Picture of Beatriz Datangel

Beatriz Datangel '11 on the Power of Using Your Network

Tell us a little bit about your background.

I’m a San Francisco native and originally wanted to study physical therapy at Simmons. After my first year, I really gravitated toward chemistry and later to chemistry management after realizing the “business” impact of research and development. This interdisciplinary approach to problems gave me an advantage in the start-up world. Graduating in 2011 was tough for most undergrads. Thankfully, my hometown still had the tech scene as an economic driver. I was able to use my analytical and communication skills as an analyst and then rose to the position of product manager.

What has been your biggest “aha” moment?

I’ve had a few “aha” moments that stem from a common theme: “People understand stories.” After studying chemistry, finance and economics, I realized that I was studying different ways to calculate and formulate a number. However, people don’t understand numbers — they understand stories. I have to create a compelling story so the number matters to audiences. This means I have to provide context to a pH level, number of app installs, or purchase probability in the form of a story.

What is your “one word” to describe Simmons?

Network. There was a feeling of community from the moment I stepped onto campus as a prospective student. When I realized I was alone for the first time — away from family and friends three hours behind me in California — that feeling definitely came back. The sense of teamwork and community exposed itself in the dorms and when studying for exams. Now as an alumna, that community has transformed to a “network” spanning all graduating class cohorts and even branched out to alumnae of other women-centered colleges.

Was there ever a time you wondered if you were on the right path? 

Yes! When I realized I didn't want to be in a lab anymore and decided to pursue industry. I had a similar time of reflection after working as an analyst and making the move into product management. I sought advice from people in the industry, either people I heard speak on a panel or who recently published an article. Just like raising your hand in a class — just ask them! I reached out to people via Twitter, LinkedIn, or just approached them in person after a meet-up. Use your confidence and trust your gut. You don’t know when you’ll get another chance.

What advice would you give your 21 year-old self?

Don’t just work hard — work smart.

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