Daniel Zarick

Daniel Zarick is pleased with his double-pronged focus on business and graphic design, which he believes will serve him well in reaching his goals.

He can already scratch one goal off his list. Fittingly, he was named a 2010 Illinois Technology Foundation Top 50 for the Future award recipient. “My passion lies within technology and business, particularly involving Internet and mobile devices,” Daniel says. “I believe that design plays an important role, purposeful or accidental, in all successful products. The choices I make in building and leading a company will be positively affected by my interdisciplinary and wide-ranging interests.”

Those interests include an array of subjects he’s studied at Columbia beyond the limits of a traditional major: “I’ve taken classes about journalism, marketing, cultural studies, programming, photography, and more,” he says. That variety of related interests is what brought Daniel to Columbia. “There were few other places that gave me direct control over my education and allowed me to experiment and get what I needed out of a college.”

Daniel plans to launch a technology venture in the next two or three years. Web applications, mobile devices, or both will be the company’s center. This is not his first foray into entrepreneurialism.

“When I was 14 my best friend convinced me to start booking music shows with him. Organizing and running events was a natural thing for us. Soon after that, we started releasing our friends' CDs with the money we were making. We were proud of the work we did.”

That experience booking shows led Daniel straight to Columbia’s AEMMP Records.

Columbia is unique in that it allows me to do exciting work that can live out in the world.“One of my most memorable Columbia moments is going to Austin, Texas, as part of Columbia's AEMMP Records for the 2010 SXSW (South by Southwest) music festival. We were able to attend an exciting industry experience that most professionals still aspire to attend, yet we are still in school,” he says. “On top of that, our time in Austin was purposeful and valuable, and the event we hosted was on par with that of seasoned record labels.”

Daniel is never one to underestimate the value of a network. “Columbia is unique in that it allows me to do exciting work that can live out in the world, while still keeping the comfort of an educational environment,” he says. “The relationships with smart, interesting, and motivated people—students, faculty, and beyond” are what provide his greatest reward at the college.