“Without exception, I’ve found that I am always more successful when I cast a wider net in looking for opportunities and ways to expand both my personal and professional networks, especially when I look in unexpected or unconventional places.” – Abby Lyall
Tell us a little about yourself along with a fun fact.
I’m a junior at NYU’s Stern School of Business studying Finance and Data Science. I’m originally from Canton, Ohio (no, I didn’t vote for Trump).
Fun fact: I really enjoy endurance sports and long distance running. I’m part of the Triathlon team at NYU and completed my first half marathon in October!
What # (hashtag) would define your life journey?
#awk. Being socially awkward is a defining component of my personality, and feeling uncomfortable is an important part of everyone’s life journey. Most of the amazing experiences I’ve had and opportunities I’ve received have come from forcing myself into awkward situations outside of my comfort zone.
Favorite website / app:
Product Hunt! Their morning e-newsletters brighten my day (the adorable kitten mascot might have something to do with this). This site is my go-to for finding random tech gadgets to play with, and is also an excellent tool for procrastination.
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
My dad has been a very inspirational figure to me my whole life. I not only admire how hard he has worked to get to where he is today, but also how generous he is with everything that he has. The most valuable lesson he has taught me is that the world is so much bigger than yourself, and in the grand scheme of things, it’s never all about you—coming to this realization has helped me gain a lot of perspective.
Technical and/or life challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
Call it ADHD, OCD, whatever you like, but I’ve always had a very busy brain that has trouble slowing down. Although this has in some ways been helpful, it has also made important things like focusing in the classroom and being patient with others very difficult. Many traditional methods of overcoming this challenge, such as therapy and meditation, were unsuccessful for me, so I had to think outside the box and do a lot of personal exploration to find ways that did work. Yoga/exercise, visualization techniques, and spending time with people that bring out the best in me (and distancing myself from those that don’t) have been key. Focusing on the benefits of this trait, such as being a great multitasker and having many creative ideas, has also helped me overcome the emotional aspects of my challenges.
Ideal job / where you see yourself in 10 years:
Although I’m still in that stage where I’m not sure exactly what I’m doing with my life, I know that I want to use my financial and technical knowledge to help solve big problems. Right now, I’m working at a seed and early stage venture capital fund called Quake Capital, and I’m very passionate about the work that I’m doing helping entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground. In the future, I hope to spend a bit more time in the VC space, and then use the knowledge I gain to start my own company that uses machine learning and big data to help improve the lagging education system and/or crumbling infrastructure here in the United States. But let me take a few more programming classes first.
What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
There’s a concept in statistics called the Law of Large Numbers which states that the more times an experiment is performed, the closer you get to your expected result. With this in mind, a large N (sample size) of potential opportunities is the best tool you can give yourself to be successful by your own definition. To be able to use this strategy, it is important to not fear failure, because with this large of a pool of options, many are inevitably going to say no to you. But the amount that will say yes? Much higher than if you’d limited yourself to only a few possibilities. Without exception, I’ve found that I am always more successful when I cast a wider net in looking for opportunities and ways to expand both my personal and professional networks, especially when I look in unexpected or unconventional places. Keeping your “N” high is the best way to ensure you end up as close as possible to where you want to be– true in data analysis, truer in life.