When I walked into room G50 to hear an M&T alum speak earlier this semester, I came in expecting a career talk on venture capital and how to break into the industry. Instead, I left with a much more powerful lesson on self and a greater understanding and clarity of the world we live in. That was the effectiveness of Jesse Beyroutey, a 2011 M&T alum who left a large group of M&T students energized and more thoughtful than ever before.
Jesse was invited to speak to us as part of the generous donation from the Barer Family to run a lecture series that would give students a taste of life after Penn. But early on Jesse’s lecture transcended a typical “talk” and instead transformed into a discussion on self and how to challenge the many constraints that are put on us. The conversation addressed the need to be more introspective and ask ourselves the discerning question of why we make certain decisions. Jesse pushed us to challenge assumptions and surpass our ego to make decisions that are correct for us, and not anyone else.
The idea of basing actions not on what others think is not necessarily new, but Jesse was able to phrase it in a different way backed by his life experiences. Hearing about his journey, and particularly the struggles he faced was an enlightening experience that brought some of these intangible sayings into fruition. Jesse’s humble and warm demeanor further encouraged us to ask him questions most of us are uncomfortable in asking – from what really happens after Penn to how to make the most of our remaining time here.
The realism of the talk was moving, and also made me realize the breadth of experiences that M&T alum have to offer, and have chosen to offer current students. Jesse himself is a Partner at IA Ventures and was just recently listed on the esteemed Forbes 30 under 30 list. Yet, despite these honors, he and countless other alums have made themselves available and have continuously come back to share their successes, struggles, and insights.
It’s in these conversations and stories where lessons not taught in classrooms are learned, and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to hear them!
Parth, from Chantilly, Virginia, is a member of the M&T Class of 2018. He studies Computer Science within Penn Engineering and Finance, Management, and Organizational Effectiveness in the Wharton School.