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Ready for Wall Street

Always think bigger: Life after Union

CATHERINE (“CAT”) ZIAC
Hometown: Niskayuna, N.Y.
Major: Economics
Minor: Russian Language

Wall Street intern, blogger, East European culture connoisseur – at Union, Cat Ziac took on many roles. And though she majored in economics, she spiced up her class schedule with everything from drawing to oceanography. Following a Morgan Stanley internship during junior year, she landed a job in Manhattan with an international bank.

You landed a global markets analyst job with the Japanese bank Nomura Securities six months before graduation. What was your secret?

I am being completely authentic here. I wouldn’t have my job without Becker, the Union career center.

How did the Becker Career Center help you?

The staff helped me sign up for our internship and job search platforms and for the Union alumni network. They held my hand throughout the process.

By the winter break, I had an itinerary that included going to a career center event called Walk Down Wall Street and traveling to New York City to meet with alumni on Wall Street. Then I signed up for an early access day at Morgan Stanley. I sent in an application and reached out to the main Union alumnus there to put it on his radar. Before I knew it, I had a series of interviews, then a final round interview. I got the offer the next day. 

What about finance sets you on fire?

It is so intellectually stimulating. Finance sounds cyclical because the national jobs reports come out the first Friday of the month, and every Tuesday there’s a Treasury Bill auction. But there’s so much theory and unknown about products and how forces affect the economy. Yesterday doesn’t dictate today. I learned this and a lot more during my summer at Morgan Stanley.

What was your most inspiring Union class?

Professor Hal Fried’s Mind of the Entrepreneur. The class covers the psychology and economics of entrepreneurial ventures. We met entrepreneurial Union grads, learned about the wide array of all pursuits “entrepreneurial,” and got to try our hand at entrepreneurial ideas of our own. I recommend the class to anyone, regardless of major.

What does “entrepreneurial” mean to you?

Entrepreneurial means anyone who has an open, creative mind and is looking for new business opportunities. One awesome example at Union is this: I lived in the culinary theme house. My senior year, my housemates got together, and we started a little bakery called Union Bread Co. We sold fresh loaves of ciabatta, chocolate-chip banana bread and homemade hummus. It’s great to be on a campus where those kinds of entrepreneurial minds are everywhere.

At Union, you were a campus blogger. What did that involve?

I transferred to Union my sophomore year. One thing I wanted to know before coming was the true student perspective. What is the everyday student culture? As a blogger, I could share that kind of information.

You were also president of the Russian and East European Culture Club. Can you describe some events you planned?

The club throws a Victory Day event to celebrate Russian war veterans. Veterans and their families are invited to attend. There’s a great meal, and students mingle and speak Russian. Members of the local Russian community recite poems and students sing songs.

What do you see for yourself further down the road?

In the next decade, I’d like to go out on my own and start my own business. The sky’s the limit.


JOANNE STERN '06, Technology columnist:

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