2024 Best & Brightest Business Major: Matthew Outar, St. John’s University (Tobin)

Matthew Outar

St. John’s University, Peter J. Tobin College of Business

“Meticulous individual constantly seeking a way to bring value to our intriguing complex world.” 

Fun fact about yourself: I always preferred individual sports such as snowboarding and skateboarding because I was able to challenge and compete against myself rather than another person/team.

Hometown: Queens, NY

High School: Bayside High School

Major: Finance

Minor: N/A

Favorite Business Course: Applications of Machine Learning

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Dean’s List
  • Volunteer Afterschool Camp Counselor
  • Community Service at Boys & Girls Club of America
  • Management Teachers Assistant (Professor Cusack)

Where have you interned during your college career? RBC Capital Markets LLC – Product Control Intern – Jersey City, NJ (2022 & 2023)

Where will you be working after graduation? Undecided

Who is your favorite business professor? Professor Zenu Sharma

Taking several of Professor Sharma’s classes has been the highlight of my academic career here at St. John’s. Not only did I learn pertinent content in the field of finance, but I took away many valuable life lessons. It was my absolute pleasure to have one of my role models guide me through my studies for three semesters in a row. Her classes were undoubtedly some of my favorites within my coursework, and I am forever grateful for the expertise I gained throughout. The way she approached teaching is something I hope to achieve when and if I have the pleasure of being a professor of my own. Overall, I cannot truly express the value I took away from studying under Professor Sharma, but I will always remember her as a fundamental basis of my academic and professional career.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? I was always fascinated by the world of business and finance specifically. During my studies, it amazed me how many facets of the business world were interlocked. More so, it was enlightening to know how many business decisions were based on simple human psychology. Many things we interact with day-to-day were strategically analyzed and placed to maximize efficiency and, obviously, profitability. The biggest takeaway from studying business is that no matter how small the change, the impact may be profound.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? To a fellow student intrigued by the field of business, I would definitely encourage them to always analyze the external world. For me, the textbooks were definitely helpful in certain technical aspects, but examining the businesses firsthand is priceless. Analyzing the changes in pricing and quality and how that relates to the business’s success is key. By understanding how company decisions lead to the growth or decline of a business you gain a fundamental understanding of business as a whole.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? It would definitely be the diversity in the coursework and how everything interlocked to give a complete definition of business. For example, although I am a finance major, courses in economics, marketing, and risk management played a pivotal role in my studies. At first, I questioned why these courses were required for my degree. However, upon completion the value was apparent. Business stretches far past the typical ideologies and touches upon every facet of life. Without these supplementary courses, I would have never grasped the true meaning behind business as I do now.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? I would definitely prioritize networking and self-exploration more. I felt that I was too focused on my studies and downplayed the value of connecting with people. Also, I would have taken more time to expand upon my studies instead of solely focusing on what was presented to me in school. I would have looked for trends in the industry and taken time on my own to develop skills tailored towards that. This, accompanied with networking, would have put me in a more advantageous position entering this difficult job market.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of my internships at RBC Capital Markets because they have opened my eyes to the complexities of the financial world. Without this opportunity, I would have been completely blind to the various departments and roles that serve as vital components of the entire financial system. This allowed me to further explore possible positions that would best suit me after graduation.

Which classmate do you most admire? My dear friend Prasoon Saha was, without a doubt, the one person I have admired during my time at St. Johns. We had the pleasure of being in a few classes together and consistently shared ideas with each other. During our FinTech course, we constantly had group work together in which we conducted extensive research on emerging companies and cutting-edge technology. We continued to push each other during these case studies, and he made me go beyond my limits while thinking outside of the box. I constantly admired his dedication and intellect throughout the semesters.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would be remiss if I did not mention my mother, who worked countless jobs to make sure my siblings and I were able to get a higher education. Coming from a small town in Guyana, there were not many opportunities for my parents, and there was only one university in the entire country. However, they still prioritized education and ensured we always took it seriously. She would always tell me that someone can take everything from you, but they can never take your knowledge. I have always admired her work ethic and goodwill and will forever cherish the lessons she has engrained within me.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  • To become a trader at a major bank or hedge fund.
  • Start my own advising firm to assist average Americans plan for retirement.

What made Matthew such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2024?  

“Matthew was my student in the Crypto Assets and Trading class during the Fall of 2023. The Crypto Assets and Trading class at St John’s University familiarizes students with various crypto assets and teaches them trading strategies. At the end of the class, students make investment recommendations for the Student Managed Blockchain Fund, which are executed by the university’s investment office. As such, the class tackles a very difficult subject matter.

During this class, Matthew was a highly attentive and detail-oriented student. He studied very hard and came prepared for every class. Matthew made an exceptional investment recommendation, but he will also be invited to present his recommendation to the Board of Trustees at the end of the semester. He earned an A in this class. The Board of Trustees meeting is a high-stakes situation, and I am confident that he will be able to handle questions from the Trustees in a calm and thoughtful manner.

I also taught Matthew Machine Learning Applications in Finance course in the Spring 2023 semester, and his dedication to his studies consistently impressed me. He has demonstrated exceptional diligence, excellent learning potential, and proficiency in R during our course. Matthew exhibited extraordinary dedication and intellectual rigor in our course. He prepared for each lecture meticulously, which allowed him to ask insightful questions during class discussions, thereby enhancing the learning experience for everyone involved. He actively sought to understand complex concepts, often reaching out after class to discuss any challenges he encountered in assignments or course projects. This dedication to learning culminated in Matthew achieving the highest grade in the class. Moreover, he exhibited a genuine curiosity throughout the semester. He interacted exceptionally well with his peers and helped to shape the class into a welcoming and generous community of learners determined to succeed.”

Zenu Sharma, PhD
Assistant Professor of Finance


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