Zach Risher | Applied Mathematics

From: Bloomington, IN

Pomona Days: Class of 2010 | Applied Mathematics

Current Employment: Chief Technical Officer at RideApart, a rapidly growing media startup. Partner at Zanobo Partners, a small business consulting firm

Past Employment: Analyst at Morgan Stanley (Prime Brokerage Client Service), Associate at The Starkenburg Group (venture fund)


Career planning during and for a number of years after college is an exploration process that is both exhilarating and a ton of work. You need to get an idea for the kinds of work, roles, people, and environments you appreciate, as well as what you'd like to accomplish from your work over the long term. The earlier you're able to focus towards a long term career path, the sooner and smoother you'll (generally) find it is to reach that objective. This process is thus a delicate balance between exploring enough to guide your path while not wasting time on leads that won't bring you closer to your personal objectives. Once you're done, though, you'll find being on the path you've set for yourself very rewarding.

I arrived at Pomona with an very open mind as to my future path, and I didn't really know the kind of work I most enjoyed until two years after graduating. I choose math as my major because I knew it would give me a lot of career flexibility. I accepted my first post-college job at Morgan Stanley, too, primarily as a launch pad to future things. Those decisions really helped down the line when I made the tricky transitions from Morgan to VC, and then to a startup. But where there's a will, a Pomona student can usually find a way.

I'd be happy to talk to anyone interested in finance, computer science, or career planning/development in general.