Building a Lifelong Network

Building A Lifelong Network


One of my most influential experiences at UNC has been being a part of the Adams Apprenticeship at UNC Kenan-Flagler’s Entrepreneurship Center. It has given me the confidence and perspective to be a builder in my personal and professional pursuits.

Junior year is a hectic time because everyone I knew stepped foot on campus worried about summer internship recruiting or were already worried before the school year even started. I went into junior year looking to take a different approach, a riskier one, to not go through traditional means, but to meet as many people as I can and learn from those across a variety of industries. I knew this risk could have easily led me to have a summer with no opportunities, but I had developed a network through the Adams Apprenticeship that I was confident would lead me to the right opportunity.

Spring semester rolled around and all my peers were locking in their summer plans. I have been countlessly meeting entrepreneurs in the triangle area and hopping on calls through cold emails, learning as much as I could. The two criteria that I had for myself was to find a tech startup in New York City. I had the amazing opportunity to be on the west coast the previous summer and wanted a change of environment in a city exponentially growing their tech and entrepreneurship ecosystem.

In the Adams Apprenticeship, we discuss risk regularly, and I was feeling the pressure of taking such a risk as the school year was winding down. One of the best components about the program is the pod dinners where we get to meet advisors in the network in a smaller group setting. This is where I met an advisor, Joel Bush, that introduced me to his work in transit. I reached out to him after the pod dinner and he was graciously willing to connect me with a company in NYC that he highly regarded.

The introduction led to a couple of interviews, which led to an offer, and an unforgettable summer experience. I was able to immerse myself in the transit industry and work with an incredible team who are all passionate about usability and accessibility in tech in order to shape the future of public transit.

I owe my experience to the Adams Apprenticeship and the UNC community. The entire process taught me the value of building a mutually beneficial network. It taught me to always have a mindset of a builder, which strives to continuously learn and recognize opportunity.

I will forever have in mind the value of building a network. My experience gave me clarity of my interests and further expanded my network of talented and passionate industry leaders.

I have always been someone opened to listen to anyone because you never know what a conversation could lead to. I hope always hold onto this mindset because life is not a linear path and people are the ones who can make all the difference.

By Jerry Fung (BA’19)