By: Sarah Tang, Olivia Xiao, Catalina Zuo
After a successful 2021 year, YES started its new year with its meeting at University Park Public Library. Our keynote speaker of the month was Jae Chung, a private investor and a retired executive of BMC Software. He is also on the admissions committee for Princeton and other Ivy League schools. For this meeting, Mr. Chung focused on advice for college and early career.
As high schoolers, he highlighted 3 key points for us to remember. First, don’t overemphasize the importance of academics. Many students achieve high scores in high school, to the point where it is no longer an outstanding achievement. Instead, we should focus on what makes us unique and different from other applicants. Whatever students have a passion for, whether it is a subject or a hobby, dedicate time to improve and build one’s resume. Second, show colleges that you are willing to take on challenges, rather than taking an easy route. If you do not have challenges, create challenges to overcome. Third, look for internal consistency in college applications. Make sure that your interests match with your goals, and show colleges that you are genuine in your passion.
Although Ivy Leagues seem to have stronger academic programs and classes, the truth is that course content is similar at almost every school. Instead, Mr. Chung explains that their value comes from interaction and connections with highly-skilled students and professors. With the internet becoming a primary source of information, students should focus on building connections, learning to communicate, and building other soft skills instead of pure course content.
Now shifting to early career advice, Mr. Chung said to not focus on the specific industry functions, but the role you want to play in any industry. There are many roles in corporate America, and a marketer is still a marketer no matter what they sell. He also talks about underestimating the power of stereotypes. It is important to recognize that stereotypes exist and must be overcome to be successful. Mr. Chung highlights two more aspects to success: passion and luck. Companies are willing to hire people who are passionate rather than skilled. Luck also plays a significant role in one’s success, so we should continue to persevere even when something does not seem to be working. Mr. Chung's speech brought new perspectives and was very impactful and helpful for YES members, who are in high school and working toward college and future careers.
We ended the meeting with an activity where groups created a product, and the teams pitched each other’s product. This was a great exercise for entrepreneurship because it helps YES members think about the many uses for a product and present it in an appealing way. Overall, this meeting was very helpful and successful!