Zhang lands risk management position with multinational company

Ji “Max” Zhang originally planned to work in foreign exchange and commodity trading. After an experience in the Berry Center’s Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Distinctive Service program, his plans changed. The program is designed to connect current students with alumni from all walks of life, and Zhang, who is from Shanghai, had the opportunity to sit in on an alumni panel interview, where he learned that many successful people end up in careers that they never planned on pursuing. Hearing that inspired Zhang to take a closer look at his strengths and the full range of career paths open to him.

Ji "Max" Zhang ’14 will start work as a risk analyst at AEGON after graduation.
Ji “Max” Zhang ’14 will start work as a risk analyst at AEGON after graduation.

Zhang decided to explore risk management during a two-month internship with one of the largest asset management companies in China. His resume was further bolstered by another internship with AEGON as part of the portfolio risk management team.

At AEGON he worked closely with the portfolio risk management team and provided support to their model validation efforts, built comprehensive analysis tools for model development, and developed algorithms and automated processes. He also had the chance to join in high level model validation report meetings. Through his internship, Zhang secured a job offer from AEGON, where he’ll start full-time employment following graduation.

“U.S. Economic and Business History” with economics and business Professor Santhi Hejeebu was a particularly influential course for Zhang. During the course students are exposed to economics, history, mathematics, computer science, and other humanities and science subjects, with a semi-independent research project as the final work.

“The continuous pressure from the course and the professor forced me to raise the bar and to achieve what I thought I could not,” Zhang said. “It was through this course that I realized how much I could accomplish if I try hard enough.”

With the knowledge that there were many lines of work wherein he could succeed, Zhang met with his advisor and professors, including economics and business Professor Todd Knoop, to discuss his talents and how he could employ them.

“It was through those talks that I realized my opportunity lies in the fields where I can both be passionate and utilize my strengths. And risk management seems to be a perfect fit for me.”