Our Stories

Turning Her Minor into a Major Interest

Math major Keira Zhu discovers a love for consulting in Accelerator

Keira Zhu
Summer Intern, Beacon Platform

Vanderbilt Accelerator 2019

Keira Zhu is majoring in mathematics at Vanderbilt. But an accounting class sparked her interest in that subject, and that led her to pursue an opportunity to conduct research with Professor Rita Gunn at Owen. That opportunity led her to add a business minor. And that, in the summer after her junior year, led her to Accelerator.

Originally, Keira wanted to pursue an advanced degree in biology (her other minor). “I enjoyed conducting experiments, analyzing data, and testing different hypotheses,” she says, “but I realized that I prefer a fast-paced working environment and interacting with people more often.” That certainly fits the description of Accelerator, which Keira believed would give her a better grasp of business fundamentals such as marketing, operations, and strategy. She was also fascinated by the prospect of working on projects for actual companies in a variety of industries—work that would enable her to apply the analytical and problem-solving skills she had developed through her training in science.

“The program really challenged me to get out of my comfort zone and interact with different people, collaborate with others, and present ideas in public,” Keira says. “In my undergraduate studies, I am always around people who are like me and think about questions in similar ways as I do. So it was good to hear different perspectives and learn to work with people with different views and personalities.”

And while business may only be a minor in terms of her studies, Keira sees it as a major part of her future. In fact, with a boost from Accelerator, she now aspires to work in financial or economic consulting.

Fun Fact: Keira loves working out (especially running) in her free time. In addition to cycling, hot yoga, rock climbing, boxing, and HIIT workouts, she ran two half-marathons in the past year.

It was good to hear different perspectives and learn to work with people with different views and personalities.