Student Spotlight: Sapphira Ching
With just a year at the University of Michigan under her belt, Sapphira Ching’s passion is clear: making substantial social impact as soon as possible.
Sapphira, who enters this fall with Junior standing, was originally in the Pre-Law program before she made the change over to majoring in Economics (LSA) with a minor in Entrepreneurship.
“I think economics is fascinating and I have always been very interested in social impact,” she said. “Development Economics and Social Entrepreneurship have been my two passions during my time here at U-M. I think these will help me make a difference now.”
Sapphira had that goal in mind even before she arrived at U-M. In fact, she researched entrepreneurship programs at several top universities before committing to a school.
“The CFE was one of the main reasons I chose U-M over different schools,” she said. “I thought I would try some entrepreneurship courses that seemed really fun and I would use that to see if entrepreneurship was really for me.”
With that in mind she registered for three classes her first year here: Entrepreneurial E-Commerce (390), E-Hour Discussion (417), and ENTR Practicum (SI 360): Succeeding at Failing – Art of Entrepreneurship.
When asked which course was her favorite, she said they each brought something unique to the table, so comparing them from the same angle wouldn’t be fair, but she gained different and valuable insights from each.
“417 was really great because as someone who’s relatively new to entrepreneurship, hearing from different entrepreneurial speakers from different backgrounds and fields was awesome,” she said. “390 was really cool because I got to see how e-commerce really works.
“In 360 it was very interesting to learn from different examples of not just success, but also failures of other entrepreneurs and how you can learn from them.”
With her passion for entrepreneurship now confirmed, Sapphira branched out to become involved in innovative clubs on campus. She was the Marketing Lead in charge of Sponsorship Management at US#1 U-M Solar Car Team and is the Social Media Lead for the Google Developer Student Club.
“Even though I am not in the College of Engineering I wanted to try out more tech-heavy clubs and just have some fun with it,” she said. “I developed a lot of marketing skills in the entrepreneurship courses even though they weren’t necessarily marketing classes, that was really helpful.”
In addition to these clubs Sapphira has also acted as a CFE Ambassador during orientation events and has been an Instructional Aide for ENTR 510: Compensation, Funding, and Ownership and ENTR 599/390: Entrepreneurial Ecommerce.
“It is different as an IA because you are relied upon to guide other students,” she said. “But I was still able to learn a lot in this role and that constant learning has really been a central part of my experience at the CFE and that is why I enjoy it.”
She is currently bringing her desire for constant learning and creativity to her summer internship in finance at MSCI Inc.’s New York Headquarters where she has a focus on platform automation and ESG offerings.
“I can see how the skills I have learned in the last year like creativity and innovation have definitely applied to my internship, because a lot of communication skills are required as well,” she said.
While graduation is a couple of years away for Sapphira, that doesn’t mean she isn’t already thinking about her dream gig.
She would like to start her own business eventually, hopefully in the field of microfinance, because she wants to be able to provide funding for small businesses and entrepreneurs who normally would not have access to funding through the traditional systems.
Reflecting back on her first year at U-M, Sapphira said she grew a lot not only as a person, but as an entrepreneur, and has a few words of advice for incoming first year students.
“I really think that if you are interested in something you should try it,” she said. “College is a time for growth and you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”