SPOTLIGHT ON JESSICA CHANG, T’13
Updated: Aug 18, 2019
JUNE 1, 2019 | BY COLE ZAHARRIS & LEIGH MARSHALL
Jessica Chang is currently pursuing her MBA at Wharton. Previously she was on the product finance team at LinkedIn SF covering LinkedIn’s hiring products and an investment banking analyst at J.P. Morgan in New York. At Duke, Jessica majored in Economics with a concentration in Finance. She served as the President of Business Oriented Women, an exec board member of the investment club, and a member of Duke Business Society. Jessica is currently involved in Minds Matter as a mentor and Duke Young Alumni Development Council. In her free time, Jessica love to travel, take fitness classes on ClassPass, try new restaurants, see her favorite singers in concert, and snowboard.
Why did you decide to take a leadership position in BOW? What did you learn from being President?
BOW was hands down my favorite club at Duke. I joined BOW my freshman year and it was great meeting and learning from so many talented women. Some of my best friends, mentors, and confidants are from BOW. I was also involved in the inaugural years of BOW, so loved growing and building the organization. BOW wasn’t that well known when I joined, so I wanted to help build it into a powerhouse organization on campus with a strong pipeline of female talent and leaders. I am so impressed with where BOW is today and how far it’s come! From being president of BOW I was able to develop my leadership skills, learned how to give ownership to teams, and created lasting relationships with other BOW members.
What is the most important thing you learned/took away from your Duke experience?
Duke is an amazing experience and take advantage of all of the opportunities it offers. Forge your own path and don’t get caught up with what everyone else is doing. Use the time to explore different opportunities and find out what you are truly passionate about. Build relationships with the faculty – many of them are experts in their field and have so much wisdom and knowledge to share. Study abroad and go on DukeEngage– you won’t have the time to do this once you start working! Lastly, go to the basketball games!! It gets a lot more expensive as an alum to go to the games.
Briefly describe what you are studying and what you are involved in at Wharton.
I am pursuing my MBA at Wharton with a focus on entrepreneurship and innovation. At Wharton, I’m involved on the People Analytics Conference committee, Women in Business board, tech club and entrepreneurship club.
What drew you to investment banking? What were some of the things you liked or didn’t like about your job?
I was initially drawn to investment banking because I thought it would be a good way to build an analytical skill set and foundation in finance. It was also a great way to learn about different companies and their business models within the Tech, Media, Telecom space. I enjoyed interacting with executives at the various companies I covered, advising clients on their capital structure, and building models for different companies. While the job was exciting, I wanted more experience as an operator in the industry and also wanted a job with better work/life balance.
Can you talk about you did at LinkedIn? Why did you decide to switch jobs?
From covering Tech companies at J.P. Morgan, I learned a lot at a macro level about the tech industry and the companies but was looking to gain operating experience in the tech industry. LinkedIn reached out to me via LinkedIn and I thought the role was a great fit. My role was a hybrid of strategy and finance and I supported the Product Managers for LinkedIn’s talent products (LinkedIn Jobs and Recruiter). I got to help with financial modeling, performance management, strategic data deep dives, and sizing out new products / new product initiatives.
What makes you excited about tech? Do you see yourself staying in the industry long-term, and if so, why?
Tech excites me because companies are constantly disrupting old industries and it is exciting to be part of the product development process. I plan on staying in tech and will be a Product Management intern this summer.
What advice do you have for navigating the business school application process?
Be yourself through the process and showcase who you are. You’ll often times get a lot of feedback with conflicting opinions, but go with your gut. Really think about why you want to go and what you want to get out of your experience. It’s a big investment (both time and money), and once you get on campus you have to decide what to get involved with and what to recruit for right away.
What is your favorite part of business school? How has it been making the transition from living in the work world to being back at school?
1. Having time to learn about topics and skills that I wouldn’t have otherwise. For example, I’ve gotten to take courses in areas such as leadership, computer science, operations, digital marketing, and computer science. 2. Learning from people in different industries. There are always talks or panels by industry professionals. My classmates have also come from all different places, so it’s interesting to pick their brains. 3. Traveling with my peers. There are so many different trips we can take in school, from leadership ventures to trips for fun. Really take advantage of the breaks you have to explore new places.
Please list what you like to do in your free time.
I love traveling, going snowboarding, figure skating, following Duke basketball, concerts, and exploring restaurants.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you have received?
Embrace a growth mindset and continue to push yourself to learn new things and expand your comfort zone.