Enmeshed in health care financing at Triage Consulting Group in San Francisco—a job that sprang from a Haas class project—Todd Osborne was named Rookie of the Year from among 80 first-year consultants and was promoted to co-founder of an internal group creating financial analysis applications.
Then his career took a sharp turn: He accepted an unpaid internship. In shoes. In Sydney.
Osborne joined a friend who had co-founded Shoes of Prey, a retailer of made-to-order women’s shoes. “It was quite a jump,” he says. “But I was open to living in a new country and having a totally new experience.”
At Triage, Osborne learned that he most enjoyed product management. “I really wanted to make it my full-time job,” he says. Shoes of Prey paid his living expenses for six weeks, then hired him.
Osborne worked in Sydney for three years while the company was evolving from an online store to one with retail outlets. “I like the challenge of evangelizing mass customization,” he says. In August, Osborne, now director of product management, moved back home to Southern California where Shoes of Prey established its headquarters. He manages a partnership with Nordstrom, which stocks styles for customers to try on. They can then design their own shoes in the store via an iPad.
“It’s exciting engaging with customers in the physical setting to explain the concept and get them on board,” Osborne says.
He credits Berkeley Haas’ emphasis on all-around leaders rather than specific disciplines with helping him transition from health care financing to shoes. “It was more about learning how to learn,” he says. “Leaving school, I felt like I could apply for anything.” —ME
Director of Product
Management, Shoes of Prey,
Santa Monica, Calif.