Finance Yogi Salutes Shanghai
Sumo wrestling, Buddhist temples, sushi and cherry blossoms seem as commonplace as Shavasana for finance guru Ryan Daniels, a Marriott School finance alum. Daniels has spent half of his life growing up and working outside the United States, including his current position at tech giant Apple in China.
Daniels’s international stations have allowed him to cultivate his “work hard, play hard” philosophy, which he says his father, Marriott School professor Lee Daniels, instilled in him when he was a child living abroad. The Daniels family lived many years in Japan while Professor Daniels worked at AT&T, eventually becoming CEO. He later became the first foreign president of a Japanese telecommunications infrastructure company (Jupiter Telecommunications) in the history of the country, all while fitting in outdoor adventures and extensive travel.
“My dad always had a great balance of working really hard and having a lot of fun,” Daniels says.
Daniels grew up in Japan until age 14 and later served a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Taipei, Taiwan. Since graduating from BYU in 2014, Daniels has logged thousands of miles and racked up passport stamps from across the globe. He and his wife, Madeleine, embarked on an eight-month, globe-spanning trip between graduation and starting his full time job. They started in India, where they received their yoga instructor certifications, and went on to practice sun salutations everywhere from Belize to Botswana.
“I want my family to have international experiences,” Daniels says. “Living outside the US benefited me by giving me lots of different perspectives about how the world works.”
Where Daniels’s travel adventures have slowed, his adventures in finance have picked up. He currently works as a finance developer for Apple among the skyscrapers of Shanghai. Since November 2015, Daniels has worked on and developed six separate finance teams at Apple, and currently works on their greater China retail finance team.
“We are constantly working on different projects and initiatives to drive growth,” Daniels says. “It’s very unique because every day can be completely different.”
Daniels says that Apple’s values resonate with his own and mirror the lessons he learned at the Marriott School. He thrives in the environment of innovation and dedication to high standards, and has had the opportunity to work on and solve complex problems in business strategy, demand forecasting, and excel modeling.
“The skill that has helped me more than anything is the fact that the finance program at BYU pushes you to do hard things that you didn’t think you were able to do,” says Daniels. “At Apple, there’s a culture of innovation, extreme attention to detail, and pushing things to the next level. We are always pushing to do what’s really the right thing.”
Between a hectic work schedule and exotic vacations, Daniels finds fulfillment by accomplishing projects and leaving time for meditation.
“It’s definitely not all roses, but when you are able to grow and accomplish what you want to do, it’s really satisfying.”