Please tell us about yourself
Akhil Ketkar gets bored easily. “I try to keep myself occupied,” he said. Perhaps occupied is an understatement.
He works for the Boston firm Weiss Asset Management, which employs analysis to find undervalued securities throughout the world. As an analyst, Ketkar is responsible for trading and generating ideas for investment. His work is currently focused on China, India, Malaysia, Japan, Taiwan and Korea.
“There are very interesting things happening in the Asia, and in China in particular. The Chinese market almost tripled in value from September 2014 to May 2015, which is unreal,” he said. “The rally, along with certain structural changes in the market and related instruments, created interesting situations worth exploring.” As a result, Ketkar works from 5:00 p.m. until 4:00 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, which is Monday to Friday in Asia.
What did you study?
In addition to working in the evening and into the morning hours, he spends his days as a student completing his master’s degree in computational science and engineering from Harvard University. Ketkar said his intellectual curiosity is what drove him to the program. “It’s been a great experience. The classes are amazing,” he said. “It’s a collaborative setting, with smart people solving really interesting problems.”
In what free time he does have, you can find him training for some sort of physical event. He has completed several century rides (100-mile bike rides) and triathlons. In 2013 he ran the Philadelphia Marathon and in 2014, he completed a half Ironman. He hopes to race a full Ironman someday.
Ketkar has been with Weiss Asset Management, a small company managing more than a billion dollars of capital, since he graduated from Adelphi (Bachelors in Mathematics & Computer Science) in 2008. He described his work as the “Honors College equivalent” of a job. He explained that, like his years in the Honors College, his current work requires rigorous analysis and close reading of documents. “You need to have critical thinking and analytical skills—you can’t take anything at face value. You always need to think deeper and creatively to figure out if something is actually true or what other opportunities might be out there,” he said.
Tell us about your work
Collaborative is the word he used to describe his work environment. “My boss sits to my left, and the head of the firm sits two seats away from me,” he said. “We argue about what the best solution to a problem is…we sit around a table to present and critique each others’ ideas.” Most importantly, he said he finds his work to be intellectually challenging and rewarding.
How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and unusual career?
Ketkar came to the United States in 2005 after completing a year of engineering college in India. “When I didn’t find the program challenging enough, I started to apply to American universities,” he said. “One of the things I was looking for in an American university was technical depth, but also a breadth of knowledge. I certainly received that at Adelphi.”
A computer science and math major at the University, Ketkar credits Dean Garner and the Honors College with opening his eyes to “a whole new world” through the conversations they had on campus and the activities they participated in outside the classroom. “I had never been exposed to operas, ballets, and symphonies….that sort of high Western culture before,” he said. “I don’t think most Americans had access to the cultural events we enjoyed. I felt grateful to have these kinds of experiences as an 18-year old.”
A loyal donor to Adelphi, Ketkar said he gives back because “Adelphi fundamentally changed my life,” he said. “I could never pay someone back for that, but I’m hoping my small contribution can help someone else get to where they want to go on their journey.”