Business of learning energized alum to return to Dominican for MBA

When it came time for Zach Norman ’11 to pursue his MBA, he had many options.

Zach had been accepted at Dartmouth University and was considering attending UC Berkeley. Or, if he wanted to wait, he was thinking about first traveling to and working in Iceland.

In the end, Zach, now Director of Trading for Raub Brock Capital Management, choose to come back to Dominican. He was in the process of a smooth transition into a position with Lateef Investment Management after a comfortable and rewarding experience as an undergrad in the Barowsky School of Business.

“I was initially very gung ho about going somewhere else for my MBA and experiencing a new place. Getting the job offer at Lateef, however, was a big catalyst and turning point. Getting a foot in the door was the most important thing,” Zach says. “Now looking back, getting my MBA at Dominican was the right decision for sure.”

A graduate of San Marin High School, Zach chose to go to college closer to home. As a grad student, he was inspired by Asayehgn Desta, professor of sustainable economic development.  Zach later connected with George Salter ’97 and ’99 MBA, and his brother, James Salter ’01 and ’03 MBA, who were teaching a finance class at Dominican. Zach still keeps in contact with the Salters, co-founders of Blossom Wealth Management.

“It was fantastic. It was the most real-world application type stuff I had had yet. Stuff I had never seen in text books,” Zach says. “These guys really shaped me and helped me find my true professional interests.”

Beginning with internships with Axion Capital Management in San Rafael and a summer internship in China at Hutchinson Whampoa as a market analyst, Zach knew he did not want to be an investment banker or an analyst. He had his eyes on the stock market. He appreciated the support and competitiveness of classmates, such as Reed Upson ’12 and ’13 MBA and Kenny Dotson ’09 and ’11 MBA, and was inspired by his best friend Hank Rao ’12. Upson is Vice President of Business Capital, Dotson is managing partner at Alantes Corporate Finance in New York City, and Rao is Founder and CEO of Japan Crate.

Zach also appreciated the broad scope of his education while pursuing his MBA in Global Strategic Management in helping him prepare for a career as a trader.

“It was about teamwork, team building, stress management, and how to talk to superiors and subordinates,” says Zach, who has been Director of Trading at Raub Brock for more than three years. “It’s not so much learning new formulas. It’s about interaction and corporate culture and working with others. The peer-to-peer interaction is such an important element to any business, corporate or small business, you have to intermingle and know how to work with others.”

And sometimes it’s about being in the right place at the right time. Zach parlayed his role as an operations associate into a trading position with Lateef. Those two job titles and experiences evolved perfectly into an opportunity to be Director of Trading with Raub Brock.

“It’s definitely a role where I wear multiple hats,” Zach says. “It’s been a lot of hard work, but I’ve also had good timing, which is an ingredient to anyone’s success story.”


January 12, 2018