Chirag Agrawal: 2016 Best and Brightest

Chirag Agarwal

Chirag Agrawal

The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business

Hometown: Houston, TX

High School: Stephen F. Austin High School

Majors: Business Honors, Electrical Engineering Honors, Mathematics and Economics 

Favorite Business Courses: Optimization Methods in Finance (Professor Kumar Muthuraman) and

Investment Management (Professor John Griffin) 

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College

Extracurricular Organizations

Texas Undergraduate Computational Finance Team (UCF) – Development Director

Texas Sports Analytics Group (TSAG) – Director of Statistics

Freshman Business Association (FBA) – Technology Director

Work Associated with Business School

Business Honors Program (BHP) – Peer Advisor, Study Circle Supporter

McCombs School of Business – Undergraduate Research Assistant for Dr. John Griffin 


Texas BBA Program – Business Honors Outstanding Service Award

Texas Undergraduate Stock Pitch Competition – 2nd Place

University of Texas Bennett Calculus Exam – 3rd Place

Distinguished College Scholar – Top 4% in Business and Engineering

Where have you interned during your college career?

Optiver – Trader Intern – Chicago, IL

Integra REC – Data Analyst Intern – Austin, TX

Apple – Engineering Project Management Intern – Cupertino, CA

Deloitte Consulting – Business Technology Analyst Intern – Austin, TX 

Describe your dream job: My dream job would be General Manager of the Houston Rockets or another position working alongside current GM Daryl Morey. I spend an obscene amount of time learning new statistical and machine learning methods for basketball analysis. This would be put to excellent use with the Houston Rockets, a leader among all NBA teams in incorporating advanced metrics for analysis. I can’t think of a more entertaining way to combine my interests in sports and statistics. 

What did you enjoy most about majoring in a business-related field?

I found the material taught in my business courses to be very applicable to real-life problems. For example, my Financial Accounting course gave me a better understanding of the Enron scandal. My Investment Management course taught me about derivatives and discussed some of the events that led up to the 2008 financial crisis. And my Optimization Methods course taught me about linear optimization and dynamic programming. Perhaps that last class isn’t as applicable… but overall, the material in the business school is very relevant. 

Where would you like to work after graduation? I will be working as a derivatives trader at Optiver in Chicago, IL. 

What are your long-term professional goals? I’d like to eventually contribute to the education space. I’ve always had a passion for both learning and teaching, and there’s significant room for improvement in our current education system. Whether it’s directly teaching students or creating an educational startup, I hope to somehow help students around the world. 

“I knew I wanted to major in business when…I witnessed my dad’s transition from an engineer to an entrepreneur. Watching him grow his business from one Subway restaurant in Houston, TX to several different restaurants in multiple states was exciting. I was always interested in the problems he faced and his decision-making process, and I knew McCombs would help me understand his business better.” 

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be…in the midst of a hectic law school application process. I came into college interested in public policy and law, and I even took my LSAT sophomore year. I was determined on going to law school, but my main interests changed when I took several finance courses and joined a computational finance organization. I haven’t completely closed the door to going to law school in the future, but I’ll be pursuing a financial career for now.” 

What was the happiest moment of your life? I have two. The first was getting accepted into the Business Honors Program at UT. I didn’t expect to get into BHP, and this was the first major validation I had received for my accomplishments. The second was witnessing the Houston Rockets’ miraculous comeback against the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2015 Western Conference Semifinals. I expect to add a third moment to this list when the Houston Rockets win their next championship (hopefully soon). 

Which academic or personal achievement are you most proud of? I’m proud of entering an industry (proprietary trading) that doesn’t typically recruit from UT Austin. Most of my peers in finance look for careers in investment banking and management consulting, but I wanted something that could use my interests in statistics and programming. After interning in trading, I’ve helped younger students find opportunities in trading as well. It feels great to get a job offer, but it feels even better to help others get theirs. 

What animal would you choose to represent your professional brand? My brand would be represented by a hare. Hares may not be the largest or most intimidating creature, but they are hyperactive and witty. They resemble how I like to think on my feet and make quick decisions. 

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would thank my older brother for inspiring me to learn on my own. He introduced me to the idea of self-driven education. I explored various subjects on my own through online resources, and that helped me develop into the person I am today. Also, most of my interests are patterned after his — technology, politics, mathematics. These interests eventually became core subjects in my undergraduate education and in my future career plans.

Fun fact about yourself: I got bored of traditional fantasy sports, so I created an NBA Exchange where my friends and I trade futures contracts on NBA teams. I’m looking forward to my job at Optiver trading financial derivatives; it’ll be good practice for the NBA Exchange. 

Favorite book: Freakonomics 

Favorite movie: The Dark Knight Rises 

Favorite musical performer: Kanye West 

Favorite vacation spot: Las Vegas 

What are your hobbies? Working out, Blogging, Fantasy Sports

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

Chirag has a great attitude! He is disciplined, hardworking, and accurate. Couple that with a guy who is extremely bright and has great skills and you have a student who has been a true joy to work in the program. We could all learn something from Chirag.”

Dr. John M. Griffin
James A. Elkins Centennial Chair in Finance
The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business


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