In my first year at Booth, I accidentally fell into entrepreneurship and used a number of platforms to further gain exposure to the industry. This effort included interning at a Chicago-based fund, participating in an NVC team and attending a lot of EVC’s programming and events (shameless plug!). While my experience in Chicago was inspiring and fulfilling in many ways, I felt a strong desire to experience entrepreneurship in the innovation hub of the world - after all, you don’t know what you don’t know. Despite its out-of-control living expenses and unreasonably cool summers, San Francisco continues to attract top talent from all over the country (including 80+ from Booth this summer). These are people in pursuit of the next cutting-edge technologies, unicorn opportunities or people who, like me just wanted to be part of the ecosystem and soak it all in.
Over the the summer, I interned at Credible, a growth-stage fintech company in its BizOps team. BizOps is a relatively new and trendy role within technology firms. A widely supported definition of BizOps, coined by NerdWallet’s COO Dan Yoo, is, “A decision-support mechanism that helps with everything from optimizing day-to-day options to carrying out high-priority initiatives to tackling the most important strategic questions.” The fintech industry is becoming increasingly competitive and players are finding it harder to differentiate themselves - which enhances both the need for and the value of the BizOps function.
My BizOps experience at Credible included extracting, manipulating, and analyzing proprietary data to critically think about and make recommendations on our customer distribution and re-engagement strategies. Additionally, I worked on a go-to-market strategy for our new mortgage vertical that included product strategy and a plan for execution. Given my limited experience, knowing how to play with the data was a very powerful asset in gaining credibility with senior stakeholders, and subsequently, allowed for a seat at the table. The hardest part of the role was actually knowing what data was relevant and where to find it, but the Business Intelligence team was incredibly helpful with that!
While the data component was important, BizOps is an cross-functional team with many stakeholders. As such, I worked closely with product and marketing to obtain buy-in and to align the firm’s priorities. Over the summer I also learned how to organize my deliverables in a more structured way through providing overview, methodology and key findings, and in all honesty, this probably made me a better thinker. Finally, the part that I enjoyed most about my internship (other than the unlimited string cheese) was that while BizOps provided a consulting-esque experience, the team also oversaw the implementation of the strategy, which was very rewarding and provided for a whole other learning experience in itself.
Outside of work, I tried to make the most of my time in San Francisco by attending meetups where I learned about trending industries and gained a deeper understanding of the nuances between various technology functions. One highlight of my summer was getting involved with Brunchworks where I got to hear from partners at KPCB, Lightspeed, Social Capital, but let’s get real for a hot second - the summer in SF would not have been nearly as special without the strong Booth contingent that I was lucky enough to share it with.
Jiali Yu is an EVC co-chair and a strong resource for all things startup & VC related at Booth.