2019 Best & Brightest: Zane Homsi, University of Virginia (McIntire)

Zane Homsi

University of Virginia, McIntire School of Commerce

“I like my TV shows funny, conversations deep, and my soda loaded with ice.” 

Fun fact about yourself: I once had a Broadway actress sign my autograph on a piece of paper.

Hometown: Vienna, Virginia

High School: Flint Hill School

Major: Commerce: Finance, Information Technology & Business Analytics

Minor: n/a

Favorite Business Course: Business Analytics with R – 4559; taught by David Dobolyi

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles during College:

  • Alpha Kappa Psi – Brother, Project Leader, Professional Development Chair, Rush Chair
  • TEDxUVA – Curator (President), Speaker Chairman, General Body Member
  • McIntire Investment Institute – Analyst
  • 4th Year Trustee
  • Class Council Member – First year

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Navy Federal Credit Union – Operations Strategy Summer Analyst (Summer 2016)
  • J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (J. P. Morgan Asset Management) – Summer Banking Analyst (Summer 2017)
  • Capital One: Product Management & Analytics Summer Business Analyst (Summer 2018)

Where will you be working after graduation? LinkedIn – Strategy & Analytics Analyst

Who is your favorite professor? Kerrie Carfagno: Professor Carfagno was my third year Strategic Communications professor and also taught my study abroad in Copenhagen in May 2018. After having Prof. Carfagno for a year, what makes her such a stand out is not only her ability to contextualize her curriculum with actual, real-world examples, but that she cares so compassionately and selflessly for the well-being of her students. Prof. Carfagno is more than a professor to me: she has become a mentor, confidant and cheerleader for my success. I hope that more students have the opportunity to learn from her.

What did you enjoy most about McIntire? My Fall Integrated Core Experience (ICE) Group:

While the group formation was random, I cannot imagine what my college career would be like without Rob, Hannah, Madeleine, and Jenna. I have had this discussion so many times that one of the most obvious value-add of McIntire is the opportunity to build a whole new community of friends mid-way through college. These four have been there for me both professionally and personally and definitely played a critical role in making sure my McIntire experience was a positive one.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Talk to older students as early as possible. Having their foresight helped me navigate almost every critical decision along the path to graduating from McIntire. Which classes to take, when to take them, when recruiting started, how to interview, everything!

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? How much grey area there is in each business decision. When I took Financial Accounting, we were taught that accounting and finance were an exact science and that everything balanced and was precise. As the years have gone by, I’ve learned just how much discretion is used in each project – especially when you factor in management heuristics like strategic goals and go-to-market strategies.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…Public Policy & Statistics.”

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? In all honesty, I was always inherently interested in business. My parents are in real estate and pharmaceuticals, neither of which piqued my interest. However, it was a high school macroeconomics class that was the first time I said to myself, “Wow, this is actually pretty fun.” From that point on, I continued to try new business-related activities and clubs and take more classes, each validating my interests further until I wound up taking and tackling some of the most interesting classes and projects.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? While it has been some time since it happened, the achievement I am most proud of is getting admitted to UVA off the waitlist my senior year of high school. As soon as I began high school, I made it clear and known to everyone that I only wanted to go to school at UVA. I was heartbroken when I was both deferred and moved to the waitlist months later after doing everything possible to position myself well for admittance. During that month on the waitlist, I called a new admissions officer every day to give them my pitch, emailed professors asking for syllabi and asking them about their research, called congressional offices to look for advocates. Then, one professor, Jeanne Liedtka of the Darden School, submitted a recommendation on my behalf. A week later, I received a call from Dean Senem Ward, telling me I had finally been accepted. I drove the two hours to UVA immediately and sat on the Lawn to soak it all in.

That was, to date, the happiest I have ever been.

Which classmate do you most admire? Madeleine Daum.

I’ve gotten to know Madeleine in so many settings: the library, classroom, conference room, on the job during the summer, and socially. What impresses me most and is quite frankly something I strive to replicate is how she is able to be completely unapologetic about who she is in everything she does. When she has been stressed or upset, she doesn’t fake the “I’m fine” pleasantry; she says exactly how she feels and works towards fixing it. When she is excited, the joy is contagious. Also, of all the people I’ve met at McIntire, she is the person who is always there to share in the accomplishments and celebrations of my life. She is the kind of friend and teammate everyone should hope to have.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My mom – hands down. My Dad served as a major coaching figure in my life, which absolutely was the fuel for a lot of my momentum. However, there have been moments over the years where I contemplated throwing in the towel or thought significantly less of myself. My mom is the reason I always got back up and assured me that all I ever had to be was happy with myself. Corny though it may seem, the amount of calmness that comes from just knowing someone is rooting you on and there to catch you is one of the most freeing feelings out there.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  1. Playing guitar or DJing in front of a crowd of people
  2. High-fiving the Pope or Will Smith – either works

What are your hobbies?

  1. I love listening and dancing to music (Latin, African, Arabic, Hip Hop, EDM – all genres really).
  2. Exercise has been a long-time habit of mine (running, weight lifting, yoga, soccer).
  3. I don’t know if this counts as a hobby, but I love getting coffee with people and definitely spend a significant amount of free time getting to know strangers better.

What made Zane such an invaluable member of the Class of 2019?

“Zane is the student you want in your class, the student you want for your team project, and the student you want as your mentor.

I’ve seen him excel in the classroom, in front of corporate sponsors, during an international course to Denmark and Sweden, and even in the halls of McIntire. When I was changing an assignment for the following year, I sought out Zane’s opinion. A student recently spoke to me about how one of the [student] mentors had made a big difference in his experience at McIntire; later, he mentioned it was Zane. His thoughtful and sincere approach to everything raises the bar for our community.  

Zane was chosen to be the head mentor and lead 40 student mentors at McIntire, which means all of our students have benefited from his inclusive and welcoming enthusiasm directly or indirectly. Zane’s legacy of extending a culture of kindness is matched by his intelligence and willingness to challenge himself as well as those around him. His article, “The 8 Most Valuable Lessons I Learned in College” (posted on LinkedIn 1/31/19) is an excellent example of Zane’s commitment to sharing with others what he has learned.”

Professor Kerrie Carfagno