Alumni in Tech: How Darden Prepared This Grad for Google
Just one year after her internship as Google business sales and marketing MBA intern, Jacqui Snell (MBA ’19) found herself returning to the company’s global headquarters in Sunnyvale, CA. This time, she was beginning her new post-Darden role as Google’s launch and localization program manager.
Jacqui, along with six fellow Googlers and Darden alumni (pictured below) welcomed 40 First Year students to Google’s Silicon Valley campus during the annual Tech Trek, led by Darden career coach and West Coast resident Jenny Zenner (MBA ’03).
Jacqui’s new role represents a significant career switch from her pre-Darden experience in international relations and global education in the Middle East. Jacqui shared her thoughts regarding how she prepared to make her career transition, and how she believes the Darden experience benefited her overall career trajectory.
How did Darden prepare you for your career switch?
Darden helped me become a more well-rounded business woman, exposed me to new ideas and ways of thought, and enhanced my analytical and critical thinking skills. The rigorous general management core curriculum enabled me to gain a broad business foundation and become comfortable engaging with a variety of industries and fields. Additionally, the case method helped me analyze quickly, learn how to ask the right questions and develop my voice and leadership style. All of these experiences helped me gain confidence as a career switcher, and enabled me to explore a variety of industries while recruiting.
I use these skill-sets in my new role in the technology sector, where thinking fast and critically and being adaptable are critical. I have no doubt that the growth Darden cultivated enabled me to successfully switch careers and have an impact in my new role.
What did you enjoy most about your time at Darden?
What I treasure most about my Darden experience is the relationship building and the intellectual challenge. The friendships I developed with classmates, faculty and staff expanded my worldview, and exposed me to new ideas and ways of thought. I’ve developed lifelong friends and mentors through my time at Darden and I value the growth-filled interactions I had with them during my time on-Grounds.
I also loved the variety of classes offered at Darden. The strong general management program pushed me to explore fields out of my professional expertise and grow. Additionally, I was able to pursue a concentration in Global Business, and enjoyed taking a diverse set of classes in Strategy, Economics, Leadership, all connected with a larger global view. Every day, I felt challenged intellectually and could see my own growth, which was extremely rewarding.
How did you work with the Career Development Center (CDC) to move forward in your career?
The CDC was a pivotal resource during my career exploration at Darden. I worked closely with them to review and update my resume, fine-tune my stories, and find companies whose mission and vision I connected with. As a career switcher, I entered business school seeking to explore and discover other industries where I could succeed. The CDC provided guidance through this process, and was a sounding board as I navigated the recruitment process and new career possibilities.
The support of the CDC was pivotal in helping me navigate the career switching process, gain confidence, and refine my approach to be the strongest applicant possible. Their mentorship was essential to my success in finding an internship and full-time job that were in a new field; it was also personally and professionally rewarding.
Any other thoughts you’d like to share?
Business school is an exciting exploration, especially for career switchers. Darden does an incredible job of pushing students out of their comfort zone so they can grow, while supporting them with a variety of resources. The Darden experience is academically challenging, but fosters profound personal and professional growth.
My time spent in Charlottesville was some of the most challenging and rewarding of my life and will impact how I view the world and my career for the rest of my life.