How Stanford MBA students, staff, and alumni are helping their colleagues land summer internships as programs get canceled across the US
Stanford Graduate School of Business' Jamie Schein, assistant dean of the Career Management Center, said that this year, a lot of students will be forced to take on virtual internships due to travel restrictions. With many students struggling to find summer opportunities, alumni and current students are stepping up to help. Martin Aguinis, class of 2022, launched AccessBell.com in March 2020, which offers students the chance to connect with professionals at companies like Microsoft, McKinsey & Company, and Disney. Stephen Cognetta, who graduated this year, is also offering up help through his company Exponent, a tech interview prep platform. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Nothing about the workplace is the same as it was before COVID-19 — including internships and fellowships. On the employer side, it's a scramble to come to grips with the practical and legal issues caused by the pandemic — including figuring out how to transition interns to remote work and the possibility of needing to screen them for coronavirus symptoms. But on the student side, figuring out how to identify and access internships and fellowships — critical stepping stones to a successful career in just about any field — is still a pressing need. At Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB), not only do fewer companies seem to be offering internship programs this year, but some companies are shortening their internship programs or canceling them completely, throwing student schedules and plans off-kilter. Jamie Schein, assistant dean of the GSB's Career Management Center, explained that the GSB still has a job board with over 100 internships currently posted for GSB students.
Large tech and consulting firms tend to be the most popular recruiters of Stanford interns. In 2019, said Schein, most students in the class of 2019 were either the sole hire in their organization or went on to start their own venture. GSB has several programs that help students looking for financial support to pursue summer job opportunities: The Social Management Immersion Fellowship (SMIF) provides stipends to MBA students who secure internships with nonprofits, government agencies, and social-purpose businesses; the Entrepreneurial Summer Program allows students to experience the day-to-day workings of early-stage companies and matches employer contributions; Stanford Seed allows students to gain work experience with a company based in an emerging economy; and the Global Management Immersion Experience program gives students the chance to collaborate for four weeks with an organization outside of the US. GSB doesn't specifically place their students into internships or fellowships, Schein clarified, but does provide support to students as they define their goals and job search strategy. "We offer strategic workshops and advising around their career and life vision, including things like formal assessments of their strengths and interests," Schein said. The Career Management Center then works with students to offer guidance on how they might explore industries, functions, and companies of interest and network with individuals in those areas. Finally, they practice behavioral interviewing and case-based interviewing. "Much of our advising and support is tailored to fit the individual needs of each student," Schein said. Travel restrictions push many students to accept virtual opportunities One of the most important aspects of a traditional internship is giving students a chance to test-drive working for a particular company, become immersed in its culture, and make connections while gaining organization- and industry-specific experience. But internships appear poised to look quite different this year. "The greatest changes in the wake of COVID-19 is that it is looking like all summer internships will be virtual," said Schein. She added that in order to comply with Stanford University's travel restrictions during COVID-19 — which as of March 5 included a restriction of all international travel sponsored by Stanford and a strong recommendation against any personal travel outside of the US — any internship receiving a stipend or other funding from Stanford GSB must be virtual. Recruiter-initiated information sessions, one-on-one coffee chats, and interviewing are also being held virtually. Students lean on their classmates and alumni in the scramble to land internships Christina Troitino, a second-year student at Stanford GSB who's also the co-president of the Hispanic Business Students Association, previously worked at Amazon, Facebook, and General Assembly. She's one of the lucky ones who already had her internship lined up once school was out.
"I am very fortunate in that I have a return offer from my summer employer [YouTube], which is an option some students at the GSB pursue so they do not need to recruit again throughout their second year," Troitino said. She added that those pursuing "just in time" opportunities — or what the GSB refers to as opportunities from companies that have shorter-term hiring timelines and usually start recruiting in the spring — are now suddenly in flux. "This is even more complex and heartbreaking for our classmates coming from [over] 60 countries with unclear visa implications," Troitino said. GSB's "tight-knit community," she said, will play an important role in internship identification and placement in the summer of 2020. "I've never had an email sent to an alum go unresponded, [and often] get a near immediate response," Troitino said. "My hope is that these alums leverage their more developed networks and the companies that they run to swing the ladder down for students entering this vulnerable hiring climate." Along these same lines, Schein said that Jonathon Levin, dean of Stanford GSB, sent out a request to GSB alumni on April 20 to start a conversation about how they could create summer opportunities for current students. Martin Aguinis, class of 2022 and global marketing lead at Google, is one GSB student who's addressing this need. He and his cofounder, Kamil Ali, launched AccessBell.com in March 2020, which offers students the chance to search for professionals by industry, schedule a meeting with them, and connect through video for real-time advice. Professionals on the videoconferencing platform come from a wide range of top-tier companies, including Microsoft, McKinsey & Company, Deloitte, Disney, Tesla, and IBM.
"We have seen 200% daily growth [in users] and are excited to continue building up this tool as it reaches students across the country," said Aguinis. Stephen Cognetta of the Stanford GSB class of 2020, who was previously a product manager at Google and is now the CEO and cofounder of Exponent, a tech interview prep company, is another student whose organization is poised to help students sans internships. "It's been frustrating to see how COVID-19's timing is particularly challenging for GSB students, who typically recruit at startups who hire later in the school year," Cognetta said.
Having had "incredible support" in growing his startup throughout his time as a student at the GSB, Cognetta sees the current need as a chance to give back. "Now, it's time to turn that lens back to MBA schools like Stanford GSB, where our remote interview prep courses and practice platform has been able to continue to support my fellow classmates land careers and prep for tech interviews," he said.SEE ALSO: Harvard Business School students are pivoting their summer plans at the last minute as more than a third of internships are cancelled nationwide. Here's how they're spending the next few months helping businesses in need. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Here's what it's like to travel during the coronavirus outbreak
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95% of Stanford MBA students take a nonrequired course nicknamed 'Touchy Feely.' Here's why alumni say it's been voted the most popular elective for 45 years.
Summary List Placement Often the expression "touchy feely" evokes a negative connotation of being overly affectionate...Summary List Placement Often the expression "touchy feely" evokes a negative connotation of being overly affectionate and too open with your emotions — but not at the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB). At Stanford GSB — ranked the top business school in the world, according to the 2021 Global MBA Ranking by education analyst QS Quacquarelli Symonds — "Touchy Feely" is the informal name for the MBA program's most popular course, "Interpersonal Dynamics." Stanford GSB shared with Business Insider that 95% of Stanford GSB students take this beloved course, even though it's not required. It has been voted the most popular elective for 45 years running, and many students credit it as being the most important class they took in business school. In fact, the course's popularity has increased so much in recent years that it is now offered every quarter (it used to only be offered once a year). Other evidence of the class' growing success? GSB started offering it to people outside of its MBA program as a three-day weekend lab, as well as a week-long executive education version of the class in the summer for non-GSB students. The GSB offered the weekend lab for the first time in New York City in March of last year as a response to receiving so many requests from non-GSB students wanting to participate. Due to the GSB's commitment to an international perspective, they're now expanding this three-day offering to Paris as well. What's the structure of 'Interpersonal Dynamics'? While Stanford GSB was not at liberty to share the syllabus, the school did explain in detail what students can expect from the "Touchy Feely" course, which is designed to be a transformative experience to help students discover their own personal leadership style and develop authentic leadership skills. The focus of the course is on increasing participants' competencies in building more effective relationships, with learning occurring primarily through feedback from other classmates and group members. In terms of the course's structure, students are divided into three 12-person "T-groups" that meet the same evening of the class for three hours. Attendance at the first class is a strict requirement, with failure to attend resulting in the student being automatically dropped from the course. Some sections of the two-day-per-week version of the course also require attendance at the second or third class to remain enrolled. As the course catalog emphasizes, "It is very important to note that when you decide to take this course, you make an explicit contract to be actively involved." The class also has a highly interactive weekend retreat that takes place on the seventh or eighth week of the course, which all students must attend. Stanford GSB's course catalog also warns that "This course is very involving and, at times, can be quite emotional. However, this course is not a substitute for therapy," and cites that the class deals more with "interpersonal issues" than with "intra-personal ones." Who teaches 'Interpersonal Dynamics'? Six different lecturers currently teach the course, including Andrea Corney, lecturer in management at Stanford GSB. "One of the goals of 'Interpersonal Dynamics' is to improve students' awareness of their impact on others," Corney said. "The learning process can be uncomfortable, as it involves exploring feelings, expressing vulnerability, and giving and receiving difficult feedback. For most students these behaviors are way outside their comfort zones. The course gives them the opportunity to experiment with these new behaviors, discover that they can survive the discomfort, and realize that they are more resilient than they knew." Lecturers in Management Leslie Chin, Gary Dexter, Collins Dobbs, and Yifat Sharabi-Levine and Lecturer in Organizational Behavior Richard P. Francisco also currently teach "Interpersonal Dynamics." Brian Lowery, senior associate dean for academic affairs, is the director of the "Interpersonal Dynamics Weekend Lab: Leadership from the Inside Out" in New York and Paris, as well as codirector of the executive education course, "Interpersonal Dynamics for High-Performance Executives." "'Interpersonal Dynamics' offers students an opportunity to experience a high degree of connection and intimacy with their peers, building key skills that have a tremendous impact as they transition into roles that require them to be interpersonally effective and self-aware leaders," Lowery said. "It is a powerful experience in which students welcome honest, transparent feedback from their peers, allowing them to see themselves from the perspective of others. Learning how your actions impact those around you makes an effective leader, which is what 'Interpersonal Dynamics' is designed to accomplish." What makes 'Interpersonal Dynamics' so special? Ian Cinnamon, an alum of Stanford GSB and president and founder of Synapse Technology Corporation, said that the "Interpersonal Dynamics" course helped him become more self-aware. "I'm generally a very happy and positive person, but when situations get tumultuous, [it helps to have an] understanding that having a purely optimistic outlook is not effective in leadership positions," Cinnamon said. "I learned that pairing my natural optimism with my vulnerabilities, fear, and emotions really motivates my peers and helps make me more influential." Cinnamon added that now, whenever he's in any difficult situation, it's become "instinct" to think back to what he learned from the "Touchy Feely" course. "I try to really understand the core motivations and feelings of others whenever there is conflict or tension," he said. "It gives me a competitive edge in business." Jenna Nicholas, also a Stanford GSB alum and CEO of Impact Experience — which is focused on building bridges between impact investors, entrepreneurs, innovators, and marginalized communities — listed multiple takeaways she gained from "Interpersonal Dynamics," including "the importance of being open and vulnerable, and in particular the depth and respect that can come about through opening up." She added that other highlights of the course for her were "the power of creating spaces for honest feedback, and the depth of friendships that can emerge from the open sharing." Nicholas also conveyed that "Touchy Feely" has positively impacted her career path, particularly over the past few years when she has been building out her organization. "'Touchy Feely' has been influential in much of our work at Impact Experience," she said. "Our work is focused on creating spaces for holding difficult conversations in communities that have been historically oppressed, and driving toward commitments and ongoing collaboration." She added that the importance of "being held by a group" runs throughout her organization's work, as well as an active acknowledgement of the importance of questioning assumptions and preconceived notions, both of which were discussed in the class. Another Stanford GSB alum, Patrick Robinson, who is a service design and innovation manager at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), also took "Interpersonal Dynamics" as a GSB elective. He cited several main takeaways from the course, starting with appreciating his emotions' role in his communication with others and helping him make better decisions. Robinson also listed understanding that he learns more if he "leans into emotional discomfort with curiosity," allowing himself to be vulnerable with others to support deeper connection and trust, and being able to better receive what people are communicating by "being attentive to … others." "Across all of these takeaways [from the course], I came to understand how important it is for me to have a deeper vocabulary for engaging with emotional content," Robinson said. "That includes refining how I describe my emotions, as well as identifying the assumptions and attributions I'm making so I can share them with others in a way they are more likely to receive." He added that the same vocabulary explained in the course also gives him a mental model for how he can better understand what others are communicating to him. Like Nicholas, Robinson saw clear application from "Touchy Feely" to his present career. After earning his MBA, Robinson began working at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the philanthropic organization founded by Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg in late 2015. Robinson works on the criminal justice reform team, partnering with and supporting organizations on the frontlines of efforts to seek a safe end to mass incarceration. He explained that his work demands that he "grapple with the presence of inequity, racism, and unfairness." "I came to the Stanford GSB with a military and legal background — both of which are arenas where stoicism and rationality are prized over emotional decision making," Robinson said. "'Touchy Feely' and the courses in leadership that build from its approach … helped me develop the tools I now employ on a daily basis." As a concrete example, Robinson shared that he is often faced with different perspectives that are challenging, if not impossible, to fully reconcile — but the insights he has gained from the most popular Stanford GSB course have helped. "By applying what I've learned in 'Touchy Feely,' I'm better able to lead across these diverse groups even when the outcome isn't exactly what each person was after," he said. "Instead of persuading others to my point of view, I focus on fully hearing theirs. It's getting results, and I credit 'Touchy Feely' and the GSB with reframing my perspective and giving me a safe place to make mistakes as I learned." This article was originally published on Business Insider September 25, 2019.SEE ALSO: Here's exactly what it takes to get accepted into Stanford Graduate School of Business, according to 6 grads and the assistant dean of admissions READ MORE: Required reading: These are the books top professors at the best business schools in the country are having their MBA students read Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Here's what it's like to travel during the coronavirus outbreak
Popular coding platform HackerRank is launching its first-ever virtual college career fair that its CEO says could help companies improve diversity: 'Your pool suddenly got 10x bigger'
Technical hiring platform HackerRank is launching its first online college career fair. CEO Vivek Ravisankar said...Technical hiring platform HackerRank is launching its first online college career fair. CEO Vivek Ravisankar said that virtual career fairs can be better for students and recruiters alike: It opens up the pool of candidates beyond a handful of schools and makes the process more efficient. As the coronavirus crisis leads to surge in permanent remote work, he believes it will help companies diversify their workforces overall: "Your pool suddenly got 10x bigger." Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. As remote hiring becomes the new normal for developers, HackerRank, a technical hiring platform that allows people to practice coding skills online, is holding its first online college career fair in September with companies like Twilio, Bloomberg, Okta, and Comcast. In-person college career fairs have been a necessary stepping stone for computer science college students and technology recruiters alike to fill internships and find fresh talent. But as more colleges decide to move online for the fall semester because of the coronavirus crisis – like Harvard and USC, to name a few – the traditional, in-person college career fair won't be possible in many cases. While some schools, including Stanford University and MIT, have held virtual career fairs for their students, HackerRank sees a broader opportunity to reshape the process, opening it up to a wider talent pool and making it more efficient for both recruiters and students. For example, recruiters can typically only travel to a handful of schools every year. "Companies visit maybe about 10 schools or 15 schools because that's all you can actually do," Vivek Ravisankar, cofounder and CEO of HackerRank told Business Insider. "So you're leaving a big portion of really, really talented people just completely out of the mix." Going virtual will allow companies to open up the pool of candidates beyond select schools. It also helps cut down on wasted time. At a physical event, students often wait in long lines to talk to recruiters from popular companies for a few minutes, missing opportunities to speak with other representatives. Recruiters, meanwhile, can't meet with every student and may miss the chance to talk to someone who would be a particularly good fit. HackerRank's virtual fair standardizes the process. Students can read up on company profiles and job descriptions ahead of time and queue up for specific recruiters simply by clicking "I'm interested." Recruiters can then sort through all of the students who expressed interest, and prioritize those that they think would be the best fit based on information that the students provide. Students can use the HackerRank platform to take coding tests or earn skills certificates showing their competency with the likes of Java and Kubernetes, among 60-something other options. These certificates and quizzes are free and students have to complete at least one to register for the career fair, since recruiters will be able to see this information. The company expects around 10,000 students and over a dozen companies to participate in the fair, which will also include workshops and tech talks. Companies are only eligible to have recruiters participate if they are paying for one of HackerRank's products, including a virtual hiring platform launched in May that lets customers find and filter candidates from all over the country. As the coronavirus crisis convinces more companies to consider allowing employees to work from home forever —including tech giants like Facebook, Shopify, and Twitter — the need for remote hiring and onboarding is more important than ever. Handshake, a company that connects college students with recruiters, has been facilitating small online career fairs through its app, too: 85% of more than 1,000 colleges on Handshake plan to use virtual tools to connect companies with students for internships and jobs during the fall semester, the company said. "For many employers, even long before COVID-19, they had already been moving towards a more virtual workplace," Christine Cruzvergara, the vice president of higher education at Handshake, said. "What COVID-19 did is simply accelerate this trend." HackerRank's Ravisankar said that not only are virtual career fairs and remote work on track to become the new normal even after the coronavirus pandemic subsides, but it will have a positive effect on the industry overall. "Your pool suddenly got 10x bigger," Ravisankar said. HackerRank is dedicating a third day for students at more than 100 historically Black colleges and universities to interview with Duolingo, Comcast, Riot Games, and PayPal. The percentage of Black employees at many tech giants remains in the single digits, but the prospect of working from home long-term may actually help diversify the tech workforce, according to Silicon Valley leaders. Ideally, this trend will help notoriously homogeneous tech companies "build way more diverse teams," Ravisankar said, which will ultimately lead to better experiences for end-users of their products: "You can't just build a great product that's being used by millions of people across the globe sitting in a corner room in the Bay Area."SEE ALSO: How to impress a Google Cloud recruiter, as the unit continues to hire faster than the rest of the company during the coronavirus crisis Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: July 15 is Tax Day — here's what it's like to do your own taxes for the very first time
Here's how Google re-made its famous summer internships so that they could go on while the coronavirus forced everyone to work from home (GOOG, GOOGL)
In March, Google announced it would move its summer internship online in response to the pandemic....In March, Google announced it would move its summer internship online in response to the pandemic. It's since confirmed it's doing the same for its fall program. That's meant a lot of logistical headaches for the company. Kyle Ewing, Google's head of talent, told Business Insider how Google adapted to the new virtual format. From algorithm-based coffee chats to open-source programs, here are some of the ways Google has tried to adapt its internship for 2020. Its fall internship will still go ahead remotely, but with a reduction in numbers. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. In March, when Google responded to the pandemic by moving its workforce remote, it wasn't just employees who had concerns. Thousands of students from around the world had landed spots on Google's coveted summer internship program, and were planning to descend on its Mountain View headquarters – and other offices – in a matter of weeks. There was suddenly a big question mark over whether Google's intern program, which had been running since 1999, would go ahead at all. But in late March, Business Insider first reported that Google's summer internship, which runs from May until August, was moving to an entirely online format. Then it had to figure out how it would actually work. "Even though hindsight is 20-20, it was definitely the right call," said Kyle Ewing, Google's head of talent, who oversees Google's intern onboarding each year. These problems went beyond logistical headaches like shipping thousands of laptops across the world or ensuring mentors were matched with interns on the same time zone. It also meant ensuring everyone got the same exposure to company culture, access to other employees, and the chance to put their stamp on Google products. "Historically one of the more valuable aspects of being an intern is physically being located next to your mentor and your host and your colleagues," said Ewing. "We knew immediately it would be quite difficult, and we couldn't replicate that." Replacing the "micro moments" So Google tried to adapt. For example, it built a new platform for connecting interns with hosts for "coffee chats" so they could connect with Google employees. "We used this algorithm that would help match interns with Googlers they would have otherwise not have interacted with throughout the summer," said Ewing. The program factors in "anything from your professional interests, your technical interests, or your hiking interest interests" to match interns to likeminded Googlers, said Ewing. "You do miss the benefit of standing in the lunch line and talking with someone. You miss those micro moments." It also made its mentor program – where interns are paired with Googlers who aren't their hosts or managers to gain insight into the company – mandatory. "It was historically more of an opt-in type program, which not everyone took advantage of, and this year everyone is matched with a mentor," said Ewing. And in another first for Google, it shifted many of its technical internship roles to open-source projects. Several interns who spoke to Business Insider said they had been moved into these open-source programs, which meant Google didn't have to cancel those programs entirely – and reduced some of the associated risks of granting thousands of people access to the company's corporate programs. "It was a really important part of the dialogue when pivoting to virtual that students will continue to work on the real things that have real impact, and that can help us assess if they're someone who's interested in being at Google," said Ewing. And, naturally, interns still got the signature Google hat. Just this time, it came in the mail. 'We decided we would run a smaller fall internship' But the process hasn't been entirely smooth. Some interns who had been accepted on Google's UX programs told Business Insider their offers were rescinded after the pandemic hit. And in April, international interns who would have been traveling to Mountain View were told that their compensation was being cut by as much as 50% to bring it in line with their local currencies. Ewing wouldn't say how many interns Google has brought aboard this summer, but said it was in the "thousands" with interns from across 43 countries. Last year, the company said it received more than 125,000 applications for the summer program. She also confirmed that, although Google has moved its fall internship online too, it has reduced the number of interns. "We decided we would run a smaller fall internship" said Ewing, who added there would "probably a couple of hundred" fewer interns than usual. "It will be a little smaller because we're just being a bit more cautious," she said. Are you a Google insider with insight to share? You can contact this reporter securely using encrypted messaging app Signal (+1 628-228-1836) or encrypted email (firstname.lastname@example.org).SEE ALSO: Meet the 15 Google execs who report to CEO Sundar Pichai and are leading the internet company's most critical businesses Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Here's what it's like to travel during the coronavirus outbreak