Student Profile: Senior Tyler Zimmet Reflects on His Time at Columbia

Tyler Zimmet is a Los Angeles native who had always wanted to go to college on the East Coast. And now, as he prepares to graduate from Columbia College with degrees in both History and Economics, he plans to stay in New York — at least, he said, for now.

Zimmet recalls a defining moment in his transition to living in New York: his first visit to Ground Zero, on the tenth anniversary of September 11 with a group of his first-year peers.

“Having come from Los Angeles and only in my third week of college, it was a pretty surreal experience, not only to visit that particular site on such a significant anniversary, but also to have the ability to leave campus for a couple hours to visit a site in NYC,” Zimmet said. “I would say it was that moment when I really first became truly comfortable, and excited, to be living at Columbia and in NYC.”

By the beginning of his sophomore year, Zimmet had adjusted to New York and was looking for a new community through which to experience it. He rushed for the Sigma Nu fraternity and found just that.

“I’m a big baseball fan, and when I was rushing, one of the events they took us to was a game at Yankees Stadium,” he said. “And since I liked the sport so much, it made it really easy to meet and talk to people; it was a really comfortable environment for me, so that was a memorable experience.”

Another fond memory came later that year, when two of Zimmet’s fraternity brothers performed in the Battle of the Bands competition, the winner of which would be the opening act for Bacchanal.

“Although many acts performed that night, very few acts had a lot of support in the audience, but over fifty Sigma Nus showed up in force to support our brothers,” Zimmet said. “Of course, they won in a landslide. This moment was really special for our fraternity, because it really spoke to the strong brotherhood that we all share, and perhaps more importantly, other students at Columbia had the chance to see that, too.”

Zimmet served as Vice President for Sigma Nu in 2014, alongside his involvement with the Columbia International Relations Council and Association (CIRCA), where he served as President, and the Undergraduate Recruitment Committee (in conjunction with the Undergraduate Admissions Office). His interest in CIRCA stemmed from his involvement in similar clubs in high school, like Model UN. His service as a tour guide for the Undergraduate Admissions Office was inspired by the many campus tours he took as a prospective student. 

“Almost every day I was doing something with one of those organizations,” Zimmet said.

In recognition of his many leadership roles, academic achievements, and other campus activities, Zimmet recently received the Stanley I. Fishel/Zeta Beta Tau Prize at the 2015 King’s Crown Leadership Excellence Awards Ceremony.

Along with his involvement on campus, Zimmet’s course load as a double major in History and Economics was substantial. After struggling to choose between the two subjects during his first two years at Columbia, Zimmet had taken enough courses in each to warrant two majors.

“I always thought I would be a history major coming into school, and the first year I was, but then I started liking my economics classes better,” he said. “Then I switched back again last year, because with the amount of history classes I had taken for fun over the years, the major came about accidentally; it just worked out.”

The two subjects complement each other, Zimmet said, and he appreciates being able to study the humanities, math, and science simultaneously.

Zimmet will be working in New York after graduation at Houlihan Lokey, an investment-banking firm.

As for whether he prefers the West Coast or the East Coast? Zimmet said, “It depends on the weather.”

By Jamie Nash

Friday, May 15, 2015


Available Date(s): 
Friday, May 15, 2015 to Monday, June 15, 2015