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Meet Alex Patel, ’24

Headshot of Alex Patel on the Stanford campus

Alex Patel

Alex Patel is graduating with a degree in management science and engineering (MS&E) and a minor in computer science.

As a sophomore, he participated in the Global Studies Internship Program and completed a virtual internship at Rogers Investment Advisors in Tokyo, Japan. His tasks included evaluating fund portfolios, updating fund databases, and screening new investment opportunities. He also helped provide updates on financial news from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Europe, and the U.S. at the firm’s morning meetings.

As he looks back on his time at Stanford, he is most proud of the leadership roles he held in different organizations on campus, including the Club Tennis team and the Charles R. Blyth Fund, a student-run investment fund. “Both of these clubs played an instrumental role in my time on and off-campus,” he shared. “The Blyth Fund played a huge role in allowing me to explore my interest in investing, while Stanford Club Tennis has been the source of my closest friends and many special experiences.”

Next year, he will return to Stanford to pursue a co-terminal M.S. degree in management science & engineering after doing an internship this summer in New York with Guggenheim Partners’ credit investing team.

Read the Q&A below to learn more about Alex’s undergraduate experience.

Tell us about your degree programs. Why did you decide to pursue a degree in MS&E and minor in computer science?

As I was first entering Stanford, I knew I wanted to pursue a quantitative degree that would give me a broad and versatile skill set, applicable to many different fields. MS&E enabled me to take classes on topics such as optimization, stochastic modeling, and matrix methods – all of which I believe will serve me well going forward. I chose to concentrate in Finance & Decision, which has been directly beneficial toward my pursuit of finance as a career given the various finance-related elective classes I’ve had the opportunity to take. I chose to couple MS&E with a minor in computer science, which has helped me build a stronger foundation in coding and algorithms. I’ve learned how to both think more like a programmer and program in different languages. I’ve also been able to apply those programming skills to different courses in the MS&E major.

What has been your favorite class at Stanford and why?­­

My favorite class at Stanford so far has been ENGR 103: Public Speaking. Not only did I learn about all the different intricacies of making a speech, but I also had so much fun both writing a variety of speeches and doing impromptu speeches during classes. The class is taught in a small section, so you really get to know your classmates and TAs. I’d highly recommend everyone to take it before leaving Stanford!

What kind of research did you participate in during your time at Stanford?

Over the last two years, I served as a research assistant for Dr. John Cogan of the Hoover Institution. I worked on different projects, ranging from analysis of various potential changes to Social Security to a review of Medicare policy-making and efficacy. I also had the privilege of presenting my work to former Secretary of State and Director of the Hoover Institution Condoleezza Rice.

Tell us one of your favorite experiences related to your degree program.

I really enjoyed participating in the Senior Project course for MS&E this past winter. My team consulted for a Mauritius-based NGO called FoodWise­, creating a tailored framework that they can use to find their Social Return on Investment (SROI). Everyone on our project team had a different set of skills derived from MS&E and various internships, which we combined in our final product. It was extremely rewarding to both see our progress after 10 weeks and hear directly from FoodWise that our work would help them in achieving their mission.

How has your degree program changed your understanding of the world and prepared you for your next steps?

My experiences with both MS&E and CS at Stanford have opened my eyes to the various problems that these fields can assist in solving. My experience with the MS&E Senior Project demonstrated the impact that the skills learned in the classroom can have outside – these are real, tangible impacts. In terms of next steps, I feel well-equipped for a career in finance with the quantitative background I’ve developed during my time at Stanford.

As you reflect on your time at Stanford, what are you most proud of?

I am most proud of the leadership roles I took within different communities on campus. I had the opportunity to lead both the Charles R. Blyth Fund, a Stanford student-run investment fund managing over $230,000, and Stanford’s Club Tennis team. Both clubs opened so many doors for me, both socially and professionally, so it felt great to give back and put my vision for the organizations into action. In particular, I led the fall workshop series for the Blyth Fund, helped new members get involved in pitching, and worked on much of the fund’s administration, such as writing the final annual report and tracking returns. For Club Tennis, I helped plan trips to UC Davis, Arizona, Georgia, and UCLA and oversaw much of the other administrative work.