After 17 years in venture capital, Jennifer Hsin ’98 knows a thing or two about good investments. And she has her sights set on a new one: Maryland Smith students and entrepreneurs.
Hsin, vice president at Clark Enterprises and a partner at its private equity arm, CNF Investments, is making an investment through her continued relationship with the Maryland Smith’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, sharing her time, expertise and financial support.
Hsin serves on Dingman’s Board of Advisors and coaches competitors in its annual Pitch Dingman Competition, most recently 2021 winner Brin Xu.
Dingman’s offerings and student engagement opportunities, as well as its mission to empower and equip student entrepreneurs, are critically important in today’s world, Hsin says. To play a role in that, she says, is exciting.
“The safety net of being able to learn entrepreneurial skills in a university setting is incredible because people can dip their toes into things that they were previously never able to do and without the financial risk associated with entrepreneurship. To have programming that instills confidence in students, exposes them to different types of people and develops project management skills is an invaluable asset.”
That level of support is something that Hsin says she appreciates even more after working full-time during college as an accounting and finance student to fund her education. That experience, she says, serves as a point of inspiration for paving the way for other students now.
“The opportunities I had, the people that I met and the confidence I gained – I always think of them as an investment,” says Hsin. “I finally feel I’ve reached a particular point in my life where I am now at a place to give back and help others get the same opportunities – and more – than I did.”
Hsin is back in the classroom these days, this time as an instructor. She says she always wanted to teach. She began by facilitating workshops and seminars through the Dingman Center. Then in summer 2021, the opportunity arose for her to become a part-time lecturer at Maryland Smith.
It was a new experience, and that was part of the allure. New experiences are where growth happens, Hsin says.
In her course, Growth Strategies for Emerging Companies, students work with an existing business and make actionable growth recommendations for the firm.
“I love the energy of students and how well-rounded and hungry they are for information. They are so much smarter and more mature than I was at their age,” says Hsin. “We’re seeing a profile of a student that’s self-motivated, energetic and interested in learning. It’s been such a joy to work with all of them.”
Hsin says she is excited to support students in the classroom and to encourage others to get involved with the Dingman Center.
“To be able to see actual ripple effects is amazing,” says Hsin. “I’m glad to see more people getting excited about Dingman and I hope we continue to bring others into that funnel by donating in any way they can.”
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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business
The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and flex MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, business master’s, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.