Aparna Jaiya

Asset Management Division
Goldman Sachs & Co.


Aparna Jaiya
Class of 2004
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

What attracted you to Carnegie Mellon?

The world-class Computer Science Program at Carnegie Mellon. I wanted to spend my undergrad years developing my analytical and problem solving skills while leveraging off of my interest in Mathematics. Carnegie Mellon's program was the right fit for me.

What was your favorite class and why?

My favorite class was Algorithm Design and Analysis with Klaus Sutner. This class taught me how to analyze problems in novel ways and develop the skill of learning how to come up with solutions to problems that, at first sight, seem impossible to solve.

Who was your favorite professor and why?

This is a tough one. I enjoyed all my Computer Science classes since the professors were simply excellent and very inspiring. However, the trophy goes to Prof. Klaus Sutner. He is one of my role models till date since he is a unique blend of intelligence, creativity, and personality not only in terms of the field of Computer Science but also extra-curricular activities.

What was the best thing about living in Pittsburgh?
Affordable style of living for students: great food and awesome outdoor activities.

What opportunities do you feel you had at Carnegie Mellon that you wouldn't have had at another university?

The opportunities included: a) a great educational arena to learn from extremely intelligent and motivated professors and colleagues, b) excellent set of resources available in terms of improving one's knowledge, c) a high level of integration across various disciplines. In a nutshell, I was given the opportunity to develop all areas of my persona: education, career, fitness, creativity, and emotional intelligence.

How do you think Carnegie Mellon helped prepare you to meet your professional challenges?

The most important skill that Carnegie Mellon teaches you is how to solve a problem: imagine starting out with a blank sheet of paper and no instructions on how to go about approaching the problem but after a few hours of perseverance ending up with an elegant and efficient solution. This skill has helped me through my career choices, my interviews, and is continues to help me out in the real work environment where one is constantly facing new problems, with few known variables, that require fast yet well-designed solutions.

What do you believe has been your greatest achievement?

The ability to multi-task and develop myself in more than one dimension.

What advice would you have for incoming students in the field of computer science who were worried about the difficulty of their program?

Confidence and perseverance - develop these two skills as much as possible and you will be successful regardless of grueling or daunting a semester or a year might seem at first. As my Dad always says 99% perspiration and 1% good luck. That's right: make sure you give it your 101% and never look back on it. This attitude will serve you well through your four years and well beyond that. Remember one very important thing: ask questions, even if at first thought, they might make you look *less intelligent* - the person next to you is bound to have the same questions swimming in their head but the difference between the two of you will be: when you have a question, you will be relentless about obtaining an answer that satisfies your hunger for knowledge.

The advances in the field of computer science have lead to a digital revolution. We've seen the birth of the personal computer, the fruition of Moore's law, the rise of the Internet, to name a few. What do you think we'll see next?

We have entered a new era where companies have become extremely intelligent in combining just the right hues of software prowess, hardware efficiency, style, design, and creating a new appeal for the global consumer. Companies like Google and Apple have started a new trend. I am waiting for the next one that will combine phone, camera, internet services, and biometric information in the form of small accessory that I can wear when going out on a speed-meeting with one of our clients at work.

Describe your current position and its roles and responsibilities.

I am currently working in the Asset Management Division at Goldman Sachs & Co. in New York. My role is a neat blend of finance and technology. I develop various types of trading applications, web portals, and risk analysis systems for the Fixed Income Trading Desk in London and New York. I have several exciting responsibilities that range from learning about new financial products and investing, picking up the latest technology to come up with the next most elegant application, recruiting for my team as well as the firm, to volunteering in various organizations within Goldman Sachs.

What research projects are you currently working on or completed recently (e.g. describe your work on the e.g. Information Awareness Interface. What is it? Why is it important? What impact has this project made or will make in the field?)

Our *research* could be described primarily as Process Design and Enhancement. Our main function is to combine the most challenging aspects of both the financial services and the technology industry to come up with effective solutions that will help generate record-breaking revenues for our clients each year. We do this in a variety of forms: from analyzing outside vendor products that will serve such functions, developing in-house applications, gathering business requirements to see how we can automate all the tasks so that time and energy are channeled in more value-adding and innovative tasks.

If you have further questions, please feel free to contact Aparna Jaiya .