Alumnus Maximilian G. '07, The Riverside School is no stranger to learning. He attended the International School of Zug (ISOZ) for 10 years, graduated from The Riverside School, went to Yale University until 2011 before completing his PhD this autumn in Operations Research and Financial Engineering at Princeton University. All that hard work studying has paid off as Max is now using his technical degree to work as a trader for a hedge fund in New York City and he loves it!
When we asked Max what was the most valuable advice he’d give some one interested in earning a higher degree, he said it was all about becoming independent. “While attending ISOZ and The Riverside School I learned to be an independent worker. I see now how having your own drive makes tackling problems and challenges so much easier. This is especially important if you are thinking of earning a PhD as most of your research is your reasonability.” Another bit of advice Max offered was to stay the course with your academic goals. “Changing your major once or twice to find out what you really like is necessary for some, but once you find what you want to do, stick with it and get through all the hard undergraduate classes. Once they are out of the way, learning becomes more enjoyable.”
Now that Max has started his career, he feels that this advice can also apply to the work place. “I don’t feel that it’s a degree that guarantees a job, but rather the drive to do what one likes. I have a technical degree rather than a finance degree, but am still able to work in the financial sector. This is the case for many of my co-workers too. I think this works for us as we all tend to have an independent work style and enjoy learning new things everyday.”
Although Max has attended two different universities and now lives an ocean way from ISZL, some of his favourite memories are from his time at ISOZ and The Riverside School. “I really liked the shows we’d put on with Mr Smith. Everyone came together for the production: moms helped make costumes; parents filled the audience; students from different grades practiced and performed together. In fact, Mr Smith was a big influence on my life. Sometimes I would just do the minimum requirements for my assignments, but Mr Smith would encourage me to go above and beyond. As he was my Grade 7 teacher, primary and middle school teacher and piano teacher from Grade 5-12, I learned a great deal from him. He expected more from me and I appreciate that now.”
Other classes Max remembers well are Mr Loesche’s economics and humanities classes and Mr Lordet’s math classes. He regrets now that he didn’t take Mr Loesche’s AP History class. “I loved going to school everyday. I think the teachers loved being there too and that rubbed off on us students. The classes were fun and the teachers were great. It was such a carefree, engaging and stimulating environment. I felt more like a respected adult than a teenager.”
Field trips, outdoor learning and sports were other beloved experience for Max. “It was always a treat to ‘skip class’ for sports and to ride the bus with Mr Newman and my friends. Meeting students from other schools and visiting new places was also a lot of fun.”
Max saw the schools grow from 90 to over 600 students and feels that Mr Latter, Mr Brooks and Mr Currer did great in their respective roles to help the schools grow while keeping that close community feeling – something else that he appreciated about attending ISOZ and The Riverside School. When reflecting about learning with Mr Latter, Max remarks: "I would like to express my eternal gratitude to the late Mr Latter, who instilled a passion to learn within me at an early age that continues to this day. Mr Latter was one of finest educators I have encountered in my academic career. Through his school (ISOZ) I learned many lessons which continue to help me today. The world lost this inspirational, great man way too soon."
Now that Max is out of the classroom, he doesn’t have any immediate plans to return to the books. Someday he’d like to start a company from scratch like his dad and grandpa have done. Perhaps he’ll write a crime novel or travel all over Asia one summer. “I was a Teaching Assistant in grad school and would like to teach again someday. I'm considering tutoring underprivileged kids in New York City as I find it very rewarding to help the world in some way.”