Pursuing a career as an analyst, Jonathan Hung, WG’18, worked in Shanghai while his family continued building Barrage, United Overseas Textile Corporation, a successful multinational clothing manufacturing business in Los Angeles. However, when his father became ill in 2012, Jonathan’s career path took a major turn.
He came home to LA to help run the family company, which provides clothing for large stores like Burlington and Costco and sells its own brand on Amazon and in department stores. “It was a big career jump, but fortunately my father was a great entrepreneur and had created a successful business. I was able to work with my father for three years before he died, and he taught me a lot,” Jonathan said.
Jonathan came to Wharton’s MBA Program for Executives to expand his network and learn about new opportunities. “At this stage, I didn’t need a business degree to run my family’s business, but I did need to meet more people to be a better executive and entrepreneur,” he said.
Creating a New Legacy
A new opportunity presented itself to Jonathan last spring during a course on Managing Organizational Change with David Pottruck, WG’72. The former Charles Schwab CEO connected Jonathan with a colleague to work on a financial analysis project. Soon that project grew into a business helping international families with children attending college in the U.S. through coaching and mentoring, and Jonathan became Co-Founder and COO of Legacy Pioneers.
“We provide a support team for college students from other countries like China. For example, we might conduct a coaching session once a week to talk about the student’s challenges and how to manage those. As those students graduate, they join our network and help support the next generation of students,” he said.
As for his own expanded network, Jonathan notes that he is benefitting from it already, as several classmates have joined Legacy Pioneers as advisors or employees. One classmate is running a new division focused on India and another is providing legal counsel.
Jonathan is also exploring the possibility of launching a venture capital company with a classmate. Already a managing member of J Heart Ventures, a portfolio company co-owned with his mother, he is considering an investment company focused on Asian investors and businesses.
Three Resources That Helped Him Grow as an Entrepreneur
“It’s not easy for a lot of entrepreneurs to step away from their business for school, but this program is worth it because it’s a great way to learn about new opportunities and become a better leader for your existing companies,” Jonathan said.
He emphasizes three ways in particular that Wharton has helped him grow as an entrepreneur:
Personal and Professional Network
“The program helps connect you with people. For example, I am now a limited partner with Snoop Dogg because of Wharton alumni connections. That is just one of many examples! And beyond the professional network are the lifelong friends you make in this program. I never thought I’d be making these types of friends at this point in my life.”
“You don’t just focus on doing business in the U.S. The Wharton EMBA program is global, offering many courses around the world. So far, I’ve taken courses in Dubai, China, and will be going to London soon.”
“I’m getting the skills and knowledge I need as an executive across all my businesses. For example, Negotiations is teaching me how to make the right decisions about deals. For my VC company, I’m learning things like why I need an LLC, how to better structure investments, how to do valuations, and what to ask in meetings. A huge benefit at Wharton is that alumni can always return to school to audit classes if there are new areas that we need to learn about later.”
— Meghan Laska
Posted: April 18, 2018