Google has seven products with 1 billion users, and countless more products being ushered from ideation to development and delivery. Their product management teams work on new technologies, platforms, consumer facing products, and/or enterprise systems. Being in charge of product execution entails leadership, teamwork and superior management skills, among others that can be honed in business school. In this edition of Real Humans: Alumni, see how Senyo S. Abotsi, Wharton MBA ’19 and product specialist at Google, rose to the challenge of high expectations, developed a passion for business and now thrives in the tech industry.
Senyo S. Abotsi, Wharton ’19, Product Specialist at Google
Age: 31 years old
Hometown: Stone Mountain, GA
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Georgetown University; Government, English
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year and Concentration: University of Pennsylvania – Wharton, 2019, Strategic Management
Pre-MBA Work Experience: 6 years, Consulting
Post-MBA Work Experience: <1 year, Technology / Internet
Why did you choose to attend business school?
Two things motivated me to attend business school. Firstly, I grew up with my heart set on practicing law. As my university years drew to a close, law school did not feel like the right next step. Instead, I became a management consultant. Having focused on liberal arts, business school became an opportunity (and priority) for further self- and professional development.
Secondly, I was raised by parents with doctoral degrees–a professional degree of my own would guarantee my invitation to Thanksgiving dinners. I am being tongue in cheek, but having parents who have high expectations and are incredibly empowering also motivated my choice to pursue an MBA.
Why Wharton? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
Leadership. Wharton’s McNulty Leadership Program and its focus on “continuous action, reflection, experimentation, and application” aptly captured what I sought from an MBA program. The opportunity to participate in formative fellowships, learn from experienced executive coaches, and grow alongside peers in small-group settings was incredibly appealing.
Culture. Wharton’s student-driven and ownership culture nicely complements its leadership core. The MBA program seemed like a place where I could meaningfully exercise the concepts and behaviors I learned in the classroom. Campus overflowed with opportunities to influence outcomes and serve as an active steward of the program.
Finally, Wharton’s brand in business, influential alumni, and global reach cemented my interest in the program.
What about your MBA experience prepared you for your current career?
Two components of my MBA experience prepared me for my career at Google. Firstly, serving as a leader at Wharton offered me invaluable experience in bringing together diverse ideas and working across groups to influence outcomes. Wharton was special in that as a student, positional authority is nearly absent. As a result, the importance of influence and relationships cannot be overstated. Google is in many ways similar.
Secondly, moving beyond my liberal arts education has helped me unlock a true general manager perspective about the business, with which I can better spot opportunity and risk and ultimately drive greater impact.
What was your internship during business school? How did that inform your post-MBA career choice?
I spent my summer with Google in the Bay Area, helping launch a new product and experimenting with new ways to interact with users when they find themselves in need. During my summer at Google, I discovered that I could tackle important problems with neat solutions through ownership and influence. I learned that my consulting foundation applied in a “big tech” context could be a recipe for a deeply engaging career.
Why did you choose your current company? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to work?
I was eager to experience an established company in “industry” and explore a career beyond professional services. I sought to make the shift from being a trusted advisor to being “under center.” My summer internship brought me closer to being a decision-maker with both autonomy and consequential responsibility. My summer experience revealed that at Google, I can do challenging yet meaningful work, lead alongside incredible colleagues, and have some fun, too. I enjoyed my summer so much that I chose to return full-time.
Advice to current MBA students:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of the job search?
I would set clear goals about what I want (and do not want) out of my internship and post-business school role. I would also tap into my robust network of peers to understand the rich experiences they had at companies prior to business school.
–One thing you would change or do differently?
At top MBA programs, students are spoiled for choice when seeking a career, friend groups, etc. and Wharton is no different. While I found value in intentionality and having a “game plan,” at times it conflicted with spontaneity. If I were to do things differently, I would be more deliberate about pushing the envelope and taking risks.
–Were there any surprises regarding your current employer’s recruiting process?
I was fortunate to have a seamless and positive experience with Google’s recruiting experience thanks to support from Wharton alum, Googlers, and my MLT family.
–What piece of advice do you wish you had been given during your MBA?
While there’s hardly a shortage of advice on offer during the MBA experience, I would have appreciated more long-term career advice to temper the sometimes nearsighted focus MBAs can have early in our careers.
–What’s the best thing about working for your current employer?
While Google is undoubtedly an incredible and resourceful platform to drive impact, I am most grateful for working with a team that empowers me to bring my own distinct point of view, affords me meaningful problems to tackle, and values my contributions to our users.