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Q&A: Lisa Liu ('19)

Intern at Facebook
Lisa Liu interned at Facebook on the company’s strategic planning and analytics team in the data center. She specializes in data analytics, process improvement and optimization, product management, strategy and business development. She will rejoin her team at Facebook full time following graduation.

Q: What were your responsibilities at Facebook?

My responsibilities mainly revolved around my summer project to create a model and strategy for building our future data centers to save costs, capacity and power. I managed communication and gathered constraints and information from over 10 different teams to create a Python script to provide an output of the best configuration that minimizes costs. Then I conducted an analysis of changing the construction of this new type of cost-saving data center and determined it could save more than $2 billion over the next five years.

Q: Was your internship similar to work you did before you started Anderson’s MBA program or did it represent a shift in sector, responsibility or both?

It was very different. Before Anderson, I was at Accenture and then health care nonprofit Cystic Fibrosis Foundation doing IT implementation and program management. At CFF, I did strategic planning for therapeutic development that also required managing communication across multiple stakeholders, which slightly translated to the infrastructure field at Facebook. Overall, I shifted industries — from consulting to nonprofit to tech — and switched responsibilities: analyst to program manager to capacity planner.

Q: Were you able to use something you learned during your first year at Anderson?

One of the main skills I learned at Anderson was how to network and reach out for “coffee chats,” which I sought out a lot during my internship at Facebook. The Parker Career Center really helped me get comfortable in reaching out and networking, and I was able to do over 20 coffee chats this summer! I built solid relationships at the company. Skills-wise, the Finance course was vital in helping me develop my cost-savings analysis and the Tech Management course gave me a broad understanding of the history of the tech industry, which was useful in my discussions with coworkers.

Q: What did you learn during your internship that will inform your second year at Anderson?

Seeing a long-range plan and big picture at Facebook now drives my interest to learn more about strategy and how data analytics are applied to drive business decisions. It’d be interesting to pursue classes that involve dealing with growth and scale, given that many companies are struggling with those issues.

Q: Based on your experience, what advice would you give first-year students applying for internships now?

Practice, practice, practice! I applied across three different industries (tech, nonprofit, entertainment) and ended up receiving over 20 interviews, all of which helped me prepare and fine-tune my stories and become more comfortable in the interview setting. I don’t necessarily recommend applying so broadly since it made things very hectic, but it definitely helped to get formal practice. I also practiced a lot with friends and second-years to gain specific understanding of a company. By the time I reached my Facebook interview, I was already very comfortable with my stories and was able to speak to them naturally. Also, I realized interviews go both ways, so don’t forget to interview them to learn more about the team, culture and what to expect. This also shows you’re actually interested!