Applying a Growth Mindset to Business Analytics with Alumnus Mao Zitong

Introducing Mao Zitong, a Minerva graduate from the Class of 2019 | Dec, 17, 2020

Mao Zitong is a business development analyst at SoftBank, where his team focuses on enhancing the portfolios of the companies that they invest in. The role is set in a fast-paced environment, where Mao develops and effectively synthesizes new opportunities, business strategies, and investment prospects for the company.

Before graduating in 2019 with a double-major degree in Finance and Computer Science, Mao created a novel web-based startup simulation for his Capstone project, Minerva’s version of a final year thesis, which taught users entrepreneurial skills through a sophisticated probability-based decision-making game. Connecting his computer science knowledge with his passion for business optimization, the javascript game was available online for users to practice running a start-up. Always thinking one step ahead, he envisions that this simulation could have other applications beyond the scope of gaming and education, such as new methods for traditional marketing research or data collection.

While he was raised in Nanjing, China, Mao hoped to work in Japan and interned in Tokyo during two of his summers to gain the technical skills to succeed in the industry. In addition to learning Japanese to prepare for his post-graduate life, Mao credits Minerva with giving him a good understanding of how to live in different cultures. “I acquired a growth mindset at Minerva where I was often challenged to jump out of my comfort zone,” Mao shares. “I’m willing to challenge myself even in unfamiliar or stressful situations. My work [at SoftBank] requires me to keep learning new knowledge in a short period of time, and I’m ready for that.”

During his final semester at Minerva, Mao was deciding between several job offers for companies in Japan, including a position at SoftBank as a business development analyst. In addition to being named as one of SoftBank’s top recruits, Mao was excited about the impact he could have with such an influential organization in Asia.

Now into his second year at SoftBank, Mao knows he made the right choice. He frequently takes an interdisciplinary approach to his work, integrating his analytical skills from his computer science classes with his strong financial prowess from his business courses. Mao’s unique acumen has been noticed and appreciated by his direct manager Michael Matsumura, Director of Business Development at SoftBank, who notes that “One of Mao’s particular assets has been his enthusiasm to organize or participate in activities that go beyond his regular work, which he excels at already.” For example, Mao has been actively supporting SoftBank’s Human Resources department for new graduate recruitment. While also organizing various knowledge sharing sessions with other employees within the business unit. Mao’s ability to transfer his skills to new arenas to help others learn shows his strength as an emerging leader while also supporting the company’s culture and goals overall.

Reflecting on how Minerva has shaped the way he approaches new challenges, both personal and professional, Mao says, “I’m not afraid of difficult situations and risks anymore. If there is something I don’t know, I will try to learn it. If I fail at something, I will consider it a learning experience and keep challenging myself to succeed…Joining a new university like Minerva as part of the inaugural class and graduating was probably way ‘riskier’ but more rewarding than most of the other things in my life.”

If you were inspired by Mao’s story and are seeking a college experience that will teach you valuable pragmatic skills that will enable you to change the world, apply to join Minerva today.