Our Students

Cynthia Samanian MBA ‘12

Cynthia Samanian
Home region

Seattle, Washington

Undergraduate education

University of Washington

HBS activities

Entrepreneurship Club, TechMedia Club, Startup Tribe, Business Plan Competition

Internship position

Business Development & Marketing Intern, Path Inc.

Post-HBS position

Business Manager, Path Inc.

Why was earning your MBA at HBS important to you?

There were many reasons why I knew HBS was the right fit for me, both in the classroom and in my career. First, I was thrilled to experience the unique and engaging classroom dynamic offered through the HBS case method. Specifically, I recognized that the case method would challenge me to think critically and communicate effectively in the classroom. These are skills I highly value as part of my HBS experience and look forward to bringing with me in my career. Additionally, my decision to earn my MBA at HBS was influenced by the large and diverse network of alumni. Given my interest in consumer internet startups, I was very excited to connect with the HBS alumni network, which includes highly respected venture capitalists and successful entrepreneurs. In just my two years as a student, I have already fostered valuable relationships with several alumni who have offered mentorship and career advice.

How has your overall HBS experience shaped your goals and career path?

To my surprise, the HBS experience has pushed me to take more risks than I would have ever imagined. While I always knew I had a strong interest in entrepreneurship, there were a variety of attractive career options presented during the recruiting season. Throughout my two years at HBS, participation in student clubs and programs has helped me stay true to my career desires. During my first year, I was an active member of the Startup Tribe, an informal group of students interested in working at startups. This group was incredibly supportive during my internship search, and several of us developed friendships through our similar career interests. The following year, I worked on a business idea along with two classmates and received tremendous support through the Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, including the Minimum Viable Product Fund (MVP) and Business Plan Competition. Overall, these experiences at HBS gave me the confidence to pursue my goal of working at a startup and eventually starting my own company.

How did HBS prepare you for your summer internship and long term career?

My internship search was focused on early stage consumer internet startups based in San Francisco. One of the most helpful HBS programs was the Silicon Valley IXP. During this trip to San Francisco, I had the opportunity to meet with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists in the consumer internet space. I was able to develop a handful of leads for a summer internship, and continued to pursue them when I returned to Boston.

What are you most looking forward to in your career?

I feel incredibly fortunate to be joining Path full-time upon graduating from HBS. In the near future, I look forward to helping define and execute the business strategy for Path, as well as developing my personal leadership style. This will be a great opportunity to put in practice many of my learnings from courses in strategy, marketing, and organizational behavior. Ultimately, my long-term career goal is to start a technology company in the home lifestyle space, an area I am very passionate about in my personal life. In the meantime, I am focused on building my experience in the technology space and continuing to stay connected with my HBS network.