An audience of over 300 students, faculty, alumni and guests occupied the Williamson Theatre at the College of Staten Island on November 15, 2023, for the fifth Careers in Finance, Economics, and Accounting Summit, hosted by the Lucille and Jay Chazanoff School of Business. Inaugurated in 2017 in collaboration with CSI/Macaulay alumnus Thomas Brigandi (Class of 2012), the event features an expert panel of speakers representing diverse aspects of the financial sector.  The panelists offer views on the future of the financial industry, career planning advice, and pointers for networking.

Following welcoming remarks by the Chazanoff School’s Founding Dean Susan Holak, Mr. Brigandi gave an impassioned keynote presentation about the value of networking and the extent to which his career path has benefitted from outreach and contacts.  As a demonstration of commitment to this event, Tom himself is the person who organizes the panelists for it each year.  After his opening remarks, Mr. Brigandi introduced the program’s moderator, Jodie M. Gunzberg, who serves as the head of strategic partnerships at Cboe Global Markets – the leading exchange network for global derivatives, foreign exchange, and digital asset and securities trading solutions.

Ms. Gunzberg adeptly guided a discussion with a panel of five professionals, who represented a spectrum of viewpoints and backgrounds from different sectors of the finance industry.  Topics were wide-ranging and touched upon the individual career paths of the panelists, emerging trends including the rapid rise of AI as an industry tool, specific career advice about internships, and industry changes relating to sustainability.  The carefully-designed Summit addresses three main goals: it offers students and alumni the opportunity to hear about current industry trends and insights from high-level professionals; audience members gain insights into many aspects of professional development; and a dinner reception after the panel offers the opportunity for students to immediately put these concepts into practice.

Several of the panelists were returning for their second or third appearance at the event.  This year’s participants included CSI alumnus Michael Cianciaruso, CPA, Tax Director at Citrin Cooperman; Ryan Meltzer, CFA, Executive Director at JP Morgan Asset Management; Sean Rivas, Director of Latin American Trading at Société Générale; Deepika Sharma, CFA, Global Head of Investment Manager Research at BlackRock; and Utku Teksoz, PhD, Economist with the United Nations.

Following the formal program, the students and panelists gathered in the atrium of the Center for the Arts to continue their discussions one-on-one or in small groups at a dinner reception.  Although the event started at 6:30pm, many were still deeply engaged in conversation well after 9:00pm.  Marketing student Oksana Boyaryna spoke at length with panel moderator Jodie Gunzberg, noting that “the Career Summit provided valuable insights into the business world” and that she was “able to get a deeper understanding of what steps to take next in my career.”

Chazanoff School Dean Susan Holak expressed her appreciation to Tom Brigandi and all the panelists for the generosity of their time, noting the impressive level of expertise and experience represented by the group.  “You shared so much important, unprompted, candid advice that aligns perfectly with initiatives in the Chazanoff School.  We feel privileged to be able to host an event of this caliber each year, with such esteemed guests and colleagues.”

Chazanoff School Board member Michael Stillitano, who attended the event, stated that he was “very impressed with the speakers and how they connected with the students.” “However,” he noted, “what impressed me most was the enthusiasm and energy of the students.” Those feelings were reflected by Management student Sada Hardeen, who expressed that she felt “honored to have attended,” and that she “gained invaluable insight and motivation to pursue [her] goals.”

Dean Holak applauded Tom Brigandi’s passionate and stalwart support for CSI students and their success. “He has an amazing track record with the Careers Summit, which has become a much-anticipated tradition at the Chazanoff School. We are exceedingly grateful to Tom for his dedication, energy, and commitment.”