San Francisco and Startups with Min Zhong ’19

Min Zhong is a sophomore from Arlington, VA. We talked with her about her about startups, her recent trip with the CIL to San Fransisco, and more.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: What are you studying, and what do you do on campus?

My name is Min Zhong, class of 2019. I was born in Shenzhen, China and have spent half of my life between China and Arlington, VA. I am a double major in Economics and Anthropology. On campus, I am Co-CEO of Clarus Capital Investments, a student run investment club, and CFO of Redefine Her Street, an all-women pre-finance group.

You recently went on a trip to San Francisco with the CIL to visit tech companies. What was your favorite part of the trip?

My favorite part of the trip was getting to see the different kinds of workspaces and ranging from rows of cubicles to standing desks to beanbags. Having been at Swat for the past year and a half, I’ve spent a lot of time sitting down and studying, but I have yet to find a study space where I feel most comfortable and focused and productive (I’m getting close though! My latest favorite is the honors tables on McCabe first.)

It was also interesting to hear about the kind of company culture that each firm tried to instill and keep alive even as the firm continues to grow. For example, my favorite mottos now are the ones that I saw at Box: 1. 10X it, 2. Get Shit Done, and 3. Make Mom Proud. I thought that these three statements, which were decorated around the office in big white letters, reflected the kind of ambition, attitude, and morality that the tech industry adopts on their way towards making the world a better (or just a cooler and more fun) place.

Building off that, what surprised you most about the places you visited?

I was particularly fascinated by the leadership / management structure of the smaller firms that we visited (Box and Stitch Fix, particularly.) At Box, to maintain the value of idea-sharing and everyone’s equal access to leadership, no one has individual offices. Instead, they have a lot of conference rooms that anyone can hop in to work together or alone. This company structure was unlike anything I’ve seen before, but it looks like it’s working well for Box.

What would you tell future students who are curious about the CIL @ SF trip?

Apply! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. The trip was insightful, even if you are not an engineer (although, of course, I think having an interest in tech or venture capital is a prerequisite.) Besides the office tours, the good food, and fun people, this was also a great opportunity to meet swat alums who are eager to help and give advice as you work toward your own dream career. It was comforting and inspiring for me to realize again that not only do we have a strong support network at Swarthmore, there’s an even bigger network of accomplished Swatties out there who are willing to help me get to where I want to be.

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