Our featured alum for spring 2019 is Jiaxi Fang. Jiaxi is currently the CEO and Co-Founder of Applied Particle Technology. Jiaxi was a member of BALSA from 2012-14, and he served as Director of Professional Development from 2013-14. Below we hear from Jiaxi about his experiences in BALSA and how they have influenced him as he moves forward with his career. Thank you Jiaxi for your time!
Please describe your experience with the BALSA Group.
I was previously the Director of Professional Development. I was also a project manager and consultant on several projects. In total I was with BALSA for two years during my 3rd and 4th year as a PhD student.
What do you do now? What does a typical day on the job look like?
I am the CEO and Co-Founder of Applied Particle Technology. We are developing wearables to protect workers in high risk industries from harmful exposures. I don't really have a typical day since it changes so much. Some days I am running experiments, some days I am on sales calls, some days I am talking to potential investors, it really just depends on what aspect of the company I need to move forward on that particular day.
How did your experience in BALSA impact your career?
BALSA had a tremendously positive impact in my career. This was my first insight into what it takes to be a good executive and how to run a high-functioning company. More importantly, it really gave me new insights into larger issues that an organization might deal with beyond the core work that is involved. Working with BALSA also allowed me to tackle new and interesting challenges which are atypical of the graduate student experience. If leveraged properly, these experiences can be incredibly valuable for the next step of your career.
Any advice you would like to share with current and prospective BALSA members?
Always optimize for learning. Whatever professional situation you find yourself in, when you've found that you are comfortable in your current role, start seeking new challenges and roles so that you can grow. You also have to be really proactive in setting your own professional goals and achieving them, being in BALSA is a great environment and support network to help you achieve those goals so be sure to maximize your time within BALSA.