The Atila Podcast

Getting in Med School Without a Degree, Advice for Pre Med Students, WorkLife Balance, Self Care

An episode of The Atila Podcast

By Tomiwa Ademidun
Learn and share stories from people on education, career and life.
More places to listen

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Apple, Microsoft and Ecobee Product Manager, Waterloo Engineering: Sefunmi Osinaike – Atila TV 8
Sefunmi Osinaike is currently a product manager at EcoBee. He  was previously a product manager intern at Microsoft and Apple, both within the same year and graduated from the prestigious Waterloo Electrical and Computer Engineering program. He also has a podcast called Doing a Thing to help other people get product manager roles. In this episode we talk about how he got a product manager job at Apple and other companies, what it’s like working in the silicon valley in California. How he prepared for tough interviews, and his big plans to improve conditions in Nigeria. We also touch on his thoughts on social media and why he left Instagram (and came back!), his doing a thing podcast, and more.  Full interview and video:  LinkedIn:  Personal website:  “Doing A Thing” Blog:  “Doing A Thing” Podcast links: iTunes:  Spotify:  How he landed his internships:  How he prepped for the PM interviews:  Article on KoHo:  Music by @delgotgame: Timestamps: 1:29: What were you like at 16?  6:27: Why didn’t your dad want you to go to MIT? 12:05: How did you get the job at Apple? 17:21: How did you prepare for the interview and perform well?  20:32: What’s it actually like inside apple? What’s the culture like, the work ethic, the people?  22:51: If Apple was so great, why didn’t you go back?  27:05: When you were at Waterloo did you feel external pressure to go to California and get a job? 29:14: What kind of things were you doing for interview prep?  29:51: How do you network?  30:53: Wasn’t it risky neglecting school to focus on a job?  34:11: Why were you set on Ecobee and how did you get that job?  39:03: Why did you decide to take a break from social media and wy did you come back?  44:44: Where do you see yourself a year from now, 5 years from now, and 25 years from now?  49:28: What are some of the big problems you want to solve?  55:00: What are you currently obsessed with?  57:05: What’s some general advice you would give? 
July 15, 2019
Waterloo Engineering, Tech over Consulting, Doing PM in Silicon Valley: Umesh Khanna – Atila TV 7
Umesh is a currently in the Waterloo Systems Engineering program. He is an incoming product management intern at Credit Karma in San Francisco. He has previously worked at Flexport, Toast, Clearbanc and Shopify in a mix of product and engineering roles. In this episode we talk about why he chose Tech over consulting and Product Management over software engineering. Managing mental health and burnout in the high pressure Waterloo Engineering and California tech cultures and much more. Timestamps What was the hardest internship to get? [20:00] Advice for getting a job in tech? [23:00] How you got into Waterloo Engineering, one of the most competitive programs in Canada? [4:45] Why he switched from electrical engineering to systems engineering? [8:50] How do you decide what companies you want to work for? [13:15] Tomiwa and Umesh Debate working for small company vs. big company [14:50] Why he chose startup PM at Credit Karma over consulting at Deloitte and Oliver Wyman and PM at Microsoft? [32:15] -> [32:33] When he realized he didn’t like coding even though he was in the engineering program [36:33] Finding work-life balance and managing mental health in the high pressure Waterloo Engineering and “cali or bust” Tech cultures [39:20] What drives you to work so hard? [44:40] Prepping for a PM interview vs prepping for a consulting interview? [31:55] Links Professor Bill Anderson’s Waterloo Engineering Blog: Podcast Umesh is Currently obsessed How I built This Podcast:  The organization which Umesh and Tomiwa recommend young people to Join: Shad and TKS
April 4, 2019
Bain Consulting, RBC I Banking, decline Goldman Sachs, Ivey Bus. School: Paul Okundaye – Atila TV 6
Paul is an incoming management consultant at Bain and Company. Before that he was an investment banking summer analyst at RBC after declining an interview at Goldman Sachs and founder of a food delivery company called Dine Easy. He is currently in his final year in the honours business program at the Ivey Business School.   In this episode we talk about why he chose investment banking and consulting and if he was chasing prestige or doing what he genuinely enjoyed. We talked about how he feels when people say “you only got an opportunity because you’re black or because you’re a woman” and much more.  Timestamp   “You’ve doing banking and consulting, the two most stereotypical, cliche business school careers. How much of that is your genuine passion versus doing it for prestige/clout?” - 32:25   How do you feel when people say “you only got that because you’re black” or “you only got that because you’re a woman”? - 14:15 [highlights]  Why he turned down Goldman Sachs and Moelis interviews to work at RBC? - 14:00 [highlights]   How did the RBC Opportunity come about? - 12:40   Banking being a good old boy’s club and having to conform and check his identity at the door - 20:00  [highlights]  Why he moved into consulting? - 20:40   “This is without a doubt The craziest week of my entire life” - 24:40 - 32:20 [ highlights]   How he knew consulting was right for him, the interview process? - 35:46   Where do you see yourself 1, 5 and 25 years from now? 37:20   Links   Paul’s LinkedIn: The scholarship Paul won to get the RBC investment banking role: Paul's Application for the RBC Scholarship:  Factfulness — Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World: The Order of Time Book: Gates Notes: Atila TV Instagram, @atilatech: Tomiwa’s twitter, @tomiwa1a:
March 21, 2019
U of T Engineering Dropout, WealthSimple Engineer, Beatcamp + Code Mode Founder Pei Li – AtilaTV 5
Pei Li joins us on this episode to talk about U of T Engineering Dropout, WealthSimple Software Engineer, Beatcamp and Code Mode Founder:  Pei Li– Atila TV 005   Full interview at Watch video:  Music by: It just makes me happy by Dj Quads  Music promoted by Audio Library
March 7, 2019
Working in Sales in Tech at Shopify, Declining Ivey, and Networking into Silicon Valley Startup, Clearbit: Trevor Sookraj – Atila TV 004
Trevor Sookraj is a part of the Growth team at Clearbit in San Francisco working to grow their self-serve products. Before that he was a sales intern at Shopify and a marketing analyst at Turnstyle Solutions, which was acquired by Yelp. Trevor is currently at Western studying political science, after he declined his acceptance into the Ivey Business program and took some time off university to work in Silicon Valley, San Francisco.  We talk about how he managed to score an interview (and later an internship) at Shopify and then land a job at Clearbit in the Valley, all at a very early stage in his life. Also how he managed to network and hustle his way through his time at university, how he absorbed all the advice that was given to him by his mentors and used it to go above and beyond to exceed expectations, why he declined his acceptance into the HBA program, his take on the tech industry, and so much more. Timestamps:  What were you like in high school? [1:07] As a younger sibling, do you feel pressure to live up to your brother’s expectations? [2:44] How did you get the Shopify internship after your first year of university? [8:40] What was your thought process when hustling to get your job in Silicon Valley and how did you convince your parents? [12:18] Why did you decline Ivey? [15:58] When you said you were taking a year off, were you planning on coming back to school? [19:24] What are some things you did to help you get the Shopify interview and Clearbit job? [20:55] How did you develop your networking skills? [24:07] Why do you think sales is the best job you can get in tech? [28:43] Where do you see yourself a year, five years, and 25 years from now? [31:53] What are some really interesting books, articles, podcasts… that you consumed recently? [37:16] What are you currently obsessed with? [39:37] Advice you would give to your younger self or to the audience [43:26] Links: Trevor’s LinkedIn:  Trevor’s personal blog: Trevor’s boot camp site: *spoiler* it redirects to his personal blog  Future Shock by Alvin Toffler: Blogs/books/podcasts Trevor keeps up with:  Accelerated Newsletter:  Startup Watching:  Principles by Ray Dalio: Reasons and Persons by Derek Parfit:  Making Sense podcast by Sam Harris: (available on Spotify) Tim Ferriss podcast: 
February 21, 2019
Facebook Product Manager, ex-Shopify, Brainstation First hire, Declining Ivey. Annie Zhang AtilaTV 3
Annie Zhang is a product manager at Facebook, working on the Facebook Watch team. Before that she was a PM at Shopify and the first employee at Brainstation. Annie graduated from Western with a Philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) degree after declining her acceptance into the Ivey business school program at Western University. We talk about how she landed the Facebook and Shopify PM roles and being the first employee at a high growth startup. What it was like working inside Facebook during the fake news controversy, why she declined her acceptance into prestigious Ivey HBA program and chose a regular Western degree, how to develop self-awareness and much more. Here are some highlights of the interview. Note: This transcript has been summarized for brevity, if you would like to help transcribe the full interview, edit videos or help Atila TV in any way, please send an email to Timestamps What were you like in high school?  [1:24] Why did you decide not to go into Ivey? [7:45] How did the Shopify opportunity come about [14:37] How did you get the job at Facebook? [35:05] How to prepare for product manager interviews and the best books to use? [39:07] What’s it like inside Facebook during the fake new controversy? [43:29] What is Annie currently obsessed with? [58:14] How to develop self awareness and reduce cognitive bias [1:04:10] Final piece of advice [1:02:00] Links: Annie’s Linkedin: Annie’s blog post about her Shopify Role:  The PM Book Annie mentioned during the episode to help her prepare for the interview:  Decode and Conquer: Answers to Product Management Interviews by Lews Lin:  Decode and Conquer on Amazon:  Cracking the PM Interview:  Cracking the PM Interview on Amazon:  Charlie Munger’s 25 cognitive biases to help develop self awareness: Summary of Charlie Munger’s talk: 
February 7, 2019
Medical School Rejection Twice to Google and Pinterest Software Engineer|Ruth Grace Wong– Atila TV 2
You can find the transcript, video and more on If you would like to help transcribe the full interview, edit videos or help Atila TV in any way, please send an email to Timestamps What were you like in high school? [1:50] Why she switched from wanting to studying to CS to wanting to be a doctor in high school? [2:45] Advice for people who want to go to medical school? [5:50] Learning compassion, empathy and gratitude from volunteering at a Hospice [7:30] How did you feel after getting rejected from medical school and what did you plan to do next? [8:30] How did you get the Google internship? [8:30] How did you get the Pinterest Job? [11:55] Software engineer by day, manufacturing engineer and maker by night [14:40] Lessons learnt from successful and failed projects? [16:50] Working for  startup versus big companies versus starting your own company? [18:45] Advice for females in tech on taking more opportunities? [22:45] How to network and prepare for interviews for a top tech company? [25:45] How Ruth plans on raising kids while furthering her career? [28:25] What is Ruth currently obsessed with? [30:00] General life advice [32:40] Links Ruth’s Linkedin: Ruth’s Website: Ecoqube: Leave Me Alone Sweater: The Egg Machine Ruth is obsessed with: Dash Rapid Egg Cooker If you would like to help transcribe the full interview, edit videos or help Atila TV in any way, please send an email to
January 8, 2019
Getting in Med School Without a Degree, Advice for Pre Med Students, WorkLife Balance, Self Care
Emily Chen joins us on the first episode to talk about how she got into U of T medical school without a degree, advice for students studying pre med programs and the importance of work life balance and self care. Blog Post: Video: Timestamps: What type of high school student were you - 1:10 Cold Calling Professionals in grade 10 - 2:37 McMaster Health Science Rejection and wakeup Call - 4:09 What if I I don’t get into medical school - 5:00 Biggest life jumps and importance of self care - 8:12 Living up to expectations of immigrant parents while making yourself happy - 9:40 Handling lack of motivation and burnout - 10:58 Where do you see yourself in 5 and 25 years - 12:34 Advice for aspiring doctors or anyone who just want to help others - 16:07
October 25, 2018
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