Dr. Andrew Brainerd '06

Dr. Andrew Brainerd '06

Describe your path since graduating from Portsmouth Abbey School.

After graduating from Portsmouth Abbey, I attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where I studied mathematics and physics with a minor in philosophy. During my summers in college, I did research in physics as a part of MIT's Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. As my college career came to an end, I realized I wanted to continue pursuing my study of physics, so I applied to Columbia University's PhD program in physics and was accepted. I pursued my Ph.D. in physics working on numerical simulations of cosmic inflation in the early universe under my advisor Brian Greene.

As my time in graduate school drew to a close, I realized I was more interested in using the math and programming skills I had learned in the industry than in pursuing a career in academia. I researched the career opportunities which built on these skills and was attracted to work in quantitative finance. After spending a few months preparing for interviews, I interviewed for my current job at Goldman Sachs and received an offer. My current role is on the "strats" team within Goldman's private wealth management. I apply the skills I learned in college and graduate school by developing software used internally at the firm and providing in-depth mathematical analysis of any issues that arise for our team.

How did your experience at Portsmouth Abbey School help you become the person & professional you are today?

Portsmouth Abbey played a vital role in making me the person I am today. The Abbey's emphasis on both math/science and the humanities gave me a well-rounded background for pursuing my intellectual interests in college and beyond. I also benefited greatly from the school's emphasis on Catholic values, which allowed me to form a strong ethical foundation for my life. I'm especially thankful to former headmaster Dr. DeVecchi and current headmaster Mr. McDonough for my experience in their mathematics classes.

What is a piece of advice you'd give to current Portsmouth Abbey students?

Take full advantage of all the opportunities the school has to offer. Stay in touch with the people that you meet at the Abbey-- you have a special connection to them from your time together in a unique environment. The School also has a great alumni network that can be invaluable to you years after you graduate.