Itai Njanji

Itai Njanji ’11

Engineer at Microsoft

“I want to debunk the myth that Wooster only prepares kids to go to graduate school,” says Itai Njanji ’11.

Consider it debunked. This math and computer science double major had accepted a job offer, as an application developer with Goldman Sachs in New York City, by October of his senior year, thanks in part to his three summers’ experience in Wooster’s Applied Mathematics Research Experience.

Through AMRE, Njanji had the opportunity to develop computer models and software, conduct analysis, and present his findings for clients like Progressive Insurance and Prentke Romich, “using computer science to solve business problems.” The experience also prompted him to add computer science as a second major, along with math.

“The double major allowed me to bring two fields together,” he says, “and that’s the real world: nothing is isolated, everything works together.”

Those real-world experiences helped land Njanji an interview with Goldman, where he found that “the guy who interviewed me had done similar work to my I.S. [Independent Study] in his master’s thesis.”

Njanji credits that I.S. experience — working closely with a faculty mentor on a year-long senior research project of his own devising — with helping him develop more than just his research skills.

“It teaches you how to read carefully, how to write well, and how to stand up and defend your thesis and your conclusions,” he says. Leadership experiences outside the classroom, including serving as president of the International Students Association, making presentations to local schools and community groups about his native Zimbabwe, and playing cricket for the college’s club team, also helped to shape who he is today.

After two years with Goldman Sachs developing and supporting electronic trading applications, Njanji recently accepted a new position with Microsoft, in Redmond, Washington, in the software giant’s Bing search engine unit.

Where will the road lead next? Njanji can’t say for sure, but he is confident that Wooster has prepared him well.