Zarate: Cornell taught independence
Miguel Zarate ’96 was born and raised in the Chicago area and currently lives in Oak Park, Illinois. After Cornell, he earned an M.B.A. in finance from Loyola University Chicago. He is a managing partner for Marquette Associates, an investment consulting firm specializing in providing investment advice to retirement benefit funds, endowments, and foundations. He has been providing investment advice to clients for over 15 years. Zarate serves as an ambassador at the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, an organization that provides kids in crisis with support and guidance, and was recently appointed to the board of directors of the Chicago Infrastructure Trust by the mayor of Chicago. He is married to Rachel Hall ’94 and has two children, Diego (9) and Lola (7).
Q: How did Cornell change you?
A: Cornell helped me develop my self confidence and taught me to build relationships, skills that are key in any career and in life. If I went on, it would take up the rest of the page. The bottom line is that Cornell made me a better person.
Q: What’s the most important thing you learned at Cornell?
A: No one in my immediate or extended family had ever gone to college or lived too far away from home. Cornell taught me to be independent and to have some accountability. My parents sacrificed a lot for me to be there, so I had to step up.
Q: What person on campus had the biggest impact on you?
A: My mother passed away somewhat unexpectedly during my last year at Cornell. A week later I was back on campus finishing up my last few blocks. If it weren’t for the support of my Delta Phi Rho brothers and close friends, I’m not sure I would have finished and fulfilled her request that I earn that degree.
Q: If you could go back and tell your 20-year-old self one thing, what would it be?
A: “Enjoy every last minute of your remaining time at Cornell, my friend. You will never forget these experiences.” I’m pretty sure I listened to myself.
Q: What do you most value about your Cornell education?
A: I am very thankful for the friendships I developed and maintain to this day. Cornell’s relatively small size is conducive to building lifelong relationships. I reconnected with my lovely wife, Rachel Hall ’94, after Cornell because of those friendships.
Q: Who are your favorite authors?
A: I have been relegated to reading financial newsletters most of the time, but when I pick something up, my shelf is stacked with finance-related nonfiction and the musings of Charles Bukowski.
Q: Where would you most like to live or visit?
A: My goal is to visit all the current Seven Wonders of the World. Three down
so far, two of them in the presence of Cornellians. Imagine that.
Q: What qualities do you most admire in others?
A: Modesty, loyalty, and kindness.
Q: What makes you happiest?
A: Sunshine, an outdoor pool, and my family. Perhaps even an ice cold one. That’s a perfect day.
Q: What historical event fascinates you most?
A: World War II. Such a tragedy, yet many inspirational people and stories emerged.