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Student Spotlight: Zachary Weber About to Embark on a Microsoft Adventure of a Lifetime

By Alyssa England

Zachary Weber

TAMPA (October 27, 2020) -- Come this spring, Muma College of Business student Zachary Weber will take what will be the biggest step in his life. He begins an internship with Microsoft. The finance and business analytics and information systems double major plans to pursue his project-based internship program in Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington, while living in Seattle.

His path through USF is one that began years ago by his father.

Both of Weber’s parents have associate’s degrees, but neither have four-year degrees. His father served in the U.S. Coast Guard for four years after his high school graduation and began studying engineering at USF after he completed his service. However, due to shifting to academia from the work force at such a young age, his father had trouble transitioning back into the student role. He ultimately stopped attending school, opting to work in order to support himself.

“I thought it would be really cool to go to my dad’s alma mater,” Weber said. “He’s a season ticket holder, and he banks with the USF Federal Credit Union. Even though he has never gotten a degree from USF, I love seeing how much he enjoys it and embraces it; when I was growing up, he was always wearing USF shirts and USF gear. Even though he had a short experience, he enjoyed it so much. I saw myself filling his shoes by attending the same university and having another point that we can talk about and have in common.”

Weber thought about pursuing a degree in engineering, to follow in his father’s example. However, his finance education in Jefferson High School’s Academy of Finance nudged him toward a business world.

With Microsoft fixed in his future, Weber plans to gain experience in corporate finance and financial modeling, working to help determine price points for new products. Pretty ambitions for the first in his family soon to have a bachelor’s degree.

Weber discovered his passion for finance at a young age. By enrolling in the Academy of Finance program, he chose principles of accounting and international finance over electives like chorus or Gothic literature.

“The Academy of Finance partnered with certain businesses in the Tampa Bay area to provide internship opportunities for high school students,” he said. “Through the program, I received an internship with the USF Federal Credit Union during my junior year of high school.”

Upon his high school graduation, Weber had received a full-time job offer with the credit union, working as a fulfillment representative. He continued to work full time while attending college classes. His passion for business began to gel and after working as a fulfillment representative for about a year and a half, Weber itched for more.

“I was always a LinkedIn guy,” he said. “I spend more time on LinkedIn than I do on Instagram. I was seeing all these great people getting these amazing internships, and I said, ‘Wow. What do I have to do to get where they are?’ From there, I did a lot of stalking of LinkedIn profiles and realized I needed a big name on my résumé, and I needed to transfer over to more of a quantitative role within my industry.”

Following his time at the credit union, Weber took a position at Curve, a small asset-management firm that deals heavily with fixed income and buying bonds. There, he spent about eight months as a quantitative analyst, working to publish daily reports on the energy, health care, auto and industrial sectors using Bloomberg Terminal and Microsoft Excel.

Shortly after working at Curve, Weber landed an internship offer with PwC’s Start, a one-month project-based internship program that allows under-represented students to become more familiar with the firm and its role in the financial world. Weber was able to gain real-world experience in data analytics as he worked with Tableau and different programming languages to meet clients’ needs.

While Weber was working at PwC, Microsoft opened its applications for an internship program beginning in May. He was quick to apply.

He completed his internship with PwC and received a return offer on their deals team in New York City.

And then, he got a call from Microsoft.

“They said, ‘We want to invite you to our Super Day, our final round of interviews.”

He underwent five consecutive hours of interviews on Super Day. That was on a Friday. The following Monday, Weber received the good news. Acceptance.

This news came after he had spent nearly a month working towards earning a return offer with PwC.

With offers from two powerhouse corporations, Weber took two weeks to analyze which company would match his values and fulfill his desires and dreams. Ultimately, Weber leaned into Microsoft for several reasons, including the company’s tangible product, work-life balance and company culture.

“With Microsoft,” he said, “I feel like I’m going to a grown-up college campus.”

He draws inspiration from successful people around him, including his parents, colleagues and old friends.

“One of my high school friends now goes to the University of Pennsylvania, and seeing someone that had the same goals as I did really helped motivate me in the beginning,” he said. “Surrounding myself with like-minded individuals through Delta Sigma Pi and the Corporate Mentor Program helped elevate me.”

The founding president of the Student Finance Association and Corporate Mentor Program participant plans to graduate in 2022. Between now and the time he graduates, Weber hopes to continue working to increase Student Finance Association involvement and membership.

It has been quite a ride for the Tampa native. And, it’s just beginning. What about after graduation?

Weber is laser focused on staying on with that software company in Redmond.