Zehra Naqvi ’21

Zehra Naqvi ’21 is a financial economics major with a concentration in art history.

What’s something interesting you learned this week?

I’m taking a class called “Making History Through Venturing” — our professor, Amol Sarva ’98, is amazing. He’s done a lot of work in startups and entrepreneurship and was a philosophy Ph.D. It’s interesting to think about finance in the context of philosophy. This week we talked about Descartes and how his ideas influence the startup world and creating a business. It was the different aspects of my education coming together!

What’s your favorite Core reading so far, and why?

Pride and Prejudice. It was my favorite before Columbia, but re-reading it here gave me a new perspective. Jennifer Rhodes ’00, GSAS’17 was an absolutely amazing Lit Hum professor; she let us put our own ideas forward — whether or not they were academically correct was not something she was concerned about.

Fast Facts

Major: Financial Economics, with a concentration in Art History

Hometown: Hong Kong

Favorite spot on campus: Low Steps at sunset, right at the beginning of the fall semester when it’s still warm and everyone is newly back on campus

What do you like to do outside of class?

Lion Fund is a Columbia-based hedge fund/investment management fund that introduced me to finance and raised my interest in it. It also motivated me to be aware of new ideas and emerging trends that are going to affect the world — in ways that we might not realize — in 50, 60 years. Also GLO, which is my fashion, social justice and activism graphic T-shirt line (and now it’s turning into a media platform) that focuses on empowerment and awareness. That’s something I’ve been doing since Hong Kong. I feel like people don’t realize that Generation Z has a lot of power right now, and we focus on trying to emphasize how important our ideas are and how we can shape the world.

How do you like to take advantage of being in New York City?

I’m majoring in financial economics and art history, and those are two industries that dominate New York. I always see new exhibitions at museums — the Michelangelo exhibit at the Met last year was gorgeously curated, there was a Warhol exhibit at the Whitney I went to, and the Morgan Library just did Tolkien’s manuscripts and sketches. At the same time, New York City gives me a place to develop my interest in finance. The huge powerhouses of the finance world started here, so access to that history — and understanding the nature of the financial world in New York and America — is something that I really try to take advantage of.