Our ‘A Day in the Life’ series highlights alumni in various fields and positions, offering a glimpse of what life after graduation is like. This post comes to us from M&T alum Alex, currently on the Business Operations team at Dropbox.
Please briefly describe what industry you’re in and what your particular position entails.
I work at Dropbox, which is in the technology/internet space. I’m on the Business Operations team. We work with various teams at Dropbox on key business initiatives such as growth, data science, monetization, and international operations, using a combination of code, data, and business insight.
What time did you get up this morning before work?
8 am; in San Francisco, I usually get up around 9 am.
What time did you start working, and what time were you done for the day?
I started around 9am, and ended sometime between 8 and 9pm.
What were some of the projects you worked on today?
I mainly work on lead generation for Dropbox for Business, particularly in Europe; this means generating demand for our sales team. I have also spent time on sales operations and finance, international strategy, mobile business development, and recruiting.
Who specifically did you interact with today, besides coworkers (clients, interns, researchers, executives, founders, etc.)?
I interacted with leads (prospective Dropbox for Business customers) and a few marketing vendors.
Are you currently traveling or about to travel for work?
I’m not traveling right now. Recently, I moved to Dublin from San Francisco to help grow Dropbox’s presence in Europe.
What was your favorite part of the work day?
It’s probably a tie between the strategy solving sessions where we figure out how we are going to do something the company has never done before, and the conversations I have with colleagues where we talk shop and chat about life in general. People-wise, Dropbox is still a small company, and our closeness as a group is a big reason why I like my job.
What are some of the challenges within your position that you particularly enjoy?
Most of the projects we work on are things we’ve never done before. So this means thinking in first principles and figuring out the “Dropbox” approach to, say, selling a business product in Europe. We’re a very data-driven company – we’re a tech company, duh – and we have a high bar for analysis and execution, so my job ends up being pretty technical, which means I write a lot of scripts and queries.
How did you end up in your current position?
After Penn, I worked at McKinsey & Company in the New Jersey office, focusing on healthcare and consumer packaged goods. A series of conversations – which stemmed from a chat I had with my roommate (and fellow M&T) – led to a conversation with the Head of Business Operations at Dropbox. I joined the team soon after.
How did M&T help prepare you for where you are today?
The work we do in Business Operations at Dropbox requires, among other things, business judgment, analytical problem solving skills, and the technical ability to get things done. M&T gave me the fundamental skills – and yes, I majored in Bioengineering, but I draw significantly from that experience – to be successful in this role.
What advice do you have for those who might be interested in pursuing a similar path?
Get an education where you acquire business fundamentals and strong problem solving skills, which a math, science, and/or engineering degree provides. That, and take advantage of who you know! They might not be able to help you out, but perhaps they can introduce you to someone who can. A series of conversations can go a long way…
Alex is currently on the Business Operations team at Dropbox in their Dublin, Ireland office. He graduated from Penn and M&T in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering from Penn Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School with concentrations in Finance and Entrepreneurship. For fun, Alex loves going to film and music festivals, playing pick-up basketball, and watching stand-up comedy.