What a role model: catwalk star turns back on fashion industry after being named top-performer by Ivy League college
Previously starring in campaigns for the likes of Tom Ford, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton and Prada, a Polish model has been named the highest-performing graduate in her department at the prestigious Columbia University.
Enrolling in 2018 to study Financial Economics, 28-year-old Zuzanna Bijoch has been named the valedictorian in her faculty and will deliver a graduation speech on Monday on behalf of all students – by doing so, it is thought she will become the first ever Pole to be bestowed with such an honour by the Ivy League college.
Born in Katowice in 1994, Bijoch was first discovered at a local modelling competition before going on to grace the covers of magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Elle.
Previously appearing as a judge on the Polish edition of Top Model, Bijoch’s CV further includes catwalk appearances at all of the world’s major fashion weeks as well numerous shoots for the planet’s biggest brands.
In her twelve years as a model, she has also been placed several times in rankings listing the world’s most influential models, at one stage reaching as high as 13th.
However, now a new career beckons as she seeks to break from her glamorous past.
Followed by nearly 350,000 on Instagram, Bijoch used social media to spill the news of her graduation to her fans. “What a wonderful ending to another chapter of my life,” wrote the model.
Speaking to journalist Maciej Kawecki, the model then dropped the bombshell announcement that she would leave modelling entirely to pursue a new life in the finance industry.
Writing on Twitter yesterday, Kawecki said: “When I asked her yesterday if she had a message she said, ‘thanks to passion, consistency and perseverance you can move mountains’.”
Continuing, Kawecki wrote: “Zuza now says she will quit modelling altogether… She starts a new career at one of the most reputable financial companies in New York. She tells me that she feels as if she has started a ‘third life’.”
A star student from the outset, Columbia University have revealed the qualities that made Bijoch such a standout achiever.
“Zuzanna has always been interested in finance and thus decided to pursue a degree in Financial Economics,” they wrote. “At Columbia, she worked as a research assistant in Columbia’s Department of Economics.
“She also won a Romine Prize from the same department for her seminar paper titled ‘The Role of Activist Ownership and Management Sentiment in Corporate Spin-off Value Creation’, and was on the winning team in the IIG Investment Case Competition sponsored by Citadel.”
Columbia further mentioned that Bijoch had served as a board member of a student-run hedge fund.
Graduating summa cum laude, Bijoch will now join the New York-based firm BDT&MSD.