Smith Soc Featured Member
Questions and Answers with Adam Smith Society Members.
Wen Zhi Shao | Notre Dame Chapter
Wen Zhi Shao currently serves as the vice president of Marketing for the Notre Dame Mendoza chapter of the Adam Smith Society. Prior to pursuing his MBA at the University of Notre Dame, Wen Zhi had a distinguished career focused on the high-tech industry, working as a project manager on site expansion with Amazon and serving as a Business Development Executive with FDS Global Consulting. Upon completion of his MBA, Wen Zhi will be returning full time to a business strategy role with Intel Corporation. Outside of the professional hemisphere, Wen Zhi is an avid powerlifter, spelunker and capitalist.
What's the most exciting part about being in the tech industry writ large?
The most exciting part about a career in tech is the opportunity to work on the forefront of technology which will impact the world at large. At Amazon, I had the opportunity to work with AWS, a cloud computing business which hosts websites, businesses and even data of governmental agencies. At FDS, I had the opportunity to work on driverless platooning technology and I was particularly delighted by the debate at our national conference last year. Finally, at Intel, I will have the opportunity in helping set the business strategy pertaining to the internal component giant's leap into the 5G revolution.
What's your advice to other Smith Soc members exploring a career in tech?
My advice to those in our Adam Smith family who are interested in pursuing a career in tech is two fold. First, don't be afraid of not having a technical background. I often hear people say, I can't work in tech, I can't code! I am the first to admit, I do not code, I cannot talk the language of computers, and my knowledge on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning is conversational at best. While technical capabilities in any of the aforementioned fields are beneficial, my focus is on having an understanding of the business model and strategic direction of technology companies. Second, pertaining to the transition to tech; don't focus on talking shop, instead focus on forming relationships. The people side of the tech industry is often glossed over, but in my experience, the people matter more than ever before. Especially in an environment like the Silicon Valley, everyone knows everyone. I have had more success based on my character and self-branding than showcasing the wins on my resume.
What's at the top of your spelunking bucket list?
As I wrap up the final year of my MBA, I come to the realization that I may not have the opportunity to come back to Indiana in the foreseeable future. With an intense passion for spelunking, I currently have explored the depths at Marengo Cave, dived into the underground lake at Squire Boone Caverns and felt the eroding limestone at Wolf Cave in McCormick State Park. My next destination is to explore the caves of Spring Mill State Park and my personal goal is to explore every cave in the state of Indiana prior to graduation. Needless to say, I still have a long way to go!