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Real Humans of Google: Jermyn Davis, UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA ’20, Strategic Initiatives Manager

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Culture is vital to making connections and finding success: how do we fit in? Does our team share aspirations and energy? Does our organization foster an environment for innovation? In this edition of Real Humans: Alumni, Jermyn Davis tells us how the culture at UNC Kenan-Flagler prepared him for the tech world and Google.

Jermyn Davis, UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA ’20 Strategic Initiatives Manager at Google

Age: 35
HometownDenver, Colorado
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Wake Forest University, Chinese and Political Science
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year and Concentration (if applicable): UNC Kenan-Flagler (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), 2020, General
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 8 years – 5 years in higher education (administrator at Wake Forest University and Colorado College); 3 years in consulting ( Senior Consultant @ Deloitte Consulting) 
Post-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): ~3 years (Tech

Why did you choose to attend business school?
I didn’t think I had all the skills to “meaningfully” progress in my career. I say meaningfully because I was advancing in my career, but there were skills I thought I lacked particularly hard quantitative skills

Why UNC Kenan-Flagler? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
There were several factors that played into my decision. (1) Size – I learn better in small environments, but I didn’t want too small. (2) National reputation – I wanted a school that was recognized for academic excellence and rigor. (3) Culture – Where could I see myself! UNC Kenan-Flagler matched all of those areas. I was also extremely fortunate to receive a Consortium Fellowship (Full-scholarship to attend UNC).

Note: Jermyn was also a Vetter Dean’s Fellow:

What about your MBA experience prepared you for your current career?
Much of the MBA, from my perspective, is about collaboration. I think I learned how to collaborate even in the toughest situations. That has come in handy in my current career. 

What was your internship during business school? How did that inform your post-MBA career choice?
I interned at Google, the same place I currently work. I don’t know why I took the offer, because I genuinely thought people who worked in tech were one-dimensional. However, after the internship, I realized how people at tech, specifically at Google, were using creative and innovative approaches to solve extremely difficult problems. It made me want to stay in tech. 

Why did you choose your current company? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to work?
(1) Culture – Similar to business school, I wanted to know that I would fit in. Additionally, I wanted a culture that prized your contributions to company success as well as societal success. (2) History and Reputation – I wanted a place that was known for solving problems. (3) People – This is a part of culture, but it was critical that I liked the people I worked with. 

How has COVID impacted your industry/career plans?
COVID impacted my industry in so many ways. People relied on tech, and our technology specifically, to get through the pandemic. For example, my organization at Google rapidly established mechanisms to enable governments to support their citizens in a myriad of ways. If anything, and this is bittersweet, because so many people experienced so much pain and suffering during COVID, but COVID helped me advance in my career. 

Advice to current MBA students:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of the job search?
Talk to people at the companies I was interested in and go beyond surface-level questions. 

–One thing you would change or do differently?
Explore a little more.

–Were there any surprises regarding your current employer’s recruiting process?
Actually, not really. 

–What piece of advice do you wish you had been given during your MBA?
Balance and take advantage of both the curricular and extracurricular opportunities. 

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.