Triple Major Turned Master's Student Leading Georgia Tech in Tackles
Not one. Not two. Three majors.
That was life as an undergraduate for Malik Rivera, starting safety for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
After joking with his roommates at Wofford about trying for the triple major, he pulled out his computer and used an Excel spreadsheet to calculate how he could actually pull it off.
And he did.
“Once I figured it out and put it all together, I was kind of in amazement that I actually somehow managed to have the last three semesters all perfectly planned out,” Rivera said.
With one year of NCAA athletic eligibility left, Rivera joined the Yellow Jackets as a graduate transfer.
His major? Quantitative and computational finance (QCF).
“I knew I wanted to come here to be a student,” Rivera says.
In his final season Rivera is leading the team in tackles and is tied for the most interceptions. This all while balancing an incredibly challenging academic workload.
When he was interviewed by Georgia Tech athletics broadcaster Andy Demetra in the locker room, he opened his cubby to reveal right beside his helmet were several computer programming textbooks.
“QCF brings together everything I studied in undergrad,” Rivera says. “I like to explain it as a puzzle. There’s a lot of different ways to get a right answer, and you’re trying to find the best answer, the best solution.”
Rivera has the critical and calculating mindset needed for his courses, and that has given him an edge on the field.
“When I’m out there I’m thinking ‘Is there an easier or more efficient way to do this?’” Rivera explains. “Instead of looking at everything, looking at one thing. Maybe that one thing leads me to make the right play and the right read.”
As for plans post-season, Rivera says he’s already received job offers in the finance world. But for now, he’s focused on completing the season, then it’s full steam ahead toward his master’s degree.
“People are excited to know someone is going above and beyond football, not just thinking about football but thinking about life after it.” Rivera says.