Inside the Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Seminar: Q&A with Anne-Marie Hwang



Anne-Marie is a junior from Dallas, TX, studying Mathematical Computational Science (MCS). She is the VP of Spark and has been on BASES since freshman year. 


Why do people take the MS&E 472: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders series?

I think people enjoy the MS&E 472: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders series because we feature speakers from different industries with different entrepreneurial journeys. Much like the student body, our speakers are diverse, so there is something for everyone. I have noticed that after each lecture, there will always be a swarm of students approaching the speaker either to solicit advice, network, or ask more questions. It is clear that students take ETL because they are interested in entrepreneurship in general, but I think it’s really awesome how students will find certain speakers to be so thought-provoking and inspirational that they will reach out after class to try to connect.


What have you found to be the most valuable experience from ETL?

As a sophomore, I was one of the teaching assistants for ETL, and the last speaker of fall quarter was Jay Kaplan, the co-founder of Synack, Inc. At that point in time, I was a sophomore, and I had just declared mathematical computational science because I realized that I had loved my math and computer science courses from freshman year. However, because I came from a more of a humanities background, I did not not know much about the tech industry. However, as I listened to Jay speak about his experience transferring the knowledge he gained working at the NSA to his startup, I was inspired. I was excited by the cybersecurity industry and, in particular, his company, which specialized in crowdsourced penetration testing. I approached him after his talk to ask about opportunities at Synack because I knew I wanted to work at Synack. I later emailed him, interviewed at the company, and worked at Synack in the spring and summer, and I had an absolute blast learning more about tech and startups firsthand. I will probably forever be the biggest advocate for ETL; I cannot stress how important it was to me because it not only exposed me to different entrepreneurial journeys but also gave me my first internship working in tech!


Who are some of the most notable speakers this fall?

There’s a terrific lineup this fall: Sandy Jen (co-founder of Honor), Bob Sutton (Stanford professor), Rich Barton (co-founder and executive chairman of Zillow Group), Catherine Berman (co-founder and CEO of CNote), Tristan Harris (co-founder and co-director of Time Well Spent), Amy Chang (founder and CEO of Accompany), Anne Wojcicki (co-founder and CEO of 23andMe), and Patrick Brown (founder and CEO of Impossible Foods).