From Marin County to Silicon Valley: Relationships Influence Career Success of Recent Graduates

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“It’s all about relationships, and I was really setup for success by Dominican in that way,” says Jake Bernstein ‘15, as he recalled the connections that led to his current work as a young professional in Silicon Valley.

For Jake and his brother Cody Bernstein ‘16, the influential relationships that they developed as undergraduates in the Barowsky School of Business were essential to launching their professional careers. They each secured dream jobs after graduation by cultivating personal connections along the way. Today, both Jake and Cody work full-time at LinkedIn, the technology giant of relationship building in Silicon Valley.

“Professors at Dominican, like Dr. Kelly Weidner, were so pivotal in setting me up for where I am now,” says Jake. He first connected with Dr. Weidner as a student in her business marketing class. When Jake learned about a prestigious summer internship program at LinkedIn, he approached Dr. Weidner about providing an introduction to her personal contacts there. “She was so helpful and supportive, beyond just making the connection–from prepping for my first coffee meeting, to planning for my official interview,” he said. “Once I got an internship offer, Dr. Weidner was ready to fill in the blanks and get me started.”

While interning in the summer, Jake learned about the company’s Business Leadership Program, a year-long employment rotation for new graduates that leads to a full-time sales position. With his own LinkedIn relationships now established, he knew this could be a great fit as his next step. After a competitive application process, Jake was delighted to land a seat in the elite cohort for the following summer.

Left: Jake with Dr. Kelly Weidner on campus. Right: Jake and Cody as undergraduates, both members of Dominican Athletics.
Left: Jake with Dr. Kelly Weidner on campus. Right: Jake and Cody as undergraduates.

Meanwhile, Cody was also setting his sights on work in the technology industry as a rising business student. Hearing about his brother’s experience in Silicon Valley only further fueled his aspirations. “For me, one of the great benefits of Dominican is its proximity to all the amazing work happening in Silicon Valley,” says Cody. “There are so many connections in technology around the Bay Area.”

As Cody pursued positions at top-level technology companies, he found again and again that support from his connections on campus and beyond made all the difference. “At a smaller school like Dominican, you develop such close relationships with your professors,” he says. “I wasn’t just a number: my professors really knew me, knew my work, and advocated for me.”

Both brothers mentioned the influence of Dr. Christopher Leeds, who works with student-athletes at Dominican. In the Barowsky School of Business, he is known for his popular class in business communications. “His class is one of those that gives students so many skills, no matter what career you decide on,” says Cody. “Dr. Leeds encouraged many of us to consider the potential of a business degree.”

Thanks to the support of his professors and mentors, Cody interviewed with a number of top-level technology companies, like SalesForce, Pandora, and AutoDesk. Ultimately, he determined his best fit was a seat in the same Business Leadership Program with LinkedIn, joining his brother Jake at their Silicon Valley campus.


Today, both brothers are working within LinkedIn’s Global Sales Organization. After 18 months with the company, Jake has moved into a new role as Account Executive with LinkedIn Learning Solutions, the company’s education portal that provides online courses to enhance professional skills, knowledge, and opportunities. At the same time, Cody has now completed his initial six-month rotation through recruiting and customer service, and started a full-time role as a Sales Development Representative. Both are looking forward to continuing to grow with the company.

“This is the next chapter, and I’m ready for it,” says Cody.

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