After Bowei Zhan enrolled in the Master of Actuarial Science program at the Robinson College of Business, he realized he enjoyed the banking aspect of finance more than insurance. By tacking on an additional semester to his studies, he earned a Master of Science in Mathematical Risk Management as well, making himself attractive to employers in both sectors. “They share a lot of similarities, especially big data,” Zhan says. “That’s the catalyst for the recent cooperation between the two industries.”
Zhan completed an internship at SunTrust Banks while earning his dual degree and secured a full-time position at the firm before graduating in December 2016. He says his data mining course (MGS 8040) with Dr. Satish Nargundkar prepared him for the assignments he has tackled on the job. For example, Zhan and his classmates built a credit scoring model. “When I started at SunTrust, I went back and reviewed that project to give me a higher level understanding of the process,” he recalls. “The class was super practical.”
Zhan recently was promoted to assistant vice president of market risk quantitative analysis at SunTrust, where he sets limits for trading desks across different segments. He is especially proud of his contribution to the firm’s first in-house model that sets interest rates for commercial loans. “Whatever auto loan you get from SunTrust, I’m part of it,” he explains.