From football to financial planning
While Zach’15 navigates his love for football and fraternity, he takes us on his professional adventure to financial planning at the world’s leading company in finance.
What (both academic and non-academic) activities did you get involved in that you consider your most valuable experience before college?
Sports took up most of my time in high school (football & track). I always had friends accompany me. I was active in various clubs like the athletic council and our volunteering committee. Outside of school, I joined our Appalachia Service Project group, which helped build/renovate homes in lower-income areas of West Virginia. Senior year I was fortunate enough to have been a teen leader.
What drew you to Beloit College?
I chose Beloit College for the quality of education, the ability to play football at the collegiate level, the small ratio between students and faculty, the diverse student body, and the variety of opportunities to help me step out of my comfort zone. I knew Beloit would help me become a more well-rounded individual as I would be encouraged to develop relations with a tight group of diverse people.
What is the number one piece of advice you would give someone starting college?
[…] explore and ask a lot of questions, and get as much information as you can so you can make an informed decision that is best for you!
People often say that the first year of college is tough. How do you relate to this opinion?
I had a tough time making the transition to Beloit my first year (primarily 1st semester). I encountered pretty much all of the common issues that any freshman would talk about, such as doubting my decision to attend Beloit, putting myself out there to meet new people and adapting to this new life away from home. It seemed that I was about to give up; however, my perspective changed when I won the Rookie of the Year award on our football team. Obtaining this award was one of my first personal accomplishments that started to build momentum in my mind that Beloit was the right choice. With all of this said, my academics were really poor.
So, what reassuring message would you want to say to your freshman self and other Beloit first-year students?
First-year students: take chances and push yourselves to do things that make you feel uncomfortable. It is truly the best way to learn.
Coming to your sophomore year, how would you feel about it? Was it different from your freshman experience?
It got better! I started to understand “college” a little bit better and improved my grades sophomore year - making the Dean’s List! At the same time, I discovered what major I wanted to pursue after taking Professor Diep Phan’s Principles of Economics course. It was the most exciting class in which I felt very passionate about the material I learned. After this course, I went with my gut and chose Economics as my major (shoutout to my academic advisor, Professor Phan, for always supporting me throughout my time at Beloit!). Besides my academic experience, I joined Sigma Chi (Alpha Zeta) fraternity, and I have to say that was one of the most valuable decisions I made at Beloit College. I have made some of my closest friendships that will last a lifetime through Sigma Chi.
How would you recap your junior year with just one experience?
Short and simple, my biggest accomplishment junior year was … passing Quantitative Methods with Professor Jeff Adams. That was the most challenging course I have ever taken and probably ever will take, but I learned the most!
For your senior year, what did you do to prepare for your post-graduation life?
I took Life & Financial Planning with Professor Warren Palmer, and then I was the Teaching Assistant for the course. Together, these experiences solidified, in my mind, why Beloit College was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Through the class, I discovered my passion for financial planning, and this was the foundation for the direction of where I wanted my career to go. I was always prone to business and mathematics, so economics and finance felt natural, but I wanted to know what the middle ground was. After learning about the importance of investments and financial planning in the course, I knew finance was the best career pathway for me.
What was your first job after graduation?
I took my first job as an entry-level financial planning analyst with Ameriprise Financial in Rockford, IL. I used college resources like Career Works and networked. I obtained this position by applying online on a limb (It is always worth throwing your resume in because you never know what can happen).
How about your current job?
Currently, I am the Central Supervisory Manager in the Supervision department of JP Morgan Securities. My main task is overseeing all of our financial professionals across the firm to ensure they make suitable investment product recommendations for our clients while following the rules of our firm and the finance industry.