Meet Wilford, a Strategy + Operations Sprint alum at The Commons who leveraged the community to land his current role at DoorDash.
To summarize Wilford's career path in 1 line: UBC Accounting → EY Assurance → Ivey MBA → Finance & Strategy @ DoorDash (Manage US Restaurants business segment)
Read on to learn more about why Wilford decided to join The Commons, his experience in the Strategy & Operations Sprint, and how he landed his current role at DoorDash!
Where are you located?
📍 Vancouver, Canada
Describe yourself with 3 emojis & give us a little context on why you chose them!
🧘- control what you can control; That’s the mindset I like to take whether it’s with my professional career or personal growth. By having this mindset, I don’t worry about things that are out of my control and therefore try my best in interviews, exams, etc and live with the result.
🤗 - I’m an optimist. I like to look at things with the perspective that whatever the situation is, it will always work out. I’ve had so many pivots in my career and even though it’s not the conventional path, I’m right where I need to be.
🏌️♂️- Sports is such an important part of my life. I wouldn’t be where I am and who I am without playing sports. It’s taught me how to work with teams and also helped me build mental strength. I firmly believe everyone should take up some type of sport because there are so many benefits from it.
How has your thinking around your career path changed over time?
When I was younger and still a student in undergrad, I got too focused on what other students were doing and all the prestige that came with going to big firms. It didn’t help that most other students wanted to be in the same place. But at the end of the day, whether you go to a fortune500, midsize or a startup, you make your own career by putting in 100%.
After working at one of the Big Four accounting firms, my focus is no longer on the name of the company but rather the role I have in a company, my responsibility, my teammates, and most importantly the learnings that will come with this next job. For me, learning opportunities are the most important attribute I look for in my career. I want to build a strong skill set both with technical skills and intangibles.
Joining The Commons
What was behind your decision to join The Commons?
I joined The Commons because I wanted to pivot my career into tech while establishing some strong technical foundations in SQL and Tableau. I was also hoping to learn more about roles in tech and understand which role I was truly passionate about.
How did you enjoy your Sprint experience?
The experience at The Commons was so much more than I expected, but you do get what you put into it. I very much enjoyed working on a marketplace problem with my teammates, and what made it more fun was working with people who had completely different backgrounds from me but with the same desire to pivot into tech.
I now can say I have a solid understanding on various roles within tech and what each team does (which is very beneficial when I joined DoorDash because I work with cross functional partners daily). Lastly, the best part about being in this community are the people. Everyone is so willing to help each other you can feel that your teammates want you to succeed. It’s not often I get to be part of such a special group.
Did you get anything out of the program that you didn't expect?
One of my passions is sports, mainly NBA, NFL and golf. I along with 3 other members help run the sports channel in the community. It’s our first year running this channel and we’re currently in the middle of fantasy basketball season. Being in a non-professional environment is a great way for members to meet remotely and chat about non-work related topics.
Your Job Search
Tell us about your job search experience!
The job search experience was a long one because I was completing my MBA at the same time. Throughout the process, I consulted with so many mentors and members within The Commons and I can truly say I wouldn’t have got my current role without their support.
During my MBA, I went into the program set on going into strategic consulting at a professional service organization. However, after joining The Commons that perspective changed because I realized I could realistically pivot into tech without going back to potentially a Big 4. I applied for only a couple roles and performed well on all interviews but ultimately decided to join DoorDash. I spoke with many community members who worked at companies I interviewed for to get their perspective and that was a crucial part of my decision process.
Tell us about your role at DoorDash!
What’s the role?
I’m one of 2 senior associates on the Finance & Strategy team at DoorDash focused on the US Restaurant business segment. Being that our team is very focused on strategic initiatives at the company, we get to work on a variety of projects with different cross functional partners. The focus of this team is to manage state performance of restaurants to different profitability goals. Restaurants are the core business segment at DoorDash so the decision we make and the projects that we take on have a tremendous impact on the overall business performance.
How did you find the role?
I found this role on LinkedIn and cold messaged the hiring manager. With my background, I knew that strategic finance was the best fit for me to pivot into tech. After speaking to many members in The Commons who work at DoorDash, I got a good idea of what the work culture would be like and that really drew me in. At the end, the balance of strategic projects and working with large data sets was a perfect match for my skillset.
What was the interview process like?
The interview process was long (5 rounds) which started with a case study. The case study was a very good representation of day to day operations at DoorDash. Following were rounds of behavioral interviews and a short verbal case at the end. All in all it took around a month.
How have the first couple months on the job been?
It’s been just over 6 months at DoorDash and I am really enjoying my job. My team is small, tight, and very supportive. Being in a fully remote company, it’s so important to feel like your team has your back because you’re not with them in every meeting and we really only see each other once a quarter.
I’ve learned so much both in technical (SQL, Tableau, Sigma, etc) and in soft skills (creating summary documents, presentation). I really enjoy the working environment at DoorDash. I would describe it as a good balance of working at a public company but having the fast-paced feel of a startup.
Any other words of wisdom or motivating thoughts for people who are looking to make a similar career move?
Find people who have been where you want to go. You can identify different career paths that people have taken and understand how you can get there. Once you know the route you want to take, networking is the most important aspect of your job search. This is why The Commons is such a special place. Not only do you have people who are driven and smart, but everyone is part of this massive network that supports each other’s professional goals.
Something fun to end it off
Tell us some of your favorites:
🎙 A favorite podcast: All-in Podcast
🎨 What you're doing outside of work: Golf, gym, basketball
💬 An inspiring business quote: "You don’t get what you wish for, you get what you work for”
Ready to take the next step in your career? Apply to the Strategy + Operations Sprint to learn valuable skills for operations roles and learn from mentors who are rising stars in tech.