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Northwestern University

Alumni Profile: Junta Nakai ‘04

Alumni Spotlight Q&A: Meet Junta Nakai ‘04, RVP, Global Industry Leader - Financial Services and Sustainability at Databricks

Junta Nakai graduated from Weinberg in 2004, studying economics and international studies.
Nakai is currently the Vice President for Financial Services and Sustainability at Databricks, a Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence(AI) company. He is also an investor, adviser, sake brewery co-owner and father to two kids.


Tell us about your career path. How did you get to where you are today?

My first job after graduating was at Goldman Sachs as a Financial Analyst in the Equities division. On Wall Street, I learned that the only constant is change. When I joined Goldman there were hundreds of traders buying and selling stocks. When I left there was just a handful left. I saw automation and disruption all around me. It turns out that trading stocks is a job for algorithms. Machines are far better at connecting buyers and sellers than humans. At 35 years old, I felt that the skills that I had spent 14 years honing were becoming less and less relevant. So I decided I would rather try to be a disrupter rather than being disrupted. I quit my job. That decision led me on a journey towards the defining technology of my generation: Artificial Intelligence. Today, I head Financial Services and Sustainability at Databricks, a Data Analytics and AI company based in San Francisco. As of right now, we are the 7th largest start up in the world.

Read more about Junta Nakai through his profile on the Weinberg News Center here.

Stay Connected

Whether you are a student or an alumnus, contact Cassie Petoskey, Director of the Waldron Student-Alumni Connections Program, at if you have any questions.
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