7th Annual ‘I AM LIMITLESS’ Conference Highlights Careers in Social Impact
Startup founders, CEOs, musicians, and alumni came together last week to inspire students to consider the many ways they might be able to build careers in social impact at the 7th Annual I AM LIMITLESS Conference. Organized by the Career Development Center, the conference was the largest in school history with four keynote speakers, five Alumni Dialogues, eight Social Impact Panels, a virtual career fair, and hundreds of student participants, both on-site and online.
The conference kicked off with keynote addresses and panel discussions with alumni who came back to campus to share their experiences and career paths. Keynote speakers included the founder of the venture capital company Seeding, founder and CEO of the social networking app AlphaLink, founder and trainer at the EQwind Emotional Intelligence Institute, and an alumnus who founded a company that specializes in creating partnerships between Chinese & Israeli entities operating in the public-private sphere.
“My greatest takeaway in the morning from the I AM LIMITLESS Conference was from Paula Mueller’s session,'' said conference Attendee, Bruce Zhang ’25. “Mueller mentioned two important qualities when you are facing social impact issues. Within the field of entrepreneurship, the two qualities that most matter are resilience and kindness.”
The keynote speakers encouraged students to say yes to opportunities, seizing any chance they are presented with to explore their interests.“There is one piece of advice that I can give everyone, and that is saying yes to opportunities,” said Paula Mueller, founder of EQwind Emotional Intelligence Institute. NYUSH alumnus and founder of INNONATION, Amit Gal-Or ’18, echoed this sentiment, especially encouraging current students to start their entrepreneurship journey while still in school in Shanghai.
“China presents a golden array of opportunities for entrepreneurs and the most important thing is to try. Do it while you’re a student - you will gain skills and knowledge that others don’t have, and they compound on top of each other,” he said. “NYU Shanghai is a platform that will allow you to do this in quite an incredible way. The fact that the school is a start-up school means this spirit exists within. The main thing is just to start,” he said. During his time as a student at NYU Shanghai and later as a Yenching Scholar at Peking University, Gal-Or raised over 100 million RMB for different ventures in Israel and China. “I don’t think entrepreneurship and educational studies necessarily conflict,” he said. “In some ways they even help each other.”
Yuchen Jin, CEO of Alphalink opened his speech with a performance highlighting the cross cultural nature of music - combining the traditional Chinese bamboo clapper with modern rap. Jin recalled his time studying in the U.S. as valuable for helping him develop his cross-cultural understanding, and encouraged students to find creative ways to explore each other’s cultures.
The afternoon included Alumni Dialogue talks with NYU Shanghai alumni from the classes of ’17, ’18, ’20, and ’21. In discussions moderated by current students, alumni talked about what led them from the classroom at NYU Shanghai to the various fields and jobs they decided to pursue from sustainability consultant to analyst at the United Nations to marketer at an arts organization.
Frank Jiaqiao Xiang ’20, an analyst at McKinsey & Company spoke in the Saturday afternoon session, “Connecting Sustainable Development with Enduring Commercial Success.” Xiang surprised the audience with a mock consulting case question, challenging students to figure out how to calculate the number of smoke detectors sold in Shanghai each year.
Throughout the week, the CDC collaborated with several departments to host additional mixed mode Social Impact panels. Topics ranged from a faculty panel on creating social impact through research, to current students talking about leadership development through community service opportunities. “Especially given the theme of the I AM LIMITLESS Conference, we hope that student attendees will now be familiar with the importance of the social service spirit and echo it throughout their career development process,” said Gu Yuwei from the Career Development Center. “Even now, as college students, they are able to make positive social contributions through internships, community-engaged activities, volunteer opportunities, and on-campus student leadership positions,” added NYU Shanghai Career Advisor Melanie Xu.
Gu Yuwei leading students in a workshop “Intern and Work in China: For International Students”
Bale Chen ‘24 interviews Lathika Chandra Mouli ’17 via zoom. Mouli is currently based in Singapore as a Sustainability Solution Consultant at ENGIE Impact. “What really drives me is knowing that I am helping people and that I am adding value in a way that is really important to the problem at hand,” she said.
In addition to the talks and panels throughout the week, the CDC also held a Virtual Career Fair, accessible on Handshake and organization info sessions. For more information or questions about social impact careers or career planning, students are encouraged to email email@example.com, or take advantage of walk-in hours every Tuesday and Thursday from 12:00-1:30 PM at the CDC Career Hub on the sixth floor.