SHORT PROFILE
Name:  Tingting Turski
Hometown:  Houston, TX
Undergrad:  Bachelor of Arts, Washington University in St. Louis, Arts & Sciences
Majors:  Math, Economics, and Biology
Activities:  College Council, Residential Advisor, Student Union, Alternative Spring Break, Habitat for Humanity, Campus Y Arts & Kids and Wydown Middle School volunteer tutor, lab researcher
1st Job:  Investment Banking Analyst @ Goldman Sachs
2nd Job:  Private Equity Associate @ Leonard Green & Partners
3rd Job:  Vice President, Special Situations @ TPG
Current Job:  Finance & Strategy Lead for Payments, Risk & Hardware @ Square
Internships:   Goldman Sachs, Research Labs
Linkedin:  linkedin.com/in/tingting-turski-573b9143/


Tingting Turski’s parents always encouraged her to choose a career that was the most difficult. Being an expert in your field ensures stability and makes you irreplaceable they said. Because Tingting was surrounded in math and science and likes helping people, medicine seemed like a natural choice. But the summer between her junior and senior years at WashU, Tingting was exposed to and captivated by the world of investment banking. The housing bubble would, not much later, collapse — causing the stock market to crumble and America to enter the Great Recession. Tingting had been in banking just a few months. Here, Tingting shares why she made the switch from studying medicine to finance and whether she ever regretted her decision to leave both medicine and her parents’ “choose the most difficult career” advice, behind.

Where were you born and raised?

I grew up in Houston, Texas, to parents who were both in math and science fields.  My mom worked at NASA and my dad was a math professor. I have one sister, who is seven years younger than me. I had a great childhood. My parents wanted us to try a lot of extracurriculars like ballet, piano, volunteering, and track, but they were pretty hands-off when it came to school so it’s lucky my sister and I were both pretty self-motivated.

I feel like some people have talents that are very apparent growing up, but I never really had that, to be honest, so I literally had no idea what I wanted to be when I got older.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I feel like some people have talents that are very apparent growing up, but I never really had that, to be honest, so I literally had no idea what I wanted to be when I got older. Because I was surrounded by math and science, I naturally gravitated toward those fields as a child. I find a lot of people follow what their parents do, but I knew early on that I didn’t want to be a professor or a rocket scientist. I was looking for something where I could combine my affinity for the sciences with helping people and medicine felt like a natural choice. My parents were also really supportive of that career track, which helped.

What was your path to WashU?

WashU had this dual admission program called University Scholars Program in Medicine, where you get admission into undergrad and med school at the same time. WashU has a stellar medical program and since I thought I wanted to be a doctor, getting into the University Scholars Program was a huge attraction.

Another big part of my choosing WashU was because WashU offered merit scholarships. My parents made a deal with my sister and I that they would pay for college and whatever amount we earned through merit scholarships or working jobs, we could keep. This is such a key differentiator, particularly if you may not qualify for need based aid but don’t come from a wealthy background. WashU is the only school I know of that is ranked in the top 20 undergrads that gives merit scholarships. My sister ended up going to WashU a few years later for the same reason because she was a Danforth Scholar and Langsdorf Scholar.

Tingting Turksi with WashU Friends
Tingting hanging out with friends at WashU

Did you know what you wanted to study at WashU?

My senior year of high school I became really interested in economics, kind of randomly, mostly because I had a great teacher, Mr. Clark, who was dynamic and engaging. He made economics come alive, and opened me up to this subject area that I’d never been exposed to but found fascinating. But I still thought I wanted to be a doctor, so I started in the Engineering school with biomedical engineering. I did that through junior year and then decided to switch to Arts & Sciences because it had more flexibility and choices. I had taken a few more economics courses by then and ended up majoring in economics, biology, and math and minoring in legal studies. I guess you can say I liked preserving option value.

As I was approaching the summer after junior year, I felt like I had a free summer to explore because I had finished my pre-med requirements and taken the MCAT already. I’d spent my summers working at WashU labs and thought I would be going back to WashU for medical school so I thought it’d be fun to live in New York for a summer. Completely randomly, I was hanging out with a high school friend of mine who had graduated a couple of years earlier from UPenn Wharton. He was working at a hedge fund in New York and told me that there were summer internships in something called investment banking, which I’d never heard of before. He sent me the website for Goldman Sachs and said, “what about trying this for the summer?” I literally had no idea what investment banking was or how competitive the internships were. I didn’t know anyone who had worked in investment banking and was completely unprepared for the interview process. The only interviews I’d done up to that point were for research labs, which are completely different than banking interviews.

I really got lucky because it was summer 2006, the height of the credit bubble, so Goldman was hiring one of their largest intern classes. There was a guy on the recruiting team who was a WashU alum and he really pushed for me to be hired despite not having any background in finance. 

I got a offer from Goldman and an offer from WashU med school and decided to defer med school for a year to see if I liked banking full time.

From the summer, I discovered that I really enjoyed banking. For me, the big difference was that banking was much faster-paced than medicine. I had immediate responsibilities and I found that high pressure environment was motivating and exciting. Medicine is a very long path. I’m 32 now. If I had stayed on the medical path, I would just be finishing my residency now and applying for a fellowship. That requires a lot of dedication and certainty that medicine is the right path for you. At the end of the day, I didn’t think I was dedicated enough to medicine. I got a offer from Goldman and an offer from WashU med school and decided to defer med school for a year to see if I liked banking full time.

I think I picked medicine because it seemed like a safe path, rather than because I was passionate about it.

How did you know medicine was maybe not for you?

I think I picked medicine because it seemed like a safe path, rather than because I was passionate about it. People gravitate toward things they’re good at, and my strengths were in math and science. I’d worked in labs throughout high school and college and found it interesting but I didn’t have the same passion that I saw in the researchers who headed up those labs. I felt like I was almost checking boxes of what I was supposed to do to get into a good medical school. It felt like a set path to advance to the next level that didn’t have a lot of freedom. When I started in investment banking, I felt completely out of my element but also so stimulated. I loved working with really smart people in a high-paced environment and found I embraced the challenge and stress. I was excited working in finance in a way that I hadn’t found working in labs. For me, I had looked at medicine as a set of trials to prove that I was ready for the next step – med school to internship to residency to fellowship. While I liked the end goal of being a doctor, I didn’t think I’d enjoy the process to get there. As I looked around at my classmates applying to medical school, I realized that I didn’t have the certainty to go down that path. And frankly, I didn’t think I’d be very successful if I wasn’t passionate about it.

Washington University in St Louis - School of Medicine

Was anything about the preparation for medicine exciting?

I enjoy working on a team to solve a problem. The biggest driver in how much I cared about a class or an extracurricular was the professor or the people I was working with. I found that to be true about the people I worked with at Goldman. What really excited me was that there were these incredibly smart, driven people who have high standards and challenged me to be better. That’s similar to my favorite parts of being pre-med – I learned most from being in study groups and talking through problems and working things out together. That’s what I thought being a doctor would be like, working with a team of other doctors and nurses to treat patients. But a lot of the medical route can be very solitary – like cramming for tests or running lab experiments. I realized I was really drawn to being on a team. You can only be so good on your own. You need other people to take your skills to the next level, whether it’s someone sharing their knowledge or you having to explain what you know to someone else. I think that’s the ultimate test of how much you really understand the material versus just understanding it at a surface level when you’re just reading and regurgitating facts.

The hardest part about the decision to leave medicine was feeling like I’d be really proud of what I did if I was a doctor because I’d be making people’s lives better. I don’t think I would have that level of personal satisfaction working in finance.

The hardest part for me choosing finance was that both my parents are very passionate about their work. My mom now works on nuclear fission and my dad works in robotic vision. They’re doing things they believe can change the world. They love talking about their work – although I don’t understand most of it. I wasn’t sure I had that in finance. I could see that our clients looked to us for advice and we contributed to making markets efficient, but I didn’t feel like I was making the world a better place. I didn’t realize how much that would matter to me or how much value to place on that. The hardest part about the decision to leave medicine was feeling like I’d be really proud of what I did if I was a doctor because I’d be making people’s lives better. I don’t think I would have that level of personal satisfaction working in finance.

What was it like giving up medicine for finance?

Working on a team and being challenged and learning a lot was what motivated me to join finance. I was really young when I made the decision and things like an organization’s culture or mission weren’t as important to me. What you see a lot of investment banking analysts say is, “hey, it’s really good training,” and then you can go do something else with the skills you learn. I thought it was exciting that at age 21, you could have access to management teams and insight into critical business decisions like M&A (mergers and acquisitions) and financing. That felt like really good training. A lot of people in finance end up retiring at age 40 and then doing something they’re passionate about or serving in the government or working with non-profits. I thought maybe I’ll learn a lot, build a skill set, and figure out how to make an impact later in my career.

They’re both all-consuming jobs that often will require you make sacrifices in your personal life but maintain a positive attitude.

What skills did you learn in finance that could be leveraged in the future?

You learn everything you need in investment banking on the job. Most analysts don’t come from finance backgrounds and there’s accounting and modeling bootcamp that you go through, but you really learn from doing. You learn technical skills like modeling and valuation but more importantly, you learn how to operate in a high-paced, frenzied environment and how to deal with demanding personalities. Banking teaches you discipline, which is actually pretty similar to medicine. They’re both all-consuming jobs that often will require you make sacrifices in your personal life but maintain a positive attitude. I think that is a good learning experience. You see people who are so driven that they’ve worked these crazy hours for years and find ways to remain motivated and juggle personal commitments.

Goldman Sachs

How was the Goldman analyst interview, since you only knew research labs?

It was hilariously bad. They asked me a ton of questions that I had no idea about. In hindsight, it’s really embarrassing because a lot of them were very simple questions that I should have known the answers to had I done more prep for the interview. I thought the interview was going so horribly that at one point I actually just hung up – I had a flip phone and I just panicked and closed the phone. I called them back a minute later and finished the interview but I thought there was no way I was going to get the job. Goldman does look for people who don’t have finance backgrounds and most of the Ivy League schools don’t have undergraduate finance programs, so I think they tailor questions to your background. I couldn’t answer any of their finance questions but I was a math major and I think I did well on the math questions.

WashU alumni really cared about bringing on other people from WashU and they fought to make those opportunities available.

You had a WashU alum in your corner, right?

Yeah. I think I applied to three or four banks and Goldman was the only one who gave me an interview or called me back, and I think that is in part due to the WashU alumni. Because the WashU alumni contingency was pretty small at Goldman, I always felt like it was particularly strong because people really wanted to help other alumni. Compared to schools that were basically feeders into Goldman, WashU alumni really cared about bringing on other people from WashU and they fought to make those opportunities available.

More than other banks, I think Goldman looks for people who they think are smart and hard working rather than people with prior experience. Their mentality is that they can teach people what they don’t know if they have the capacity to learn. I got very lucky with Goldman.

 

Tingting Turski with family
Tingting with her family

How did you parents react to your crossroads of medicine vs. finance?

My parents didn’t care as much about how I was performing academically – they never asked to see my grades – but that I was pushing myself. They always encouraged me to pursue more education – their advice was to do what was hardest, because you should be an expert in your field. As immigrants, they thought job security was important and their experience was that you ensure job security by being the best in your field. At the time, they didn’t understand what finance was and they were worried I was giving up on medicine because it was too hard and I was looking for an easier path. My decision was hard for my parents and I think they hoped I would go back to med school at some point.

I think you can learn a lot about a career by talking to people who have the jobs you aspire about what motivates them.

Have you thought about going back to medicine?

No, I haven’t. A lot of my classmates are still in medicine, so having seen their journey, it’s pretty challenging. The ones who are the happiest are those that are passionate enough that the hours and the grind doesn’t phase them. I think you can learn a lot about a career by talking to people who have the jobs you aspire about what motivates them. Are you excited and passionate about the same things they are? I think you’ll find that some people’s motivations really resonate with you and some don’t.

I think where medicine is today with reimbursement and insurance, it can be hard to feel the passion you have about helping people you have going into the profession. The day-to-day can feel like a grind, especially when you’re working 100 hours a week. Regulation has made things better in residency but I talked to some doctors who admitted that when they’re pushed past their sleep deprivation limits, their response wasn’t, “How do I do my best for this patient?” but “How do I handle this quickly so I can get a little sleep?” Look, that’s just one perspective on medicine and the fact that it resonated with me meant that medicine wasn’t the right path for me. On the other hand, I have friends who are doctors and very happy with the path they chose – I just depends on whether it’s right for you and whether you have the passion to sustain you during the hard times..

I didn’t want to make that decision because I was trying to run away from something.

Did you ever have second thoughts about leaving medicine?

I started at Goldman in 2007 in leveraged finance, which was probably the worst group to be in 2007. In my first year, I saw Bear Stearns fall and Lehman go bankrupt. There were rumors Goldman would be next and the leveraged finance group went through 4 rounds of layoffs. I felt like I was watching everything crumble in 2008 and it was scary sitting at my desk watching Goldman’s stock plummet every day. That was a time where all of my parents’ worst fears about not having job security and being easily replaceable rang true. You’re not doing a ton of financing or M&A because there’s no deals being done. It was such a tense time for the whole industry. When I had my one-year deferral option to go back to med school, I thought about it but realized I would only be going back because I was scared. I didn’t want to go back to medicine because I really missed it but because I was scared about what was happening in finance. That might mean that I shouldn’t be in finance, but it didn’t mean I should pursue medicine. I didn’t want to make that decision because I was trying to run away from something.

Tingting Turski at WashU Graduation Ceremony
Tingting with friends during WashU graduation

After your internship, did you get an offer; did you interview elsewhere?  

I didn’t interview anywhere else because I spent most of that fall applying to med school. In addition to WashU, I’d applied to three or four other med schools. I knew even as I was going through the med school process that my heart wasn’t really into it but I’d spent so many years working toward med school that I wanted to at least apply. I didn’t apply to other jobs because I really liked the people and culture at Goldman.

How would you describe the culture at Goldman?

Goldman is one of the best culture I’ve ever worked in. They’ve been able to motivate and retain a lot of very smart, talented, and hard working people. People, including myself, buy into the Goldman Kool-aid. What Goldman does really well is leverage their vast amount of knowledge – you could reach out to a person you’d never talked to before on a different team in a different country and ask them for their expertise because it was relevant to the client or project you were working on. It really felt like a team that wanted to get to the right answer.

When you’re there full-time, people expect you to put your head down and work in that group for two years.

How would you compare intern vs. full-time analyst life?

As an intern, there’s sort of a “shopping around” mentality where you can reach out to people in other groups and get coffee with different teams to figure out which group would be a good fit. I ended up switching groups between my internship and my full-time position because my internship was focused on a specific type of financing and I wanted to get a broader experience. I interned in a group called liability management, which works on debt restructuring, and I found it was very product focused on a specific scenario. There is a discovery element to the internship where Goldman is deciding whether to hire you but you’re also deciding whether you’d be happy there. When you’re there full-time, people expect you to put your head down and work in that group for two years. The benefit of being full-time is people are willing to invest a lot more in training you because you’re there for two years rather than two months.

What about Goldman was overhyped or under-hyped?

Goldman has a cache, and I definitely drank the Kool-aid. Their brand is very strong and they’re able to recruit a lot of talented people. I’ve always been impressed by the caliber of people I worked with at Goldman and I think the culture is under-appreciated. Comparing versus other investment banks is grading on a generous curve but I found people at Goldman genuinely cared and I have mentors from Goldman that I still keep in touch with. I worked in leveraged finance which focuses on raising debt to support merger and acquisitions (M&A) or an leveraged buyout (LBO). I will say that part of this is due to working in the leveraged finance group, which is set up differently than industry investment banking groups. In leveraged finance we basically sat in a trading floor layout. I sat next to the MD (Managing Director) and because you’re working closely with the same senior people, they look out for you. Our leveraged finance TMT (Technology, Media, & Telecom) team was about eight people, so it wasn’t this anonymous “Well, let’s just make Tingting pull all-nighters over and over again,” because they needed you to be functional on the next deal. It was a better lifestyle and a better culture than a lot of other banking groups I’ve heard of.

How did you get up-to-speed with the finance jargon?

This is pretty embarrassing, but I spent a lot of time searching Investopedia.com and checking my finance manuals from training. They do two to three months of all-day training for full-time analysts, which was extremely helpful for someone not from finance. I remember very viscerally my first day of summer internship and feeling so completely out of place because people were saying words I didn’t understand. All the other interns seemed to know each other, and I would learn it’s because many came from the same schools. I felt so in over my head and was worried I would never figure out what was going on. Over time though, you pick up things faster than you expect. That is something I’ve thought back about every time I try something completely new. I know I’m going to go through a challenging period of feeling really dumb as I learn the ropes.

Any time you start a new industry or a new job, you’re going to have times where you feel like the dumbest person, but you have to push through that, and you will.

Any time you start a new industry or a new job, you’re going to have times where you feel like the dumbest person, but you have to push through that, and you will. You’ll learn it and it’ll become second nature and you’ll be one of those people who new people wonder, “how do they know all this?” You have to have confidence in yourself to know you’re going to master it and you can’t be afraid of the challenge. That’s something I learned from my mom who has switched jobs every few years because she loves a new challenge and a steep learning curve. She got a PhD in fluid dynamics but somehow ended up at NASA because she was able to teach herself programming and rocket science. Now she works at a nuclear fission startup and is taking classes at Berkeley in machine learning and robotics. I’m nowhere near my mom’s level at challenging myself and learning new things, but I’ve always admired her ability to do that and I think it’s a very important skill.

Leonard Green Partners

How did you decide what to do after Goldman?

My next career choice was mainly driven by wanting to live in California. Being from Texas, I hated New York winters. I had a ton of fun in New York, but I didn’t see myself living there long-term. I wanted to move to California but I didn’t participate in the massive buy side recruiting process where all the private equity firms rush to interview analysts because I really liked Goldman and had people that were really supportive of my career there. I decided to stay at Goldman for a third year and had accepted an offer to stay on as an associate.

Then a recruiter reached out to me from Leonard Green – it was a fund that I hadn’t heard of but it was in California and it appealed to me because it had both a private equity and debt fund. I thought I could use my background in leveraged finance and get a broader experience than the traditional private equity fund. What sold me was that it was a small firm of 22 investment professionals at the time and they had very good results. At the time, Leonard Green had $15 billion in assets under management so the amount of capital per investment professional was several times most other private equity fund. I thought that dynamic would mean I could learn about a lot more types of deals. Also after working at such a huge firm like Goldman, I liked the idea of working with a small group whether you knew everything that the firm was doing and felt like you could have a much greater impact on the outcome.

Stanford Graduate School of Business

What did you optimize for when making big career decisions?

The things that I’ve always thought were most important in making any decision was where can I learn and grow the most. That was the driver behind why I went into banking initially. That’s how I thought about the decision of whether to go to business school or stay in investing. I was debating whether to go to the Stanford GSB (Graduate School of Business) or work at a hedge fund. GSB would be a chance to learn about management, culture, and soft skills – things that were unfamiliar to me. There are some people who have a natural command and confidence in larger groups and those aren’t natural skills for me. I thought GSB was a great opportunity to challenge myself to work on those skills versus doing stuff that I feel very comfortable doing – which is analysis and modeling.

It doesn’t matter how smart the people you work with are if they’re not willing to teach you and care about your development.

Texas Pacific Group TPG

When I chose to go to TPG Special Situations and later Square, the people I met in the interview process were the reasons I joined. They were a high caliber team that seemed to genuinely each working with each other. I thought I could learn a lot from them and that they are the type of people who would actually teach you. It doesn’t matter how smart the people you work with are if they’re not willing to teach you and care about your development. Those are things that have been really important to me.

Thinking back to WashU, what do you wish someone would have told you about your career?

At WashU, I think I approached classes as what I needed to fulfill requirements and tried to do just what was required to learn the material. That’s in part because I took on a large class load as a trip major who finished a semester early. I really jammed my schedule with as many classes as possible, and I was less focused on building relationships with professors and mastering concepts on a deeper level. That’s something I wish I had done differently. I wish that instead of thinking, “Okay, I need to finish this problem set,” I had gone to office hours and approached professors thinking, “Hey, I actually want to get to know this person who’s an expert in this field.” Even though I ended up doing something very different than what I majored in, it’s an incredible opportunity to have these people who are at the top of their fields who are very passionate about what they do. As a student, it’s often intimidating to approach professors but they’re not just interested in their profession, many also chose to teach because they care about your learning and want to build a relationship with students.

tingting-turski-volunteering-with-habitat-for-humanity.jpg
Tingting volunteering at Habitat for Humanity during her time at WashU

When you were not doing a problem set, what else did you do at WashU?

I was involved in our College Council for Ruby Umrath and later as an RA (Resident Advisor). I was interested in giving back so did a lot of volunteer activities like leading an Alternative Spring Break trip, working at Campus Y’s after school Arts N Kids program, and participating in Habitat for Humanity. On the medical side, I also worked in research labs and shadowed doctors in the ER to get a better understanding for the day-to-day of a doctor.

You had to help create a safe, home environment for students from many diverse backgrounds and perspectives. That’s really helpful in the workplace too…

What was your most valuable experience at WashU?

Being an RA for Umrath 2, because it helped me develop soft skills and learn to adapt to many different types of people with different interests. You had to help create a safe, home environment for students from many diverse backgrounds and perspectives. That’s really helpful in the workplace too and have drawn on that in working in finance and strategy at a tech firm. If I was only able to convince other people in finance of my approach, I wouldn’t get very far. To be successful, you have to build consensus and support cross-functionally. How do you get product managers, finance, sales, and support to align on a strategy and agree on prioritization? How do you convince people who have different perspectives and motivations than your own? How do you understand their perspective and address their concerns while driving towards a desired outcome?

I’m not a natural writer at all and I don’t enjoy writing but that’s a critical skill you have to have in any job – whether it’s emails or investment memos or board presentations.

What advice would you give to your freshman self?

I was way too planned out when I arrived at WashU. I thought I wanted to be pre-med and study econ and math so I mapped out all the classes I would need to take to fulfill the requirements for these majors and the core requirements which didn’t leave a lot of room for exploring different classes. Now I wish I could go back and do more of a liberal arts education. I find so many of these subjects fascinating now and I wish I had taken the time to get a broader education. I believe learning about art history, psychology, astronomy, and anthropology makes you a much more well-rounded human being. At the time I just thought, “Oh, I just want to fulfill the pre-med requirements and just check the box with core classes”, in part because I worried I wouldn’t be good at those other courses and didn’t want to risk dragging down my GPA. I thought of myself as a math and science person. I’m not a natural writer at all and I don’t enjoy writing but that’s a critical skill you have to have in any job – whether it’s emails or investment memos or board presentations. You almost need to take more classes in subjects that don’t come naturally to you to challenge yourself.

I’ve been unhappy in jobs, and I think I learned a lot more from being unhappy than the times I’ve been happy.

What successes or failures have you learned from the most?

I’ve been unhappy in jobs, and I think I learned a lot more from being unhappy than the times I’ve been happy. When you’re happy, you don’t realize all the factors contributing to that and you take things for granted. I was happy at Goldman, but I didn’t fully appreciate the culture or people until I left. When you’re unhappy in a job, you study the circumstances and ask yourself what makes the culture the way it is, why it doesn’t work for you, and how you would change it. You also look back at your decision process entering that job. What could you have done better in your diligence process the next time you’re interviewing to make sure it’s a good fit? Did you talk to people who have left the company? What were the signs of the culture that you missed?

It has been at the places I’ve had the most challenging times where I’ve learned the most about what actually matters to me and contributes to my overall happiness and being successful at a job. For me, it’s come down to working with people that are not only smart but actually want to teach, mentor, and develop you.

Everyone I know has made a misstep in their career at one point or another. No one loves every job they’ve had, and the times you make mistakes help you better calibrate for the next job. Career failures are sort of like breakups in that way. You learn from the experience and refine what you want and need in a job or relationship.

Squareup

Do you agree with your parents advice, “choose the hardest thing?” What is your guiding philosophy?

We’re all going to spend a lot of time in our jobs so the people matter. You spend so much time and energy finding the right friends and partner in life, but you end up spending more time with colleagues, who you didn’t get to pick. The people you’re working with can’t be overlooked. I cannot stress enough that the people you’re working with are key to your happiness, professional development, and success in any job.

The other guiding philosophy that my mom instilled in me is not to be fearful of trying something new. The things you don’t know are always going to be greater than the things you know, and that can be overwhelming at times. Changing careers is challenging because you often have to take a step back in your title or role or comp and you have to prove yourself all over again in a new field. This happened when I switched from medicine to finance and again when I switched from investing to industry. When I left TPG for Square, I went from being a VP working with associates to being an individual contributor. Other people who were at the level were a few years younger than me and it kind of felt like a demotion. Plus I took a very significant pay cut. It felt scary to pivot and walk away from the track I was on. I’d been lucky to be somewhat successful in finance, and moving to tech could be a total train wreck. But I took the risk because I strongly believed I was up for the challenge and that long term I’d be happier switching careers. Don’t be fearful of taking a risk or walking away from a path because of how much you’ve invested in it if it’s not the right path for you.

I wouldn’t have said that working for a mission I believed in was that important to me when I was starting out my career.

Tingting Turski - Presenting at Square
Tingting gives a presentation at the Square all-hands meeting

Any ​final wisdom to share with WashU students?

I would have never known this in finance, but I do feel very differently now working at a company where I feel excited and motivated by what they do and their impact. I strongly believe in Square’s mission of economic empowerment. Square was founded with the purpose of enabling small businesses to be able to close a sale through accepting credit cards, something many small businesses traditionally didn’t have access to. The mission isn’t just some words written down but it’s actually felt every day through the decisions we make. In meetings, the focus is always on doing what’s right for our sellers, even if that’s contrary to maximizing profit. It surprised me a lot at first because it’s so different from the view I’ve often seen in finance. I wouldn’t have said that working for a mission I believed in was that important to me when I was starting out my career. But I’ve come to appreciate how important it really is to me. You go home feeling differently. You wake up feeling excited. If you find a place whose mission is aligned with what you value and the impact you want to make on the world, it completely changes your motivation and dedication to your job.

 

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