Where in the World did you Spend your Summer–Aland Failde (OH)

HARBUS: So where did you work this summer and what position?

Aland Failde (AF): I worked in Brand Management at Activision… On the Guitar Hero team.

HARBUS: How did you make the decision to work for Activision?

AF: Well, you see. The amount of money I’ve invested in video games over the years is only rivaled by my student loans at HBS… So I figured it was time to go out and get myself some ROI!

HARBUS: Are you guys going to bring back ‘NBA Jam’? That was an awesome game!

AF: No clue…but I’ll make sure to pass on that there’s still a passionate market for it.

HARBUS: What’s the most interesting thing you did or learned this summer?

AF: I was able to play some of my favorite games (Call of Duty, Modern Warfare, Guitar Hero) with the people who actually work on them. That was kind of a blast. Aside from that, I had a very challenging project which had to do with emerging business models and innovation strategies and was then asked to present my findings/recommendations to a room full of senior level people. It was a very cool experience!

HARBUS: What was the most challenging?

AF: I sat in a tiny room with a naked guy for five hours… And he was…how do I put this? Rather larger than life and hairy. Granted, it was for a viral marketing shoot… But you try sweating it out for five hours with a huge naked guy and tell me it’s not challenging.

HARBUS: What were your hours like?

AF: Despite the California stereotypes, I did in fact work more than five hours per week. And no, I did not wear board shorts and flip flops to work.

HARBUS: Are you going to go back (Don’t worry, this is just between us)?

AF: Absolutely, I knew coming to HBS that I wanted to pursue a position in the gaming industry and what better place to work than the one who makes most of my favorite games. Plus I really enjoyed the people I worked with; they’re really best-in-class and a ton of fun. By the way, I’m actually quite surprised that more HBS MBAs don’t enter the gaming industry, considering it’s one of the few industries left that’s boasting ridiculous growth numbers.

HARBUS: Did any RC classes, cases or people help you out during the internship?

AF: I would never have nailed the initial brand management interview without my P’s and C’s. Shout out to Prof. Gupta.

HARBUS: Which is worse working or reading cases? Why?

AF: If you would’ve asked me this right after I read the chicken lenses case last year, I think my answer would’ve been skewed towards cases… But right now, I don’t think either one of those is bad. Cases aren’t bad if you keep in mind we’re here because we want to be here. And working is great if you do something you love and/or are passionate about.

HARBUS: Any advice to RCs recruiting this year?

AF: Start networking and talking to ECs early in the year that have relevant experience. Also, don’t be afraid to follow what you’re passionate about. If anyone reading this has any interest in gaming or entertainment, please don’t hesitate to contact me:

HARBUS: Before you go, do you have any ideas for an original video game?

AF: Totally… It would be a game about HBS, where you’re the hero and you’re being chased by the Cold Call monster.

September 21, 2009
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