Molly Sun: Bringing Risk Management to the Tech World
At SPS, Molly Sun ('17SPS, Enterprise Risk Management):
• Combined her interests in business and tech
• Learned how to analyze business projects from all perspectives
• Attracted prestigious internship offers
• Launched a career in San Francisco as Technical Program Manager for Autodesk
Where are you from?
I’m from Changchun, Jilin Province, China. It’s a city of about 8 million people, which most Americans would consider quite large, but in China that’s quite small.
What were you focusing on previous to studying in the Enterprise Risk Management program? What made you decide to pursue this program?
I was studying Management Information System and Accounting at Northeastern University. I realized that, in fact, I was more interested in pursuing tech than finance. This was the only finance program I applied to. It’s a very specialized program and there aren’t a lot of others like it. I spoke with Sim [Segal, Academic Director] personally at his office for thirty minutes. It was a really wonderful conversation. Right after that I decided to apply.
What was the experience of studying in the program like?
The majority of students in my program were international. There were students from China, Turkey, Vietnam, Thailand…there were even a few domestic students!
My professor Rajeev Davé was great. He has a lot of experience from Barclays which he was able to share with us. He was really popular and a lot of students loved him.
Was the program useful while applying for internships?
Yes, very much so. Companies were specifically interested in my risk management experience. So I consistently referred back to the program during those conversations. At first, actually, I was having a lot of trouble applying for internships. Then I had a conversation with Rajeev. He told me to “be aggressive” while applying for jobs. That one sentence—I think it has helped me more than anything else I’ve heard in my life.
What companies did you receive offers from?
I received offers from Autodesk, Intuit (the company that created TurboTax), KPMG, Elsevier, WeWork, Samsung, and Fresh Digital Group. I received a lot of offers. I was happy about that! I decided to accept the offer here at Autodesk over the summer. At that time, they were transitioning from drive computing to cloud computing, and my training in the program helped guide me through that process. I travelled for about two months and then returned to San Francisco to start this job. Most students took their degree in the direction of finance, but I was more interested in pursuing tech.
What aspects of the program prepared you well for your career in tech?
The program gave me the ability to understand a business or program from all perspectives—enterprise, strategic, operational, and financial—which is really valuable in a complex economy.
What do you hope to do next?
My plan is to become as helpful to my current company as I can. I plan to stay here for at least five or six years. I love San Francisco, and for international students, it’s very important to find a company that will sponsor your visa. I’m lucky to be part of a company that is so supportive.
In the long term, I’m very interested in using my experience in risk management to segway into product management. We’ll see what happens with that!
Learn more about the M.S. in Negotiation and Risk Management program at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies.