Ruilin Yang ’20

Ruilin Yang, a sophomore at Bowdoin College, has an avid interest in venture capitalism and business. Originally from Nanjing, China, Ruilin moved to Delaware at the age of 15 to complete high school in the US. Despite the challenges that she has faced as a new student adjusting Bowdoin, including time-management and maintaining a balanced life, she has been incessantly fearless in the pursuit of her passions. She is reflective of how her experiences outside of the classroom at Bowdoin has been integral to her Bowdoin experience and identity, particularly as the co-founder of the Bowdoin chapter of Smart Women Securities, a national organization that focuses on educating undergraduate women in finance and investment. “Being a co-founder and seeing it develop was pretty fulfilling,” she said.

Ruilin received a funded internship grant from the Robert S. Goodfriend Summer Internship Fund through Bowdoin Career Planning, which allowed her to work at SOSV in Shanghai and Taiwan this summer. SOSV is a venture capital firm that funds startups around the world. At SOSV, Ruilin spent the majority of her time deal-sourcing, helping analysts evaluate the startups that apply for funding. She looked at their business models, interviewed CEOs and CFOs, and tried to find the best fits for SOSV. She spent the majority of her time in Shanghai, but was able to spend two weeks in Taiwan, a place completely new to her. “It was an incredible experience. I not only learned a lot about the venture capital industry but also what I want after Bowdoin. I want to be in an urban environment, one that is fast-paced and energetic, and also to be able to travel to different cities,” she said.

After Bowdoin, Ruilin sees herself pursuing Finance or Consulting and she will purpose herself for these pursuits by majoring in either math or economics, with a minor in English. According to Ruilin, a Bowdoin education is a way of “finding, exploring and shaping her passions, ideas and thoughts”. She places great value on the way that her Bowdoin education has taught her to think critically, not only in school, but also in life. Like many students, Ruilin had no idea what she wanted to pursue coming into Bowdoin. “Bowdoin’s liberal arts education has made me less anxious about the future. I do things that I enjoy and that I find value in doing. Bowdoin has allowed me to pursue what I want, and focus less on what everyone else is doing or what the world expects me to do,” she said.