Jay Williams on the passion to learn

Jay Williams ’19, born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, is a junior at Syracuse University pursuing a double degree in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and the Martin J. Whitman School of Management majoring in Finance and Economics. He is a seasoned young business professional who is multifaceted in a range of different business processes, and determined to focus his skills on startup and emerging technologies.

At a young age, Williams had a huge interest in the finance realm and a burning desire to learn how the economy functioned. This led to taking it upon himself to take courses in high school dealing with economics and browsing the web to answer his questions. His tenacity drove him to be offered an internship on Wall Street in his junior year of high school for one of the big insurance giants – AIG. At the time, Williams was 16 years old, entering his first job ever on Wall Street, and interning in the Corporate Tax sector where he worked on audits, stress testing and analyzed quarterly changes.

Williams’ drive and capacity to learn and excel, soon led him to an offer for another internship  at Morgan Stanley in Corporate Finance & Financial Planning. His determination to continue learning led to an opportunity to intern at Bloomberg LP during his senior year summer.

That career track is an incredible accomplishment for an 18 year old.  Williams feels that his experiences, especially at a young age, allowed him to solidify his passion for finance, and enabled him to apply himself to the fullest in the university setting.

In college, Williams started to direct his attention to startup and emerging technologies, where he saw a tremendous growth potential. Entering college with three amazing internships, a plethora of knowledge and skills, he redirected his focus towards learning all he could about startups.

He talked to different entrepreneurs and kicked around around ideas. This led to Williams interning at a venture capital firm in Singapore over his freshmen and sophomore years, where he learned about seed fundraising.  He met early-stage tech founders and worked with them to rapidly scale their companies by providing direct access to an international network of the most relevant mentors and partners in their industry. He says that out of all the experiences he has had up to his junior year, he enjoys working with startup and venture capital the most. He adds that he enjoys seeing the fruition from idea to concept to company as the epitome of entrepreneurship.

Over the past few years, Williams has acquired a variety of different experiences and expanded his network of connections to enable himself to apply himself on his own ventures. At the end of his freshman year, he had joined as a business liaison and consultant for Beeback, which is a mobile application that allows small businesses to interact with their customers and revamp reward programs to increase customer retention. Williams’s role within the company is varied, as the company had just released its beta version which is currently available on the Apple App Store. Williams enjoys using his expertise and knowledge that he has learned to evolve the company and the technological climate. He is currently working on several different startup projects with his peers as well as former colleagues, however, Beeback is his main focus as of now.

Williams emphasizes that students should to be proactive in any and every life experience, as each experience fosters characteristics and grit which can be applicable to attain one’s passion. For him, he had realized at a young age he had an affinity with creation and teamwork. He believes, without his experiences in high school and college, he would not be where he is today without the essential skills he had learned along the way. His determination to learn has positioned himself for opportunities that he has encountered as passion propelled his perpetual hunger to satisfy his hunger of creating something new and innovative.

Story by Jason Chen ’20, College of Arts and Sciences, Economic

Photo courtesy of Jay Williams