Mike Anders (MBA 2020) grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC. After attending Northwestern University, he began a career in tech working for a legal services startup in Chicago called Envoy Global. He moved to San Francisco after HBS to join Postmates and now works for Stripe.

What was your experience finding your first post-HBS job?

Entering the job market in the summer of 2020 at the height of the pandemic was quite challenging. Nevertheless, I am very grateful for the resources HBS provided me both inside and outside the classroom to set me up for success in my career.

To me, the most important part of HBS is the people you meet. We generally hear that business school is a great opportunity to network, but networking is really easy when you are also making friends at the same time. I was part of a WhatsApp group after graduation with classmates who had to scratch and claw to find work just as I did. We traded suggestions, job leads, complaints, and plenty of jokes as we worked together to get everyone hired. Everyone in that group (30+ classmates) found work by the end of 2020.

My career coach Martha from the HBS Career and Professional Development team has been an integral part of my post-HBS career. She has guided me through multiple resume reviews, interview practices, company discovery sessions, and tips on how to leverage the HBS alumni network. After a lot of determination and many meetings with Martha, I ended up getting a job with Postmates on their New Verticals team in October of 2020.

How have you used career services since graduating?

One of the benefits of being an alum is that you have access to continued career coaching. About a year after graduating I went back to Martha and let her know that I wanted to pivot into fintech. Fintech was a very interesting field for me as it combined many things I like: technology, e-commerce, global markets, and APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). I eventually narrowed in on Stripe and Plaid as my top two choices. I consulted with Martha and she guided me through this tough decision as to where I should go next. Ultimately, I decided I was most excited about the opportunity at Stripe so that’s where I went!

I now work on the Platform Sales team at Stripe. Stripe is a payments and financial services platform for businesses, and the platforms team at Stripe works with other software platforms to distribute our payments and financial services products through these platforms to their SMB (small and medium-sized business) customers. It is a super interesting and challenging position, as it combines sales, partnerships, and the need to intricately understand our customers’ businesses (since you can’t operate a business without payments!).

How is the HBS curriculum relevant to your current role?

There are numerous links from my HBS experience to my current job. I mentioned the need to understand my customers’ businesses and the first-year Required Curriculum gave me that critically important foundation, as I work with a large variety of platforms in different verticals. EC (second) year, I took Strategy & Technology with Professor Yoffie, which was my first introduction to the power of the platform business model and really opened my eyes to what a career working with platforms would entail. I also learned about E-Commerce with Professor Israeli and about Managing Tech Ventures with Professor Bussgang. I sharpened my Negotiating skills with Professor Wasynczuk and dove into Clayton Christensen’s theories on innovation in Building and Sustaining a Successful Enterprise with Professor Van Bever.

I also took advantage of the opportunity to cross-register for courses at other Harvard schools. I even got to take a class across the river at the Harvard Kennedy School called Tech Public Dilemmas with former Secretary of State Ash Carter. The course explored the interaction of technology and government, which is growing even more relevant as the years pass.

Outside the classroom, I led the Sales & Business Development Club and was a part of the Tech Club as well. Leading the Sales & Business Development Club was a great experience in project management. Between organizing, marketing and booking events, as well as growing our club membership, it often felt like running a small startup.

Any last thoughts on your HBS experience?

HBS is like a painting. Everyone gets the same canvas and paint brushes (Required Curriculum), but what you paint is up to each individual. From meeting incredibly talented and friendly classmates, to traveling all over the world, to furthering my interests in technology in the classroom, I am very grateful for my experiences at HBS. I hope to return to campus soon!