IAP Dispatch: Stepping into the ‘MIT Guy’ Role

by Amy Marcott on January 17, 2013 · 0 comments

in IAP, Learning, Student Life

This is the first in a series of posts from two MIT students—Taylor Yates MBA ’14 and Shawn Wen ’13—involved in the 2013 Student/Alumni Externship Program, which connects current students with alumni in workplaces worldwide during MIT’s Independent Activities Period. These bloggers will report on what they learn and how the experience informs their career journeys. Alumni, learn how to get involved as a sponsor.

Guest Blogger: Taylor Yates MBA ’14
Extern sponsor: Yue Cathy Chang MBA ’06, SM ’06
Company: FeedZai, Redwood City, CA
Externship title: business development and marketing associate

From left: Externship sponsor Yue Cathy Chang MBA ’06, SM ’06 and extern Taylor Yates MBA ’14.

From left: Externship sponsor Yue Cathy Chang MBA ’06, SM ’06 and extern Taylor Yates MBA ’14.

I’ve taken a deep dive into my externship at FeedZai, a real-time fraud-prevention tech start-up. Real-time fraud prevention is the art and science—okay, mostly science—of catching fraudsters in the seconds it takes to swipe and approve/decline a stolen credit card. FeedZai thinks it can do this better than anyone.

My role as “our MIT guy,” as the CEO referred to me on my second day, is to identify and analyze the trends in payment processing that will impact fraud and whether FeedZai’s strategy is taking advantage of those trends. It’s a big project that Sloan alumna Cathy Chang MBA ’06, SM ’06 brought me on to tackle.

Every day I am digging through reports, white papers, and PowerPoint presentations to learn as much as I can, and I love it. For me, there are few things more gratifying than learning as much as you can about a topic and being challenged to digest it into useful information. Cathy touches base with me every day and expects me to have weighty questions, which helps keep me on task and out of Wikipedia rabbit holes.

I’m finding that it is critical to be humble in the tech industry, especially for MBAs. The leading edge here is so far ahead of the rest of the world that you need to keep reminding yourself: there’s a lot to do and you know nothing, so you better enjoy learning through doing.

About Taylor Yates MBA ’14
I  moved to Cambridge from Virginia, where I worked variously in cyber security and international development. After working on reconstruction projects in Afghanistan, I came to MIT to pursue an MBA with a focus on technology. I survived Course 15’s infamous core semester and even found time to enjoy working on the MIT $100K competition with undergraduate students, the really smart people at MIT.

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