Class of 2018: Travel awaits this new grad before career begins

Peyton Zachrich will be the student speaker at the Fall Commencement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 15, at 1:30 p.m. He is graduating with a B.B.A. in Financial Management,  summa cum laude.

Hometown: New Concord, Ohio

High School: John Glenn High School

How did you come to choose your major?

The work and career opportunities in corporate finance are a really good fit for my passions and skillset, and can support the long-term goals and lifestyle I want to have. I love structured problem solving and working to influence people and decisions.

What’s next?

I’m going to move back to New York City this coming summer to begin my career as a financial analyst in Unilever’s Future Leader’s Program, a three-year finance rotational program. I interned there this past summer and had a great experience with both the work and the company culture.

Q: How are you going to spend your time between graduation and what’s next?

A: I’m going to spend the first five to six months of 2019 traveling in Spain, Central America and South America, getting around mostly by bus and living out of a backpack. I’m planning on making some stops to volunteer along the way and hopefully improving my Spanish to a decent level by the end of the trip. I’m especially looking forward to hiking in Chilean Patagonia, exploring the Brazilian Amazon, seeing the wildlife in the Galapagos, and experiencing the culture of cities like Mexico City, Bogota, Cuzco and Rio.

Q: Favorite campus activity?

A: Habitat for Humanity!

Q: How have you changed during your years at UA?

A: Some failures, a few good mentors, and a lot of learning helped me grow up a little bit, stop being as much of a cocky fool (thank God), figure out what I really want in life, care more about helping others, and take responsibility rather than seek excuses. 

Q: Did you study abroad? How did the experience shape you and your view of the world?

A: I studied abroad both semesters my sophomore year in Marseille, France. The experience definitely shaped who I am and how I view the world in a lot of ways. I found out that my favorite thing in the world to do is travel, and through traveling I learned how blessed we all are here in America (even when it feels like we aren’t), how to be comfortable in any situation, the value and fun in learning other languages and cultures, and how to survive without air conditioning.

Q: If you had an internship or co-op, what did you get out of it?

A: I did four different internships; each one taught me some unique things, but all of them taught me to be humble, ask questions/seek mentors, recognize how much I need to learn, don’t let myself have bad days or accept failure, and be results-oriented. 

Q: What’s your advice to incoming freshmen?

A: I would really recommend spending some time thinking about exactly what you want from life and why, figuring out what specifically you need to do to make it happen, and then committing to doing whatever it takes to get there. Following the crowd, coasting and making excuses is usually easier, but if you take responsibility for yourself and your life, you will be a lot happier and more successful. Also, don’t postpone living with integrity and a higher purpose until you’re older. If you speak the truth and look for ways to leverage your time, resources, passions and talents for things greater than yourself, you will find much more satisfaction, and it will give you meaning, which will help you make it through difficult times.