You might say that Greg Nance, AB’11, has entrepreneurship in his blood.
As he listened to his parents, two entrepreneurial public servants in Seattle, discuss their work over the dinner table, Nance became convinced that a little determination could go a long way toward making a positive difference in the world. Nance refined these ideas as a debate team member in high school, where he developed a knack for identifying unmet needs and articulating possible solutions.
But Nance faced the same question that everyone seeking to change the world must confront: how can you translate ideas into action?
Nance’s time at the University of Chicago allowed him to do precisely that. UChicago gave him the platform he needed to experiment with his ideas and team up with like-minded peers. “At UChicago there is an emphasis on asking sharp questions and then developing meaningful frameworks with smart peers,” he says. “My UChicago education has been instrumental to my career by helping me to identify promising opportunities and then building top-notch teams with former classmates.”
Initially, Nance was determined to launch a hedge fund out of his dorm room. He immediately took advantage of opportunities on campus to gain exposure to investing. “To build my experience I joined The Blue Chips campus investment club and completed an ABG Externship at Morgan Stanley in Los Angeles,” he said. “After an internship at Merrill Lynch during the summer of 2008, I decided that the hedge fund route wasn't right for me, so I used my experience and contacts to pursue my passion for urban education leadership.”
Thus began Nance’s entrepreneurship when, as a second year, he dreamed up and co-founded Moneythink, a nonprofit that trains volunteers to teach financial management skills to low-income teens. The program spread throughout U.S. campuses and its volunteers have mentored over 7,000 students to date.
Using the success of Moneythink, Nance identified an opportunity to apply his mentorship ideas on an international scale. In 2012, he co-founded ChaseFuture, an organization based in Shanghai designed to mentor high school students through the college application process to Western universities. ChaseFuture provides comprehensive application coaching services such as essay and resume revisions, video calling with mentors, and suggestions for possible match universities. Nance explains, “I've long believed in the transformative power of mentorship because mentors including my parents, grandfathers, coaches, pastors and teachers have changed my life. The right advice at the right time can be defining.”
The company has garnered incredible success with more than 1,000 students admitted to the world’s most selective universities. In addition, ChaseFuture’s free instructional content has been viewed by more than 10 million readers. All the while, ChaseFuture emphasizes ethical and efficient methods throughout the college selection process.
Nance’s dedication to helping students extends beyond his customer base of high school students. As a highly active member within the UChicago community, Nance is a great example of a dedicated alumnus. Each year, he hosts externs at ChaseFuture in Shanghai through the Alumni Board of Governors Externship Program- the same program he took part in as a student. Along with helping students find their way, Nance says, “The benefits of participation in the ABG Externship Program have been numerous. We've implemented numerous ideas our externs have proposed and even hired one superstar.”
Nance advises his externs and other aspiring entrepreneurs, “Get started! Time on campus can be a wonderful apprenticeship for entrepreneurial leadership.”
One way for students to do just that is to get involved with UChicago Careers in Entrepreneurship, Career Advancement’s pre-professional program for students interested in start-ups and other innovative careers.
And ChaseFuture, Nance added, is always looking for great people to serve as admissions mentors!
To learn more about Nance’s work at ChaseFuture, visit the company website. For more information about UChicago Careers in Entrepreneurship, contact Program Director Jerry Huang.