Throughout the year, the MS/MBA: Engineering Sciences cohort frequently bounces between business, engineering, and entrepreneurship endeavors. Our efforts culminate in the annual MS/MBA Technology Showcase, which brings together the community around the MS/MBA: Engineering Sciences program and the Undergraduate Technology Innovation Fellows program. This year, we (virtually) enjoyed sessions that ranged from the Dean’s welcome to breakout sessions with the various incredible startups that students are pursuing. The showcase serves as both a reminder of our ambition and a celebration of our progress. It was an honor to present to the group my own startup focused on a problem I’ve been passionate about solving since before HBS.
My undergraduate experience at UCLA was built around the premise that I would become a doctor. At some point along my journey, I decided that while I was fascinated by molecular biology, that career path was no longer the best fit for me. Curiosity led me to take a programming class, which catapulted my career into technology. With no formal computer science degree, I broke into tech from a molecular biology background through a combination of my thrown-together coding skills, my network, and sheer luck. I landed my first job as a software engineering consultant at Red Hat, and launched into a new world of software engineering. Two years later, I combined my interest in biology with my love of coding when I joined Invitae as a full-stack software engineer.
As a software engineer, I prioritized spending time on mentoring friends or peers in my network on how to break into tech. I even brought my learnings to the stage of major tech conferences like Grace Hopper Celebration and Women of Silicon Valley. But as I sat on countless hiring panels for candidates and watched our team struggle to scale quickly, I couldn’t help but feel like the picture did not add up. Why were people with the right skillset having such a hard time getting into engineering jobs, when companies across the board can’t find software engineers fast enough? This led myself and a friend to start studying the tech career pipeline and the bottlenecks that restrict the growth of talent. From there, we created Pathlight.
Pathlight is a hiring platform where engineers build their careers in public. We’re focused on broadening the talent pool in tech by guiding talent across various backgrounds into their first tech roles and changing the standards of hiring talent from having credentials to proving capabilities. Given U.S. job growth for software engineering is 5x more than average job growth, we know this is a critical problem to solve now.
At the MS/MBA Technology Showcase, I shared our story and our mission with my classmates, our advisors, and the broader MS/MBA community. Late hours spent doing customer interviews, applications submitted between MBA classes, and our multiple pivots all felt entirely worth it when I saw that my idea had resonated with this crowd. As we settle into our experiments and MVP (minimal viable product) building this summer, we’re excited to see our ambitious hopes for the future come to life. My EC (second) year at HBS will be spent focusing largely on growth, scale, and financing so I can focus on this full-time after graduation. I’m already looking forward to sharing our growth at next year’s Showcase alongside the many other exciting startups our cohort is pursuing.