Rich Zajac CM ’16

The final quarter of high school for Rich Zajac CM ’16 was unlike that of most others. Rather than spending it at school in classes that colleges would never see, he and his classmates participated in internships around St. Louis, MO.

Zajac chose to intern at FTL Capital Partners LLC, a venture capital and private equity firm where he could pursue his passions for business and engineering.

While at the company, Zajac learned the ins and outs of a venture capital firm, actively participating in meetings and conference calls as well as authoring and designing engineering and business strategies for the firm, which were ultimately implemented to successful ends. His focus was Valley Minerals, a limestone quarry that FTL Capital saved from bankruptcy and now manages.

“It was really interesting to see firsthand what happens when a company goes through bankruptcy,” he said. “[Valley Minerals] had to call back all their suppliers. It’s really an exercise in trust to win that faith of the customer back after a bankruptcy like that.”

This internship confirmed Zajac’s interest in business, and he is now interested in pursuing a major in economics at Claremont McKenna, in addition to one in engineering or environmental studies. He also possesses the entrepreneurial spirit that he feels many of his peers at CMC share.

“We all have a passion to be individuals following what we love,” he said. “We want to be leaders and create a tangible difference in the world.”

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