

The event was an excellent opportunity for MBA and MSBA students to gain insights and learn from the experiences of successful industry professionals in an interactive and engaging setting.

The alumni panel featured:

  • Sonic Prabhudesai, MSBA 18, Client Partner, E-commerce, Meta
  • Mei Yang, MSBA 18, Data Scientist, Meta Reality Labs
  • Alayna Myrick, MSBA 20, Senior Data Scientist, Verana Health
  • Ana Parra Vera, MSBA 2020, Data Analyst, Cisco
  • Prakriti Rastogi, MSBA 2020, Data Science Analyst, Payments Analytics, eBay
  • Rajprakash Bale, MSBA 2022, Data Scientist, Boston Consulting Group
  • Naga “Yashas” Bhaskara Venkata, MSBA 2022, Data Analyst, Apple
  • Vinit Hasija, MSBA 2022, Data Product Manager, Frameplay
  • Zelin “Justin" Jiang, MSBA 2022, Operations Research Data Scientist, Mariott
  • Nidhi Loath, MSBA 2022, Associate - Analytics Practice, Kearney
  • Hanming “Ethan” Meng, MSBA 2022, Data Scientist, Ads Solution, Meta
  • Keshore Suryanarayanan, MSBA 2022, Senior Data Analyst-Product, Adyen
  • Melissa Talgo, MSBA 2022, Business Analyst, BeBright
  • Yuntong “Lily” Xiao, MSBA 2022, Data Scientist, Pinterest
  • Neon Zhang, MSBA 2022, Data Scientist, Fandom
  • Arvind Jeyakumar, MSBA 2022, Head of Business Intelligence, Fellow
  • Shaolong “Fred” Xue, MSBA 2023, Senior Data Analyst, Acumen, LLC
  • Norbert Binkiewicz, Senior Data Science Manager, Meta