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Thursday, July 24, 2014 | Last updated: 3:46am

Student earns high marks on aptitude test



While senior Alexander Cohen started off studying mechanical engineering, his love for numbers and problem solving convinced him to try finance as well. Now, Cohen’s decision to double major has paid off; he recently took the Bloomberg Aptitude Test for business and finance and ended up ranking in the top three in the world for February.

The BAT is a free online opportunity to assess your business and finance aptitude that ranks students from more than 60 countries, said Jackie Napalan, the University Sales Representative at Bloomberg Institute. The test covers eight different topics including math, analytical reasoning and economics, and is meant to measure a student’s level of readiness for a career in business.

Napalan said that the test also works to connect students with potential employers.

“The BAT allows employers to discover hidden gems on all campuses and directly compare candidates from a diversity of schools and majors with fresh data,” Napalan said. “It is a win-win situation for both employers and students.”

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By Steve Nguyen / The Daily Wildcat
Alexander Cohen scored in the top three scores for the Bloomberg Aptitude Test for the month of February. With a top score of 710 out of 800 Alexander is receiving much attention from private companies and potential future employers.

Cohen said that the opportunity to meet employers is the main reason he took the test.

“As I worked through my job search, I wanted to do anything that I could to try to set myself apart,” Cohen said.

Since he scored so highly, Cohen said that eight to nine businesses have expressed interest in him.

“It’s been exciting to wake up quite a few mornings and have an email from a company that wants to see your résumé,” Cohen said.

Jeff Welter, Cohen’s finance career coach and the assistant director for professional development, said that Cohen succeeded partly due to the combination of his two majors.

“Because of his engineering background, he can work math in the frame of finance,” Welter said. “He’s amongst the brightest students that I’ve met, with his ability to solve problems and use analytical tools to solve technical problems.”

Even though the test is meant to be taken by anyone, Cohen said that he feels like his finance classes helped his performance on the test.

“Knowing the background and having a foundation in finance, I was able to apply it [to the test],” Cohen said. “For example, for the graphs, I knew the relationships of some of the prices on the graphs, and so I knew what to be looking for before I even looked at the question.”

Cohen said that he has several career goals in finance that he hopes to achieve, which include getting involved in private wealth management and managing a hedge fund.

“I’d like to work for somebody who has experience and understanding and a background that I can really learn from, and take what I learn and then apply that as I go forward,” Cohen said.

Currently, Cohen is looking at a hedge fund called Government Portfolio Advisors in Portland and a mortgage banking company called Mortgage Capital Trading in San Diego.

“They’re both small companies,” Cohen said, “and what attracts me to a small company is that it gives me the opportunity to have my hands on a lot of different things and see a lot of different things, like see the trading aspect of the company, see the research aspects of the company.”

Welter said that he thinks Cohen has what it takes to succeed in business, no matter what he decides to do.

”He’s a super hard worker,” Welter said. “He probably has put in more work than his peers as far as understanding how to solve problems and understanding finance in particular.”


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