November 30, 2020
Zachary Myers was born in Michigan and grew up outside of Cleveland, Ohio. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in Mathematics in May. He began his studies at UChicago this Autumn Quarter as a master’s student in the Financial Mathematics program. As part of his program, he has been learning the basics of portfolio theory, options pricing, and stochastic calculus. Alongside those classes, he has been studying Python in order to implement what he has learned into financial models. We interviewed Zachary about his experiences below.
Why did you choose the University of Chicago?
The University of Chicago has a long history of creating mathematicians who go on to change the world of finance. The professors have backgrounds that speak for themselves and being able to study under them is an opportunity that can’t be passed up. The FinMath program also has deep connections in the finance industry, as can be seen by the number of companies that participate in our Project Lab.
What is something you are proud of accomplishing at UChicago?
Similar to many incoming FinMath students, I only had a basic programming background when I came to UChicago. We are required to take a Python for Finance class in our first quarter here, and in this class, we go from learning the absolute basics of coding to finally creating a trade manager for the quarter project. This manager communicates with the exchange, handles and matches orders, and can implement a trading strategy.
I’m also very excited to participate in Project Labs next quarter. This elective matches students with companies in the quantitative finance world and allows them to work on real projects. I look forward to being able to apply what I have learned so far while gaining real-world work experience.
What’s something you love to do outside of the classroom and lab?
I enjoy staying active. Before the pandemic I liked to box, play hockey, and ski. Recently it hasn’t been possible to participate in those activities, but I have kept myself busy by working out and getting to know my cohort through socially-distant activities.
What are your plans post-UChicago?
I hope to pursue a career in trading, quantitative research, or portfolio management.
What support have you received at the UChicago that was particularly valuable to you?
The FinMath program’s Career Development Office has gone above and beyond any expectations I had coming in. They provide technical interview workshops and information sessions with pertinent companies, as well as a listing of internship and job openings in our sector. The other program staff has been incredibly helpful as well. They have been able to effectively guide my incoming cohort through a summer math bootcamp, class registration, and more, in spite of the challenges created by an online learning environment.
If you were speaking to someone who wants to learn about UChicago, what would you tell them?
Expect a rigorous but stimulating workload. All of your classes will push you, but they all have a practical, real-world application. If you’re interested in learning how to apply your quantitative background to the finance industry, this is the place to be. Also, make sure to look into all of the resources available to you. There are so many, and you don’t want to miss out on any of them.
How has your background or experience prepared you to contribute to an environment where diversity and inclusion are valued?
In undergrad, I was a member of the U-M Club Boxing Team. This team, as well as the majority of my teams for group projects, included people from many different backgrounds. In my experience, coming together to tackle a tough problem is one of the best ways to break down cultural barriers. Also, I believe the ability to draw upon a diverse pool of experiences is what separates a great team from a good team.