Alex Muchoki: 2016 Best and Brightest

Alex Muchoki Cornell

Alex Muchoki

Cornell University, Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management

Hometown: Nairobi, Kenya

High School: Starehe Boys’ Centre & School

Major: Applied Economics & Management

Favorite Business Courses: Agricultural Finance, Financial Engineering, Managerial Economics

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Dean’s List
  • National Society of Collegiate Scholars
  • Farm Credit Fellowship 2014
  • Into the Streets Cornell – Volunteer
  • AIESEC Cornell – Finance team
  • Kenya Education Initiative – Marketing and Public Relations Lead for a campaign to build a library in Kenya.

Where have you interned during your college career? (Lst Companies, Roles)

  • Cornell University Agricultural Risk Management and Finance Group (Ithaca, NY) – Research Assistant to Prof. Josh Woodard
  • Goldman Sachs & Co. (New York, NY) – Investment Management Division Market Risk Analysis Intern
  • Cornell University Division of Financial Affairs (Ithaca, NY) – Strategic Sourcing Intern
  • Farm Credit Financial Partners Inc. (Agawam, MA) – Summer Extern

Describe your dream job: My dream job would be a combination of international development and finance. There are a lot of financial innovations – such as index-based livestock insurance or various forms of micro-insurance and micro-finance – that can help us tackle poverty in developing countries and my goal is to work in a field that is at the vanguard of such developments.

What did you enjoy most about majoring in a business-related field? Studying business at the Dyson School has not only given me a solid understanding of various business and finance principles, but has enabled me to explore other fields that I was also interested in. The interdisciplinary nature of the business program at Cornell enabled (and actually encouraged) me to take liberal arts classes that have shaped my thinking on various issues. Additionally, the collaborative and tight-knit structure of the business program has granted me access to various professors and made it possible for me to do research with them.

Where would you like to work after graduation? After graduation I will be working in London for Goldman Sachs in the Investment Management Division Risk team. My focus will be on managing the risk of equity and credit hedge funds.

What are your long-term professional goals?  After school I want to move to London and work in Asset Management with a focus on emerging markets. Later on, I would like to work for a leading private equity firm that focuses on private sector investments in developing countries. Long term, my goal is to work in public policy, preferably in the Ministry of Finance in Kenya.

“I knew I wanted to major in business when…I took my first finance class with Professor Rich Curtis. I have always been interested in business and finance since I was younger and was helping my mom man the register at her store, but this class really solidified my interest in the field.”

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be…a commercial pilot. I love travelling and like most children, I was very fascinated by airplanes.”

What was the happiest moment of your life? There are many of these, but one that comes to mind is the getting my first bike when I was 8 years old. It was a green, second-hand BMX bike with rusty handle bars. I really loved that bike and would not let anybody else touch it for a long time.

Which academic or personal achievement are you most proud of? It would be Matriculating at Cornell University, which has opened the door of opportunities for me.  Four years ago, I would not have imagined that I would be having one-on-one conversations and conducting research with award-winning professors, studying in different countries, or even interning at one of the top financial firms in the U.S.

What animal would you choose to represent your professional brand? The honey badger. It is one of Africa’s most tenacious and fearless animals and I think we are very similar in that regard.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My success so far has been a collective endeavor, but I would really want to thank my mother for the sacrifices she has made for me to be where I am today and for being such a positive role model in my life.

Fun fact about yourself: I broke my arm while playing a game of tag on top of buses parked behind our house. It was Valentine’s Day and my mum wasn’t very impressed.

Favorite book: Manuscript Found in Accra by Paul Coelho

Favorite movie: Inside Out. Saw it this summer with a bunch of friends and we absolutely loved it. It is also the only movie that I have watched where everybody in the cinema clapped after it was over.

Favorite musical performer: Ed Sheeran. Not only is his music great, but also he has gone from performing on the streets of London to filling the Wembley stadium in only five years.

Favorite vacation spot: Cape Town. I had a chance to visit the city with a class last winter break and absolutely loved it.

What are your hobbies? Watching and playing soccer, hiking, and mid and long distance running.

What made Alex such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2016?

“Alex Muchoki, a senior in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, is from Kenya and arrived at Cornell University on a scholarship. He had to adjust to a new country, a new academic system, and cold weather! As one of the Dyson School’s top seniors, he has taken advantage of every opportunity to improve himself and broaden his experience, including traveling to South Africa as part of a Dyson study trip and spending a semester studying at the Manchester Business School in the United Kingdom. On campus he is a leader in the Kenyan community, working to raise money to fund libraries in his home country, as well as serving as finance manager for AISEC Cornell, a global internship program. Alex, whose business concentration is finance, has a full-time job offer from Goldman Sachs.”

Edward W. McLaughlin
Robert G. Tobin Professor of Marketing and Director of the Undergraduate Program
Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management
Cornell University