Sade Ayinde


Sade Ayinde ‘18

Title: Product Manager, International Payments   

Employer: Square  

Major: Economics BA and Global Development BA IVSP (dual degree)

What do you enjoy the most about your position?

I love being able to connect with our Square sellers internationally. I always wanted to be "international", working in finance or economic empowerment in emerging markets. It seemed like the only way to do that was get a PhD and work in development; but I quickly realized just how involved the private sector was in a lot growth that we see in the world today.

What is a typical day like in your position?

As a product manager of our international payment products, I launch new payment methods outside of the U.S. to our international Square sellers. I meet with my product marketing lead and design leads (based in JP, AU or sometimes other markets). We share insights from recent seller/customer discovery and we also share insights from experiments we ran for our Square Sellers and "live" experiments as well. We just tried a "live" experiment with French Square sellers at a farmers market in Nice, we gave them free hardware to see if that would encourage activation and processing of our Square tools and POS system. I often collaborate with other PM leads who provide context on what we're building for future Square products.

How did you find your current position?

My path was interesting. I did a double degree in IVSP and economics, and wanted to go to grad school after. I started my first role at Deloitte in federal consulting and hated it :). I waited a year and a half, and pivoted to a tech company based in Chicago then eventually did the startup life, founded a failed startup, then started at Square. My path wasn't linear but I always sought the advice of mentors and peers that I admired.

Which undergraduate experiences did you find most helpful in preparing you for your current position?

As an ODK and Maryland Medallion Society member, I did every experience under the sun. Internships at State Department, non-profit internships, academic research, study abroad, and more. The most helpful to my current position was my study abroad experience, undergraduate fintech research with Dr. Abbasi (econ development research) and my R programming course that I took through the DC consortium at Howard University/Federal Reserve. The quantitative and global experience helped shape my perspective and prepared for the opportunities that I have now.

How has your coursework helped you in your current position (i.e. quantitative skills, research techniques, communication skills)?

Econometrics (yes, I know). We use a/b experiments and split tests all the time as a product manager and with our new feature releases to see how our users are reacting to our changes. I was a great communicator, but being able to speak concisely and relate to others in a key skill across any sector.

What advice do you have for students trying to find jobs or internships in your field?

Don't limit yourself to DC/federal or the traditional finance fields. There's a lot of opportunity to those who look outside what everyone else is doing. 

Any other advice?

Find a great mentor -- thank you Dr. Abbasi! :) -- and shoot for the moon.