Alina is the Vice President of startup Volyy; she also spends her time working with a small team to build the groundwork for a second startup company. She graduated from the Leavey School of Business MBA program in December 2013, and was a member of the 2013 CAPE cohort, taking home the Internet Services Sector prize for the Tria & Barrett Cohn CAPE Business Plan Pitch Competition.
Why were you seeking an advanced degree?
I decided to seek an advanced business degree while building a small mobile application startup called Volyy. Going into the program, I had a technical engineering background, but I wanted to add a strong business component. The MBA program was a great fit to fulfill that goal and to prepare me for business leadership.
Why did you choose the Leavey School of Business?
The most important reasons for choosing the Leavey School of Business were the excellent faculty and academic program strength. In addition, it is located in the heart of Silicon Valley - the perfect place to study business and entrepreneurship.
How was your coursework affected by Santa Clara's emphasis on ethics? How does that carry over in your business outlook?
It has been inspiring to have my own beliefs strongly supported by the institution where I study. I have been able to see firsthand how a strong ethical foundation can produce an environment that I can truly be proud of. I plan to bring the culture with me as I make the transition into the business world.
How did you get involved with student life outside the classroom?
I have been both a participant and an organizer for business school activities outside the classroom. I enjoyed attending many business networking events, and as president of the Entrepreneurs Connection, I organized a speaker series, planned social events, and ran the Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC).
How do you hope the degree will help you in your career? Have you already seen the benefits?
The main goal is to strengthen my business organization and leadership abilities. I am looking forward to more entrepreneurial and non-profit opportunities, and this degree has put me in a position to be an effective leader. I have already learned so much not only from faculty in the classroom, but also from interacting with alumni and SCU affiliates. Many new doors have been opened through the connections I have made at SCU.
How has your perspective on business changed as a result of furthering your education?
My perspective on the key to creating a successful business has evolved during my time at SCU. Rather than relying on finding the perfect solution for a new company, I now view the key to success as forming the best team and focusing on execution. I also have a deeper understanding of business model formation and the internal and external strategies used for business value creation.
What has been your most memorable experience in the program so far?
Organizing the VCIC was the most memorable experience from the MBA program. I had the opportunity to work with so many incredible people. The students and participants were very impressive, and we all learned so much from the professors, staff, and VCs that volunteered their time to help create such a successful event.
How do you see technology changing business in the future?
One of the biggest effects technology has on the world is dramatically increasing the amount of available information. As that trend continues, the business world will become more connected, while the pace of innovation steadily increases. Successful companies will need to be agile and have a strong ability to evolve quickly.