This week, we are featuring Kitty Kwan, one of our two incoming SWIB co-presidents for 2016-2017! Congratulations, Kitty!
Kitty is currently VP of Community Management and a junior majoring in Management Science and Engineering. Kitty has some insightful thoughts and advice regarding her career track, and will be sharing her diverse experiences in tech and finance.
Thinking back, what led you to join SWIB?
I don’t have great reasons for why I joined SWIB – they’re very typical “freshman-looking-for-commits-reasons”. I wanted a place where I could learn more about my interests and be a part of a community of incredible women. I didn’t have a strong reason to join, but after I did, I got what I was hoping for and was stunned by the level of responsibility and growth opportunities that I was put into.
For me, the reasons for joining SWIB are not nearly as important to me as the reasons that I’ve chosen to commit to this organization the past three years.
What are some unconventional skills that you've gained from SWIB?
Apart from learning how to juggle multiple things and being really good at multi-tasking while speaking on the phone with someone I’ve never met, I think that one of the most important things is knowing how manage relationships that are both personal and “professional”. SWIB really gave me the opportunity to step up into leadership positions where I had to manage a team and work with women who were also my good friends.
What's changed most about you (professionally and personally) since your earlier years at Stanford?
I’ve learned to take criticism a lot better and be able to use that to change in a better way. At the same time, I’ve learned to discern productive versus unproductive criticism.
#1 best experience/moment from SWIB?
My favorite experiences from SWIB are those that make my team or teammates feel a huge sense of accomplishments and closer, as friends. Freshmen year, I had the most amazing fellow finance interns. We put on this event called “Women in Tech and Finance”, which was a huge hit. While in hindsight, it wasn’t super creative or unique, but WOW we were so proud of ourselves. Even today, we still talk about how great it was and we still grab meals. Those are the moments that make SWIB special to me.
You've worked at a lot of successful companies, from Merrill Lynch to Salesforce. What were some of the defining/milestone moments?
It’s hard to pinpoint specific moments, but it’s always a great feeling to feel that others really believe in my work ability and be handed responsibility that I don’t necessarily feel like I deserve. But at the same time, I’ve learned that company culture and being surrounded by intellectually stimulating and fun people are just as important as the responsibility.
Additionally, each work experience is a learning experience that leads me away from some careers and hopefully towards something else. While I still have no idea, I’ll be pursuing Tech investment banking at Goldman Sachs this coming summer. I’m a bit scared, but I know that it will be challenging and move me in yet another direction.
What was your personal journey in choosing your major?
I was really intrigued by how Management Science and Engineering looked on ExploreCourses before freshman year started. I started off freshmen year with it and have really thoroughly enjoyed the breadth of classes that I’m exposed to. What’s better, I feel like the major has only gotten more interesting because I’m now at a point where I have the flexibility to choose between so many amazing MS&E classes. I really think that what I learn in my classes are no longer “in one ear and out the other”, but really relevant to life and everyday interactions with people.
What was your personal journey in choosing your industry of choice? Do you see that changing later?
I can’t say that I’ve chosen an industry yet. So far, I’ve dabbled between Tech and Finance and really can’t say that I have a preference. I love the pace and rigor of both industries and so I really hope to pursue more internships/job opportunities to truly figure it out. This coming summer will definitely be my most integrative summer for the two, doing Tech investment banking.
I think that I will always be willing to change industries to be at a place that excites and challenges me. I know that this summer will be a formative experience, and am really excited to keep learning other industries.
What is your coolest accomplishment from Stanford?
I have a pretty high centrality score in my social networks class. Even though it’s only a sample of about 60 students, it reminds me how lucky I am to have met and interacted with so so many amazing people at Stanford.
A few words of wisdom?
In my opinion, good people are good to everyone. Surround yourself with these people!