6-A Interview with Cyril Lan


Cyril Lan, MEng student in VI-A program

What were your interests as a high school student and how did you come to choose Course 6 when you came to MIT?

My interests in high school were quite varied - I liked theoretical physics and computer science. When I applied, I declared course 16. Upon arriving, I decided to major in courses 6 and 8, but after hearing advice from upperclassmen, went and stuck with just course 6.

Once you decided to major in Course 6, what led you to choose 6--A --adding the MEng experience?

I thought 6A was very efficient - I could further my education and get some additional work experience in the timespan of only a year.

What are the aspects of 6-A you liked the best and how have you found your interests grow or change as you've gone on?

The industry part of 6A has really helped me hone my work skills, such as communicating effectively with other people (both technical and non-technical) and finding new ways to motivate and excite myself. I don't think my interests have shifted by all that much, but 6A has helped me take closer looks at different subfields within computer science.

Where do you envision yourself headed next and how do you think 6--A has prepared you?

After graduating, I will be earning my private pilot license and will be starting work at Jump Trading (a high frequency trading firm). At some point in my life, I would like to create a startup related to video games and grow it into a larger company (think Activision Blizzard). I haven't quite figured out how the theoretical physics part is going to fit in. Industry really is quite different from research (aka the MIT bubble), and I think 6A gave me a good head start on that.