You’d think that a student-athlete recruited to play men’s lacrosse at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute would be upset at missing out on his final two seasons of collegiate competition due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But while senior Jason Bram is understandably disappointed by some of the unexpected challenges created by the global health crisis, he has used the final year of his undergraduate experience to take to heart a personal mantra he developed over the last four years — try something new.
Since he was a young boy, lacrosse has provided Bram with structure, a space where he could fail and still succeed, and opportunities to grow. “When I play lacrosse,” he said, “I feel free. I’m aware of my surroundings, but I’m focused and in the moment.”
Bram has also had a longtime interest in studying business management, which is what initially brought him to Rensselaer from Reading, Pennsylvania. During his first two years at the Lally School of Management, in addition to completing an internship at Ayco-Goldman Sachs, he found himself drawn to the detailed math behind the world of finance. The numbers, he says, give him the same kind of balance he found on the lacrosse field.
He had an internship all lined up for the summer of 2020 with the equities research division of Janney Montgomery Scott, a financial services firm, to further explore the world of investing. But in addition to forcing him off the lacrosse field, the pandemic scuttled his summer plans.
So, Bram tried something new. He pursued a second major, finishing all the necessary classes in three semesters. He will graduate this May as a dual major in business management and computational math.
“A lot of people have a negative connotation of school and work,” Bram said. “But when school becomes interesting and you become fascinated with material that you learn, you’re able to connect with your professors, and from this, school becomes what learning is ideally supposed to be: thought-provoking and stimulating.”
As president of the Rensselaer chapter of Epsilon Delta Sigma, the national management honors society, Bram sees the connections between math and lacrosse spill over into business as well. “Building a business is like being a leader on a sports team,” Bram said. “A leader must recognize the different talents, strengths, and weaknesses among the people on your team. You need those other people in your life, and you need to be able to communicate with them and then to be able to build and play off those strengths as well as sort of sharpen your own abilities.”
Bram believes he’s matured at Rensselaer, from the high schooler almost singularly focused only on lacrosse to the more rounded person he is today, with a range of hobbies and interests that include hanging out at the Rensselaer Student Auto Shop (fixing up a late-’80s-era Chevrolet Caprice is a personal goal).
In the fall of 2021, Bram will be attending Columbia University graduate school to study applied mathematics in hopes of one day opening his own quantitative or algorithmic investing firm.