2017 Best & Brightest: Jessica Guo, New York University (Stern)

Jessica Guo

New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business

A friend wrote: “Takes coffee black, speaks like a poet, and forgets to lock the door sometimes.”

Fun fact about yourself: In high school, I watched one TEDtalk every day.

Hometown: Seattle, Washington

High School: Skyline High School

Major: Finance and Global Business

Minor: Social Entrepreneurship

Favorite Business Courses: Strategic Analysis with Professor Sonia Marciano, International Banking with Professor Elena Carletti (Luigi Bocconi University), Corporate Finance with Professor Aswath Damodaran, Commerce & Culture with Professor Aya Tanaka, Management & Organizations with Professor Nathan Pettit, and Professional Responsibility and Leadership with Professor Mark Brennan

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • 180 Degrees Consulting; Consulting Director, 2014-2016; Senior Advisor, 2016-2017
  • NYU Alternative Breaks; Participant, 2013-2014; Site Leader, 2015-2016
  • NYU Leadership Initiative, Fellow; 2015-2016
  • Net Impact; Director of Special Projects, Spring 2015; Vice President, Fall 2015
  • Stern Social Impact Council, Head of Co-Curricular Engagement; 2015
  • NYU Stern Book Club; 2013-2016
  • L’Oreal “Brandstorm”, National Finalist; 2016
  • Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Finance Challenge, Winner; 2015
  • Deloitte AERS Advisory R.I.S.E. Case Competition, 2nd place; 2015
  • Quantitative Finance Society & Undergraduate Stern Women in Business “Pitch Perfect”, Best Thesis; 2015
  • Stern Program for Undergraduate Research; 2014
  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) with New York Cares at the Lower East Side Federal Credit Union, Volunteer; 2014
  • Boeing National Merit Scholarship Recipient; 2013-2017

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • PwC; New York, NY // Management Consulting Summer Intern (M&A Advisory)
  • Kiva; New York, NY // Kiva Zip Operations Intern
  • Rainforest Alliance; New York, NY // Sustainable Finance Summer Analyst
  • American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai; Shanghai, China // Corporate Social Responsibility Intern
  • BOC Capital; Brooklyn, NY // Opportunity Finance Intern

Describe your dream Job: One where I’m being challenged and where I feel like I’m learning every day. Challenges make me feel alive.

Who is your favorite professor? I can’t name only one professor. But the professors I admire most know their fields inside and out, teach in a way that inspires the class to want to learn, and are invested in their students’ growth – even if that can sometimes counter what students want to hear.

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? I just took a class at the NYU Abu Dhabi campus called “Middle East Cultures, Markets, and Strategies” with Professor Sunder Narayanan. One of the guest speakers was Najah Hussain Al Muntafiq, a female Emirati entrepreneur who left a well-paid job to start her own chocolate company, Coco Jalila, which has since become one of the premiere chocolate companies in the United Arab Emirates. Her stories of perseverance through challenges as a female entrepreneur highlighted her unwavering spirit. She handed out oversized business cards because, she explained, it’s too big to get forgotten in a wallet, so it gets handed over to the secretary – establishing a relationship with a key gatekeeper. Her joy and passion were evident and contagious. I left the room wanting to hug everyone. We fell in love with her chocolate because we fell in love with her.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? Prioritize people.

What did you enjoy most about majoring in a business-related field? I love being able to look at an organization and know what questions to ask in order to understand its strategy. Any solid education in any field should leave you with a better grasp of how the world works through the lens of your field, and should equip you with the right questions and tools to reach that understanding.

Where would you like to work after graduation? I’ve signed with PwC Management Consulting and will be joining the Deals team, where I interned the summer prior. When I signed, I was traveling while studying abroad in Europe, staying in cheap hostels where sometimes the fellow guests were homeless locals who had lost their apartments. It was humbling to recognize my privilege in attending a business school and having the career prospects that I did. It put perspective on the stress and worry of recruiting – in reality, wherever you end up after business school, you’ll be fine.

What are your long-term professional goals? Apply corporate discipline and strategic thinking to non-profits to help maximize their impact.

“I knew I wanted to major in business when…I watched a documentary about Costco’s strategy and was fascinated by how Costco “broke all the rules of retail,” yet customers would walk out pushing shopping carts full of hundreds of dollars’ worth of goods.”

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be…studying linguistics, literature, and/or philosophy.”

“Before I entered business school, I wish I had known…that there is no purpose without passion.”

What was the happiest moment of your life? I don’t think any one moment stands out to me as being the happiest. Rather, I think life passes by in moments – if you can remember to be present for those moments, then you’ll have a lot of happy moments.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? In high school, I joined a new Girl Scout troop that had already been raising money for years for a San Francisco trip. To catch up, I threw myself into selling Girl Scout cookies. I set goals, overcame my shyness, developed sales strategies, and dedicated many hours to selling outside grocery stores. I sold 750 boxes that year, then 1200 the next year, and 2000 the following year. I became one of the top sellers in my area. The first 750 boxes showed me the power of goal-setting and hard work, and gave me confidence that has been invaluable.

What animal would you choose to represent your professional brand? I’d be a spider. They spin webs that are useful tools yet are also beautiful works of art, with silk that is stronger than steel and yet can catch the wind – webs that are resourcefully created with each unique setting and a clear goal in mind. That’s what I’d hope my work product would represent.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? It’s a cliché answer, but I’d have to thank my parents. They taught me the value of self-discipline, reflection and personal growth, and hard work. They have supported me in the various programs and trips I’ve had the privilege of taking part in, which have expanded my worldview and given me the gift of context and perspective. They have helped me build a strong foundation but were confident enough in me to step back and let me grow into my own.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? In business school, we talk about personal brand, and while this is a contentious concept among my peers (i.e., “How can you describe yourself as a brand? You are a human, not a business”) – I believe this concept has truth to it. How you carry yourself matters. People notice. Your impact on the world is your impact on the people around you. As such, I’d like to be someone whose values ring clear and whose actions and words align with those values. And I hope that doesn’t start only after graduation, but rather that this is what my peers would say of me now.

Favorite book: A Field Guide to Getting Lost, Rebecca Solnit

Favorite movie: I know a lot of Disney songs by heart.

Favorite musical performer: Any Brazilian jazz

Favorite vacation spot: Domestic: New Orleans // International: Iceland

What are your hobbies? Watercoloring, singing in public and from high places, watching TEDtalks, powerwalking, “deep talks”, opening new tabs on Chrome

What made Jessica such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2017?

“Among the students that I’ve had the privilege to connect with in my role over the years, Jessica has stood out from the beginning. She exemplifies a Stern Undergraduate student. Jessica has an obvious drive to serve, and in her continuous pursuit of knowledge and true understanding, she has emerged as a passionate, compassionate, and courageous individual among her peers. Whether her goal is to delve into the inner workings of Corporate Social Responsibility in China or global environmental Sustainable Finance, or to experience the humanity of the refugee plight in Greece, Jessica does not hesitate to dive into challenges. She is an emerging leader, and I very much look forward to seeing the positive impact that she creates.”

Kristy McCadden
Senior Associate Director, Social Impact Programming
NYU Stern School of Business Undergraduate College


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