The Corporate Career Sell

You would almost think that the Yahoo executives were telling an audience of MBA students recently that startups do not have to be their top career paths. It was a telling indication of just how popular entrepreneurship is with today’s business students at Wharton and across other campuses.

Jacqueline D. Reses, W’92, chief development officer at Yahoo, started it this way, “We’re like the world’s largest startup at the moment,” she said in explaining why the 12,300 employee tech firm is the hottest company in Silicon Valley.

Prof. Peter Fader interviews Yahoo's Jackie Reses, W'92, and Ned Brody, W’86, WG’90, during BizTech@Wharton 2013.

Prof. Peter Fader interviews Yahoo’s Jackie Reses, W’92, and Ned Brody, W’86, WG’90, during BizTech@Wharton 2013.

By calling Yahoo “startup-like”, she was referring to its “frenetic” energy ever since Marissa Mayer took over as CEO in July 2012. The company is on a path to growth again. Since Reses was hired in September 2013, they have purchased at least 30 companies, the biggest being Tumblr with its 213 employees and 154 million blogs. Most of these firms were purchased in verticals in which Yahoo wanted to build products and simply bring on board the engineers they needed to do so. Now, Reses continued, Yahoo looks forward and asks what the world will look like in five years and what products and offerings it will need to be successful then.

Her colleague joining her during a panel discussion at Wharton’s annual student-run BizTech Conference on Nov. 22, Yahoo’s Head of the Americas Ned Brody, W’86, WG’90, said that it’s this sort of forward-looking vision, and resources and talent like that found at Yahoo, that are needed by students if they want to change the world.

“Everyone wants to do something, and they all feel empowered,” Brody said of Yahoo’s employees.

After talking up Yahoo’s current success and excitement to the BizTech audience, Reses followed by announcing its new leadership hiring program. Yahoo will be taking a small group of MBA graduates from around the world and rotating them through the company.

It could be a Wharton MBA’s dream assignment. Yet it might take a Wharton degree, and more, to get in. Reses declared that overall, Yahoo is receiving 12,000 resumes a week.

Editor’s note: Watch our video highlights of BizTech@Wharton 2013, including Reses; Brody; Box’s Chris Yeh, WG’95 (pictured); and YouTube’s Shiva Rajaraman, WG’06, below.

Chris Yeh, WG’95, a Yahoo veteran who is now senior vice president, product and platform, at cloud service provider Box, did not give an outright pitch to the MBAs in the audience during his afternoon BizTech keynote speech. Yet Yeh did mention that Box is recruiting at Wharton for MBAs because the company’s “problems have become a really big deal from an analytical viewpoint.” For instance, Yeh said, Box employs an MBA at the moment to craft its Form S-1, the Securities and Exchange Commission filing to register securities, in preparation for the Box IPO.

It’s an exciting time at Box, but the company obviously needs a little MBA rigor to ensure that all systems are a go and compliant prior to going public.

Are big-name companies like Yahoo and Box exciting enough, though, to convince MBA students to put their startup dreams on hold for a startup-like corporate experience?

Editor’s note: Do not miss our Q&A with Jackie Reses, W’92, from the Fall 2013 Wharton Magazine edition. 

 

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