Mike Shebat

At the time of this interview, Mike worked as Senior Global Manager, Rewards Product at Uber.

Why econ? I chose econ because I was fascinated by books written by Malcolm Gladwell. At the time, I was just starting to pay attention to the stock market and wanted to better understand how global events influenced the markets.

What were your favorite econ courses at UVA?

Ed Burton’s Theory of Financial Markets. As an economics student, Ed Burton’s class gave me the financial skills and context needed to prepare for my time working in investment banking at Goldman Sachs, asset management at Blackstone, and research at the US Treasury Department. Although not an economics course, Strategies of Entrepreneurship–taught in the Engineering school–was another great course. This class involved developing an MVP of product and presenting our work to a panel of VC’s, which was awesome!

How did you find your way to Uber? What do you do as an Innovation Manager?

As a fresh college graduate, I made the unorthodox decision to abandon my trajectory in finance and do something about as different from banking as you can get: I went to the West Coast to supervise 36 people on an industrial supply factory floor for McMaster-Carr. I wanted to learn how to inspire and lead a top-performing team from different backgrounds and develop a business strategy. After a couple years in the role, I then applied for the job at Uber and have been with Uber for 3 years now. With Uber, I have worked in over 15 countries. My job involves a lot of traveling to scale the company to match our growth. In a couple weeks, I’m off to Singapore and the Philippines (Asian HQ of Uber and Support Center). One of the coolest projects I’ve worked on was living in Brazil for 6 months to launch Uber Eats in the region. My job involves a lot of data analysis and business strategy.

Tips and Recommendations for current students?

  • Learn SQL, Python, R, and how to analyze financial statements.
  • Take risks and think outside of the box. It’s okay to abandon the traditional trajectory of investment banking and consulting and do something different, as long as its teaching you the skills necessary to reach your dreams.
  • Get comfortable making mistakes - you learn a lot from them!
  • The world is a lot bigger than the UVA bubble. Get out there, meet people that are different from you, and broaden your perspective!