The Leading Independent
Resource for Top-tier MBA
Home » Blog » Real Humans - Alumni » Real Humans of Uber: Reuben Shorser, Stanford GSB MBA ’22, Product Manager

Real Humans of Uber: Reuben Shorser, Stanford GSB MBA ’22, Product Manager

Image for Real Humans of Uber: Reuben Shorser, Stanford GSB MBA ’22, Product Manager

Reuben Shorser has had quite a “ride” from building a restaurant chain in NYC to product management at Uber in San Francisco–with the Stanford GSB MBA being a vehicle for such a dynamic change. In this edition of Real Humans: Alumni, Shorser explains how the MBA program at Stanford GSB helped him step back, reflect, and accelerate in a new direction. Read below for Shorser’s story of change and growth into a new career.

Reuben Shorser, Stanford GSB MBA ’22, Product Manager at Uber

Age: 32
Hometown: Pound Ridge, NY
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Princeton University, Economics
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year and Concentration (if applicable): Stanford GSB, Class of 2022
Pre-MBA Work Experience (title, company, years, industry): 2015-2019: Co-founder and CEO, Jianbing Company (Food & beverage); 2014-2015: Analyst, Tractus Asia (Consulting)
Post-MBA Work Experience (title, company, years, industry): 2022-Present: Product Manager, Uber (Technology)

Why did you choose to attend business school?
Prior to business school, I spent 4 years building a chain of fast-casual restaurants in NYC. This was a life-changing experience and a crash course in building a business from zero to one. 

However, I wasn’t entirely sure that I wanted to spend the rest of my career building restaurants. I had built up intuition about small business owners and restaurant employees, and I was interested in how I could help these individuals run better businesses with technology. I felt that to get there, I needed to uplevel my skills, add polish to my style, and grow my network, especially in the tech industry. Getting an MBA gave me that opportunity to step back, reflect, and then accelerate quickly in a related, but different, direction.

Why Stanford GSB? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
There’s a cornerstone at GSB that says, “Dedicated to the things that haven’t happened yet and the people who are about to dream them up.” It sounds cheesy, but when I saw this, my immediate reaction was YES, this is where I fit in. Combining this entrepreneurial ethos with a culture that emphasizes self-reflection and making a positive change in the world is a magical combination that resonated deeply with my personal goals.

On top of that, building close, lasting relationships with my peers was important to me. Stanford GSB’s small class size and on-campus residential community for 1st year MBAs were both important factors for me because I knew these would lay the foundation for deep relationships.

What about your Stanford MBA experience prepared you for your current career Uber?
Pivoting from 4 years running a restaurant that I co-founded to being a PM at Uber was a pretty big jump in terms of the substance and style of my work. The GSB was immensely valuable in preparing me for this transition. In particular, Paths to Power (taught by Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer) taught me about navigating large organizations and building influence, which is critical as a PM. Lead Labs and Interpersonal Dynamics (often called ‘Touchy Feely’) exposed blind spots that I had in understanding my leadership style and how I impact others – and that awareness is continuing to inform how I conduct myself today and where I am pushing myself to grow. A lot of product management is about leadership and influence, and I am directly using concepts I learned at GSB in my work every day.

What was your internship during business school? How did that inform your post-MBA career choice?
In Summer 2020, I worked at Endurance Companies, a venture studio based in San Francisco. This was a great experience where I was developing startup ideas and sourcing entrepreneurs-in-residence to found companies. Ultimately, I wanted to explore building technology products myself. 

During that summer, I decided to take a 1-year leave of absence from GSB due to Covid-19. I was optimizing for both returning to in-person classes and giving myself more time to explore career options. Taking that time off was one of the best decisions I’ve made, because during that time I was fortunate to find a role on a Product team at Meta, working in Reality Labs. That job was my entry point into Product Management, and from there, I went on to do an internship at Amazon as a Senior PM in the Private Brands business in Summer 2021. My experience at Meta and Amazon helped me decide that I wanted to pursue a career in Product Management post-MBA.

Why did you choose your current company? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to work?
I had prior experience as an operator in the restaurant space and understood firsthand how important great technology is for small business owners and operators. While I loved my time at Meta and Amazon, building technology for restaurants and small businesses was a mission that personally energized me, so I committed to working in this space. I focused my search on companies like Uber, Doordash, Square, and Toast, as well as smaller companies like Homebase and Workstream. As someone who was making a pivot into PM, I thought that a larger company with a world-class product org would be a great way to learn the craft of PM. Ultimately I was very impressed by the team at Uber and excited about the growth in the Grocery & Retail business. I couldn’t be more glad that I joined!

Advice to current MBA students:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of the job search?
1. Don’t be afraid to do a lot of cold outreach, and cast a wide net. Every PM interview that I landed started with outreach, not by dropping a resume. It took me some time to realize this, but it’s normal and expected.

2. Don’t be afraid to apply for jobs where you don’t meet all of the qualifications. There might be room to adjust the scope of the role to make it a better fit, or there might be another role just opening up that isn’t listed online yet!

–One thing you would change or do differently as part of the job search?
Most tech companies hire just-in-time, which means you’ll be recruiting just a couple months before graduation. This can be stressful, as many peers have lined up jobs in the fall or accepted return offers from the summer. Stay focused on your own goals, and don’t be afraid to wait for the right offer, even if it comes after graduation.

–Were there any surprises regarding your current employer’s recruiting process?
No, it was a fairly typical PM interview process.

–What piece of advice do you wish you had been given during your MBA?
It’s ok to say “no” to a lot of things! Your calendar will become packed immediately, and there will be trade-offs between class work, recruiting, and social activities. There can be a lot of social pressure and groupthink – stay true to your goals and spend your time in the way that works best for you. 

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.