2023 Best & Brightest Business Major: David You, Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)

David You

Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business

“A passionate student with an appetite for knowledge and grain and salad bowls.”

Fun fact about yourself: I have a 2385-day Duolingo streak!

Hometown: Millburn, NJ

High School: Newark Academy

Major: Business Administration

Minor: Computer Science

Favorite Business Course: Introduction to Entrepreneurship

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work, and Leadership Roles During College:

Founder & CEO – Capital Grains

    • Built and managed Capital Grains, a first-of-its-kind, student-run and student-operated restaurant in partnership with Carnegie Mellon Dining Services and Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services.

Head Orientation Counselor – Carnegie Mellon Orientation Program

    • Worked as 1 of 8 Head Orientation Counselors (HOCs) to organize and run Carnegie Mellon’s week-long orientation program to welcome 1700+ incoming undergraduate students.

President & Head of Product – Business Technology Group

    • Initiated Product Management Academy, a program to create a community of associate product managers and do career prep for product management roles.
    • Managed Product Studio, a year-long product development program for 25+ students to build technical solutions to on-campus problems.

Teaching Assistant – Introduction to Computer Systems

    • Worked 12+ hours weekly in a 400-person C-based computer systems course
    • Taught students core computer system concepts such as cache, malloc, shell, proxy, assembly, and gdb.

Treasurer – Delta Tau Delta Fraternity

    • Oversaw and managed a budget of over $25,000 to ensure the financial stability of our chapter.

Teaching Assistant – Fundamentals of Programming and Computer Science

    • Worked 12+ hours weekly in a 500-person Python-based programming course.
    • Organized hack112, a 24-hour hackathon with over 200 participants.

Where have you interned during your college career? (L

  • Google, Mountain View, Associate Product Manager Intern
  • Beacon Platform, New York City, Sales Engineering Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? Google, Associate Product Manager

Who is your favorite business professor? Professor Meredith Grelli helped light my spark for entrepreneurship. An incredible entrepreneur herself, she advised me through many challenges when I was starting up Capital Grains. She brings a passion for her work and a dedication to her students that I find remarkable and admirable. While taking Introduction to Entrepreneurship last semester, she became my top supporter and took the time to help me outside the classroom.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? I am incredibly happy about the interdisciplinary nature of the academic programs at the Tepper School and Carnegie Mellon. These cross-channel business and computer science courses challenge me to think from a strategy and engineering perspective. The ability to communicate with key individuals at all levels is foundational to any field I pursue, and the Tepper School has solidified my strengths in this area. I am constantly challenged to think bigger and dig deeper into all aspects of a problem.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? The coursework is one thing, but the people you meet and spend time with will push you to be a better student, peer, and global citizen. Get involved with clubs, organizations, and the community outside of the classroom. Those are the places where you’ll apply the material you learn in the classroom and create a community that lifts everyone up.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? The business skills I’ve learned at Tepper are cross-functional and apply to many fields outside the traditional ones most students pursue. As a business and computer science student, I find it incredibly rewarding to merge the two disciplines. I attended many office hours for my CS classes. Since each meeting was only 15 minutes, I learned to communicate with the teaching assistants effectively. That skill set was something I first developed in a business classroom.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? Looking back, I would have taken more time to pursue more elective classes in the Tepper program. I found many classes in data analytics or organizational behavior very interesting. I would have also spent more time exploring classes outside of the business curriculum, especially in the Economics or Political Science departments. Both within Tepper and at Carnegie Mellon, there are so many intriguing classes for students to pursue.

What business leader do you admire most? I deeply admire Ray Dalio, the founder and chief investment officer of Bridgewater Associates. His book, Principles, provides great guidance on life, work, management, and investing, which I have incorporated into my life. He outlines a 5-step process for goal achievement that I consistently use, and his management philosophy has been foundational to how I manage organizations and lead groups.

Which academic, extracurricular, or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of building Capital Grains, a student-run and student-operated restaurant on campus. I worked extensively with Joe Beaman, the Director of Dining Services, and Mike Tokarek, the District Regional Manager of Chartwells, to develop this concept and improve dining services at Carnegie Mellon. Through this opportunity, I developed a customer research strategy; built out the program’s model to include a Chief Executive Officer, a Chief Operating Officer, a Chief Marketing Officer, and a Chief Financial Officer; hired an incredible team; and developed a full menu from scratch. I also helped over 15 students obtain their Social Security Numbers through this work. We sell grain and salad bowls emphasizing convenience and quality.

Which classmate do you most admire? I admire and appreciate Michael Maddalon. Michael is the Chief Operating Officer for Capital Grains and brings an incredible work ethic, humility, and leadership to our team. He consistently pushes me to be a better leader and a better person. His customer service is second to none, and always puts in the extra work to push our initiatives forward for the restaurant. When there was an issue with our labor scheduling system, he worked tirelessly to get that resolved. He radiates positivity and maintains composure even under the most stressful of situations.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would like to thank my dad, Roy You. He has been my greatest advocate from day one. No matter the initiative, he always takes the time to support me in my goals. His wisdom and moral character ensure that I will always have a great advisor by my side. He has made great sacrifices to give me a better life and always reminds me to find balance in life.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? 

  1. Work at a healthcare technology company
  2. Lead out a food bank

What are your hobbies? I enjoy cooking, lifting, reading, and learning new languages (both human and machine).

What made David such an invaluable member of the Class of 2023?

“David’s leadership on campus has stretched far beyond the Tepper School as he served as a Head Orientation Counselor for fall 2022, and led key elements of first-year orientation. He wasn’t content to rest on that experience and led a project to open CMU’s first student-run restaurant on the weekends in response to student demand which involved everything from marketing, recipe creation, P&L weekly review, and employee recruitment and onboarding. David embodies the highest qualities of an entrepreneurial leader!”

Dr. Jennifer Wegner
Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Programs
Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business


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