Eileen Tucker (CMU 2009)
Math and statistics double major, Science and Humanities Scholar, intern at JP Morgan
Diversifying her education
Eileen Tucker spent the summer after her sophomore year interning at Bear Stearns, immersing herself in the high stakes world of finance. For the math major, it was the perfect internship. She knew she wanted to go into the finance business, and her internship at Bear Stearns was a great stepping-stone. But when she returned to Carnegie Mellon in the fall and set her sights on undergraduate research opportunities, she passed over a quantitative finance research position.
"I chose not to apply for it because I figured I had the rest of my life to do that," said Tucker. "I didn't want to pigeonhole myself in finance. I wanted to try something new."
Tucker spent the next two years working with Statistics Professor Brain Junker to develop a tutoring system to help students in the Massachusetts school system prepare for their state exams. Her part of the project involved analyzing test questions and the students' responses to those questions to determine what skill set each question is measuring and how much overlap there is among questions.
Although it seems a far cry from finance, Tucker's undergraduate research experience gave her the independence to explore her own ideas, which is something she carried with her to her next internship with JP Morgan.
"It particularly was advantageous to have a less conventional background doing an internship in finance," said Tucker. "By doing independent research, I gained curiosity and the ability to look at something and ask questions. You're not being asked questions by a professor. You have to ask yourself, Why isn't this working? Maybe I'll look into that. This is the next step I have to take."
For Tucker, the next step in her career is with JP Morgan as an analyst in their Financial Analytics of Structured Transactions (FAST) division. But who knows where that path may take her.
"I'm going to leave school with such a diversified education. It gives me so many more options."