2023 Best & Brightest Business Major: Jieying “Jo” Tong, New York University (Stern)

Jieying “Jo” Tong

New York University, Stern School of Business

“Aspiring investor by day, indie artist by night, country music fanatic and foodie 24/7.”

Fun fact about yourself: I make music with my twin sister, JaJa, as part of the band Goldlove— we’ve released 11 songs to date.

Hometown: Greenville, South Carolina

High School: Riverside High School

Major: Business, Concentrations in Finance and Computing & Data Science

Minor: Business of Entertainment, Media & Technology

Favorite Business Course: Professional Responsibility & Leadership (PRL), the last class in our required four-course Social Impact core, with Professor Maria Patterson was such an eye-opening course. Through analyzing texts by Laozi, William Wordsworth, and notable business publications, we discussed what it meant to achieve “The Good Life” as a business professional while managing various stakeholders. PRL challenged my perspectives on personal success, and it prompted me to reflect deeply on the social impact I want to make with the rest of my career. This course covered invaluable topics on leadership and ethics that I would encourage incoming business students to think about!

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Entrepreneurial Exchange Group – President
  • Consult Your Community – President
  • The Private Equity Group – Corporate & Alumni Relations Director
  • Beta Alpha Psi – Investment Banking Division Mentor
  • Scholars of Finance – Vice President of Marketing
  • Valuation Services Group – Vice President
  • NYU Stern – Entrepreneurship Peer Mentor
  • Undergraduate Stern Women in Business – Mentor
  • Social Impact Scholars – Operations Consultant
  • Dean’s List
  • Resident Assistant
  • WNYU Radio – DJ and Engineer, Songland NYU
  • NYU Saxophone Orchestra

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • HITMKR (New York) – Marketing Intern
  • Evercore (New York) – Investment Banking Summer Analyst (Generalist M&A)
  • CM Equity Partners (New York) – Analyst
  • Alchemy Capital Partners (New York) – Private Equity Intern
  • Girls Who Invest (New York) – Online Intensive Scholar
  • ChalkTalk (New York) – Project Manager
  • Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator (New York) – Operations Intern
  • TheGuarantors (New York) – Underwriting Intern
  • Partify (New York) – Product Operations Intern
  • J&J Records LLC (New York) – Co-founder

Where will you be working after graduation? I will be working as an Investment Banking Analyst in Evercore’s M&A division upon graduation.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The biggest lesson I learned in business school was that a business is defined by the people within it. During my sophomore year internship at Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, I remember almost every pitch started with extensive team introductions. Throughout the program, I observed firsthand how founding teams formulated strategies based upon their own unique skill sets, personal relationships, and ideas. For example, the management style of a technical founder led to a completely different team environment compared to that of a founder with a background in sales. The classes at Stern furthered this notion and taught me ways to evaluate and align a group’s strategy, goals, and culture. I realized that the people-centric aspects of running a business could play a larger role in its success than reaching new customers or improving the bottom line.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Lean into your own unique strengths and interests! Business is such a broad field that requires people with all skill sets. Rather than trying to compete with those around you, I believe the best way to stand out is by reflecting on your own unique capabilities and bringing them to the table. As a freshman studying finance, I was afraid that my lack of experience in the field would make me seem less employable. Although my internships and extracurriculars didn’t quite align with any one path, I learned to tell my own interesting, authentic, and memorable narrative.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? My biggest surprise from majoring in business was the enormous amount of mentorship I received. When I started business school, I sought out upperclassmen mentors to answer a few random questions I had come up with about the finance industry. However, they took the initiative to greatly broaden my understanding of the field. For the next two years, one mentor would sit with me and hammer out my resume down to the bullet spacing. Another mock interviewed me every weekend during investment banking recruiting season, and yet another referred me to my first VC internship when my original opportunity was paused due to COVID-19. These acts were completely unexpected, and I am so grateful for the mentorship at Stern. Now an upperclassman, I have tried to give back to the NYU community in the same way.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? I definitely wish I took more advantage of NYU’s resources outside of my primary concentration. As an underclassman, I often shied away from events that my friends didn’t want to attend just because I was afraid of going alone. As a result, I ended up at mostly finance events and little else. I remember attending a digital marketing workshop freshman fall and coming to the terrifying realization that I was the only undergraduate there. That session ended up being incredibly rewarding. If I could repeat my time at business school, I would have tried to explore more outside my academic interests at the time, just to experience something I wouldn’t normally do.

What business leader do you admire most? During my Professional Responsibility & Leadership class last semester, I read an article about entrepreneur and author Jaqueline Novogratz. She is the founder and CEO of Acumen, a nonprofit global venture capital fund that invests in startups addressing global poverty. A pioneer in impact investing, Novogratz demonstrates unwavering commitment to her mission, turning down profitable but “unimpactful” opportunities. At a time when impact investing is not proven to generate materially higher returns, I’m inspired by her risk-taking, drive to create a difference in the world, and the scalable means through which she achieves that impact.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? My senior year, I was president of the Entrepreneurial Exchange Group, Stern’s entrepreneurship student club. My team and I built a training curriculum, mentorship program, and consulting pipeline from scratch— in a way it was our own startup venture. I remember spending weekends in a study room writing internal process documents, building the club infrastructure, and discussing our vision for the group. Most of all, I am proud of the tight-knit community that we’ve built. Now with 60 active members and a network extending from New York to San Francisco, I love hearing from members that the club has led them to find startup co-founders, musical collaborators, roommates, and lifelong friends!

Which classmate do you most admire? My Entrepreneurial Exchange Group (EEG) co-pilot, Pranav Kanchi,  is someone I deeply admire. It’s not just for his knowledge of literally any topic under the sun, but for his commitment to teaching those around him. He is one of the only people I know who will happily take three hours out of his busy day to help explain a topic to a student he just met. Since working with him in EEG, I have watched him personally mentor dozens of members to grasp the training curriculum and connect 1:1 with teammates to hear their feedback. Pranav’s intelligence and care for those around him continuously inspires me, and makes him stand out as a truly amazing teammate and friend.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I owe everything to my family, friends, and mentors for supporting and helping me to grow as a professional and leader. Most of all, I want to thank my twin sister and Goldlove partner in crime, JaJa. She constantly pushes me to strive for perfection in my work quality, challenging the limits to what I think I can do. Whether I am stuck on the wording for lyrics, experiencing an epiphany from a new book I’m reading, or cramming for a quiz the next day, JaJa is always there to provide feedback and a fresh perspective.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  • Become a professor and help cultivate future business leaders
  • Create a mentorship and scholarship program to educate high school students in disadvantaged areas about diverse careers

What are your hobbies? I spend my free time songwriting and producing— I have released over 100 songs for various artists over the years! When I am not in the studio, I enjoy playing soccer, hiking around the city, visiting pop-ups in NYC, and scouring the web for discounted Broadway tickets.

What made Jo such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“Jo does it all! She started a record label, served as president of the Entrepreneurship Exchange Group (EEG), was hired as the Entrepreneurship Peer Mentor, and sits on a variety of clubs. She really took the time to explore her options and resources, and as a result has a clear sense of herself and what she can offer the world. Jo has a strong creative drive, relentless professional exploration, and has built up the community with her extensive mentorship.”

Mandy Lancour
Senior Associate Director of Professional Development & Career Education

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