Wisdom from an ENTR Alumnus: Sunny Yuqing Sun
Sunny Yuqing Sun is a 2016 graduate of the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation program with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications. After graduating from Purdue she attended John Hopkins University where she received a degree in International Studies and Research.
As a freshman at Purdue, she was a member of the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Learning Community, which brings together like-minded entrepreneurial students from all over the world, who live together in Harrison Hall and take ENTR 20000 Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Innovation as a cohort. During this time, she made several good friends with whom she still keeps in contact. Sunny says that the ENTR courses gave her an innovative and entrepreneurial mindset. Mike Cassidy, the faculty leader of the Learning Community and an entrepreneurship instructor, was an excellent mentor. Through the ENTR program, she had the opportunity to run a China Connection Summit for a student organization. The event was held in the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship and involved many speakers who discussed public policy and US/China relations. At John Hopkins university, she leads a similar organization and uses the skills she acquired during her education in her professional position.
In March of 2019, Sunny moved to Beijing, China, where she joined TikTok as an analyst. After 5 months with the company she was given the opportunity to build her own team. At first, this challenge was stressful, but, gratefully, she drew upon her ENTR program experience learning to manage a team. Today, she directs a global team of 20 individuals representing eight nationalities, who speak 16 languages and live in five different countries (India, Ireland, USA, Beijing, and Hong Kong). Her team focuses on risk analysis, which addresses topics such as
“It was challenging to build a team from scratch, but it was incredibly rewarding. Just recently, I worked with a team member who relocated to Singapore and was able to step in and stabilize our team during this transition. My ENTR education really taught me how to support my colleagues during turbulent times.” Sunny also feels fortunate to have gained insight into many different cultures and countries because of the diversity on her team. In fact, Sunny said what she has enjoyed most about her role at TikTok has been learning about being a global leader.
Sunny’s advice to current students and young alumni is to continue to learn, whether at school or at work. “Life will always pose new challenges and your education will give you the knowledge to overcome them. Building relationships with faculty, staff, and alumni can help overcome challenges while in school, and can be great resources long afterwards.” She reminds students that they have an excellent network at their fingertips and they should use it. Sunny states with passion, “Be open minded and learn about other countries and cultures because it will bring you different perspectives and help you avoid biases. Take the time to travel to other countries and remain open-minded. These experiences have been incredibly helpful in my current position by helping me relate to and communicate with others.” Sunny closes with gratitude for Mike Cassidy and everyone involved in the ENTR program.