Of the many unflattering stories that are told about the Stanford University endowment, the one about Jason Zhang may be the worst.
It was 2005. Zhang was fresh out of Stanford’s business school and “one of those superstars,” says a former boss. Zhang had been tasked with creating an “emerging Asia” investment program for the Stanford Management Company (SMC), buying a $45 million anchor stake in a small local Chinese private equity group. This was Zhang’s first allocation. It would make the university nearly half a billion dollars. But Zhang would be long gone before that became apparent.