Spotlight Intern Edition: Hiyabel Tewoldemedhin

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Meet fabulous MBA Business Development intern, Hiyabel Tewoldemedhin.

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Q: Where are you from?

A: From is a complicated question. My family is from Eritrea, and I was born in the U.S. but I moved to Kenya when I was 4 and grew up there. Then I came to the States for college. 

Q: What do you study?

A:  For undergrad, I studied Economics/IR at Stanford and now I’m a second year MBA student at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Q: Did you always know you wanted to do Economics/International Relations?

A: When I was young my mom told me, «You should be an economist,» so I went around telling people I wanted to be an economist, even though I didn’t even know what that was. I’m glad I stuck with it.

Q: What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on besides RapidSOS?

A: Helping run Nairobi Restaurant Week, and launching a monthly food & drink magazine in Kenya called Yummy Magazine. It was very interesting to see how Nairobi and the Kenyan economy had changed from when I was growing up, and to see how people are exploring new cuisines and spending their leisure time and money. 

Q: What interested you about RapidSOS?

A: A lot of innovative companies in the bay area focus on providing incremental convenience, but their missions were not as «meaningful» as RapidSOS’, as tricky as that term is. That’s what was initially intriguing about it. Then I also learned that Reinhard, who sent out the job description, had turned down his BCG sponsorship for grad school to join the company, so I knew that RapidSOS must be an amazing place to work. Plus it didn’t hurt that it’s located in New York City.

Q: In your bio it says you like to watch celebrity interviews, do you have a favorite?

A: So it’s not actually any specific celebrity that I’m into, it’s the experience of seeing a famous personality answering real questions in real time; if anything, good interviewers are the ones I follow / love. I could watch Graham Norton for hours. I don’t know what it is, maybe the fact that the set is bright red, or because he’s Irish and hilarious, but he also does really specific research on everyone he interviews and weaves it into conversation pretty well. It’s always interesting to see actors and actresses from movies become real people. 

Q: Finally, what’s been your favorite thing in the city this summer?

A: I love being outside in the summer, and live performances – so watching The Color Purple on Broadway, going to this free 60s-00s dance party in Central Park, and everything I’ve done on a rooftop. I also love how easy it is to meet people, and love the number of things you can do at any time of the day/night.