On Feb. 8, Tomer Rothschild ’94 returned to campus to speak to students at the Gordon Career Center about his entrepreneurial path. Rothschild, who graduated from Wesleyan with a degree in philosophy, is the co-founder of Elite Scholars of China (ESC), an agency that aims to educate China’s top high school students about their undergraduate options in the United States. He previously worked on Wall Street and as a China country manager of a publicly traded U.S. company, among other jobs. “Fumbling is necessary to find your path,” Rothschild said to the students. “Follow your passion—even if you don’t know what it is immediately. It took me seven years of working in different fields and jobs to finally figure out what I really wanted to do.”
While at Wesleyan, Rothschild worked as a senior admission interviewer. After graduating, he “decided on a whim” to study Chinese in China and ended up staying (in both Taiwan and China) for 25 years. While there he also volunteered to assist Wesleyan’s Freeman Asian Scholars. “Little did I know when I was here (at Wesleyan), that my life would take me exactly to the place of helping Chinese students and families navigate the college search/admissions process.”
Rothschild explained how he used the Wesleyan Career Center to network with alumni in East Asia. “Knowing that China was a huge growth area, I wanted to take a risk. I was thinking ahead. There were dozens of alumni in China that I reached out to and I asked them for their input while I was researching job options,” he said. Ultimately, as a result of alumni networking, Rothschild found a job in the banking industry in Taiwan. He also networked with New York City alumni while looking for a job on Wall Street, and connected with Chicago-area alumni when researching whether or not he wanted to go to law school. “The Career Center and the alumni networks are huge benefits that I’ve relied on since graduation.”
Eight years ago, Rothschild and his wife and business partner Stacy Palestrant created their agency at home. After a year of development, the partners “took a huge leap of faith” by renting an office space in Beijing and hiring two additional people. Now they run a successful business that helps others and provides a cross-cultural experience. “My ‘foreignness’ is integral to what I do. I am a bridge between China and the U.S.,” Rothschild said.