Meet Jenny Sai—one of our success stories. Jenny, a first generation American, participated in the RTSWS program when she was a student at Hume-Fogg High School, a Metro Nashville Public School. When we first met Jenny, she had no idea that a profession in finance was even available for her consideration.
Jenny interned with us at the RTSWS offices in Nashville for the past three years and then, this past summer she interned as a Financial Analyst with Amazon in Seattle. Jenny will graduate next year from Washington University in St. Louis with her Bachelor’s degree in Finance, Economics and Strategy. We sat down with Jenny to learn more about her experiences as an undergraduate studying business, economics and finance.
Tell us about why you were drawn to finance as a college major and career path?
I like finance because it’s analytical and can apply to small and big businesses. If you think about just the numbers though, that is not enough. You need to think beyond them and how learning about basic finance, financial instruments and financial policy can impact your world and the world of those around you.
What qualities do you believe are most important to be a leader?
I’ve had some really good female leaders. A leader should not be afraid to tell you when you might be on the wrong track. They should give you constructive criticism with encouragement. Sometimes women are afraid to tell you what are doing wrong. We need to change that mindset.
What inspired you most about the women you met as a student in the Rock The Street, Wall Street program?
One memory that really sticks out is when our RTSWS class went on a field trip to the Entrepreneur Center. We heard from two entrepreneurs, (female) who were just launching their products. They shared how hard it is to “make it”. They weren’t afraid to take a chance and they committed their time, money, etc. to making their dreams a reality. It was really inspiring and got me thinking about my future.
How specifically have you benefited from meeting female financial professionals with Rock The Street, Wall Street?
My RTSWS mentor put the financial world in perspective–she opened my world to all the possibilities. Getting a finance degree is really smart for the future. She also taught me that hard work pays off and opening yourself to opportunities pays off. Rock The Street, Wall Street sets girls up for endless possibilities.
There’s a lot to be said about “getting to the next level” as a potential summer intern. Can you explain how you stood out among the other candidates to get the summer gig as a financial analyst at Amazon?
Apply to everything is my advice. Get ready for rejection, but chances are you will get a couple of opportunities. Talk to your career and guidance counselors. Get used to talking to people in a professional manner. I did all of these over and over so when the Amazon opportunity came along, I was ready, willing and able.
What achievements are you most proud of to date?
Being a good listener is one of my better assets–I consider it an achievement. People respond to that and will tell you more if you give them a chance to talk. Being receptive to other people is imperative.
What is your key takeaway from your internship at Amazon?
One thing I learned is that you can speak up. No one will ding you for speaking up as you are new and learning. At Amazon they instilled their interns to “Think Big”. This is so important for young people. When stuck in your work, you get muddled in details. You have to rise above and think about the big picture.
What would you like to achieve in the next five years?
Entering my senior year at college, there is pressure to find my dream job. This can lead to putting too much stress on myself. I know I have to build to get to where I want to be…put in the work and commit. I’d like to use my analytical skills to do something beyond the numbers, like managing the entire lifecycle of a project. I also want to make an impact on the future of commerce – directing where the industry goes not just short term, but long term, too.