Sathvik Sudireddy, Contributor
Sathvik Sudireddy (MBA ’23) talks about a summer spent well at Activision Blizzard.
Tell us more about your background?
After studying computer science at Harvard College, I worked at a large international education company, EF (Education First), before transitioning to a GameTech startup called Beamable, which is building a backend-as-a-service live operations platform for game developers.
What drew you towards gaming as a career?
Gaming has been a big part of my life since I was a kid. The impact of gaming lies in its ability to build powerful communities, tell amazing stories, and enable social connection and creativity. It was always a dream of mine to have this kind of impact on others, and when I discovered that I could combine my passion with my professional ambitions, I jumped at the opportunity.
You worked with Activision Blizzard over the summer. Tell us a little about your role.
I was on the business development team at Activision Blizzard this summer. Our team worked across all three business units (Activision, Blizzard, and King) and served all of our game teams. We did a lot of different things but had three primary functions: 1) creating a pipeline of new content and IP for the company to publish, 2) supporting internal studios through the leveraging of external developer partnerships, and 3) supporting the company’s M&A pipeline.
What was your MBA internship experience like and what was it like going back as an MBA intern?
Since Activision Blizzard has a streamlined MBA internship experience, the company prioritized our learning over anything else. Because of that, I was given access to speak to virtually anyone I wanted at the company. Through those conversations I was able to have 1:1s with dozens of people including the President of Activision, the General Manager of the Call of Duty franchise, and the company’s Chief Strategy Officer. I was given the autonomy to propose my own internship project which revolved around diverse game developers, and I got to present my findings to the COO of Activision. However, the highlight was definitely building relationships with the rest of my MBA internship cohort. There were about a dozen of us and we all became very close, hanging out a lot outside of work hours whether playing Call of Duty at the office or going to Karaoke in Koreatown.
How did you find the role?
Activision Blizzard has a well-established MBA internship program, so I’ve known about it for a while. They recruit through the 12Twenty career portal and that’s how I applied.
Which HBS resources did you find most valuable as you were doing your internship search?
Since I wanted to go into gaming, I found that being part of the Esports and Gaming Club, Entertainment and Media Club, and Tech Club were useful in discovering what opportunities were out there. Networking with ECs and recent alumni was also very helpful to understand what factors I should be considering in my search. Lastly, I think the CPD student advisors are fantastic since they’re the most recent people to have gone through the process—I mostly utilized their help for resume reviews and other general advice.
What was the interviewing process like? What did you learn about yourself during the process?
I mostly recruited and interviewed for jobs through 12Twenty so my process was relatively straightforward. For Activision Blizzard, my first round consisted of a behavioral interview and a gaming-specific case interview. I then interviewed with a couple of teams across the company before getting an offer with the BizDev team. For other companies, they may give you the offer first and match you with a team afterwards. Throughout the process, I learned how important it was for me to be working in an industry that combined technology and creativity.
What was the defining moment of your internship/stand-out memory from your internship?
One stand-out memory from the internship was Activision’s official return to office day. It was a momentous occasion and the company hosted food trucks, a greenscreen photobooth, gaming tournaments, and even a make your own t-shirt station! It was also cool to meet so many industry legends in person.
What advice would you give to someone looking to explore a career in gaming?
The HBS network is your best friend! I spent a lot of my RC fall talking to alumni in the industry, learning from their experience and what they enjoy about their current roles. The best way to start doing this is to go to the Esports and Gaming Club panels and reach out to all the panelists after every event to schedule informational calls.
A game you’d recommend?The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is my favorite game of all time, but if you’re new to games, then I recommend Red Dead Redemption II if you like single player games or Fall Guys if you like multiplayer games.
Sathvik Sudireddy (MBA ’23) is originally from Andover, MA and graduated from Harvard College in 2019. Prior to HBS, he worked at a GameTech startup. He loves storytelling and you can always find him either playing games or at HBS Show rehearsal.