A near-capacity audience of over 300 students, faculty, and alumni occupied the Williamson Theatre on Wednesday, November 6, 2019, for the third annual “Careers in Finance, Economics, and Accounting Summit” hosted by the Lucille and Jay Chazanoff School of Business. The summit featured experts from various sectors of the financial world, and included a keynote address via remote link and a panel of executives. Each speaker shared details of their own career paths, imparted advice about strategies for landing one’s first job and career advancement, and emphasized the importance of networking.
In her introduction to the evening, Founding Dean of the Chazanoff School of Business Susan Holak introduced the program by noting that CSI Macaulay Honors College and Chazanoff School of Business alumnus Thomas Brigandi, CFA, who has already had great career success, has been a significant supporter of the School and had been working on the program for several months. Dean Holak also added that this was the third consecutive year that this event had been held, with a different group of panelists presenting each time.
With its panel organized by Mr. Brigandi, the event featured professionals from a range of backgrounds and at various career levels. Since its inception, the Career Summit has become a mainstay of the annual calendar of the Chazanoff School, drawing students, faculty, and alumni to the College each November.
Following the keynote address via Skype by United Nations Economist Dr. Utku Teksoz, the panelists spoke about their career paths and the opportunities that they took advantage of along the way. Moderator Kyrill Firshein posed questions and scenarios to panelists Matthew Anthony; Katherine Brigandi; Joshua Burrell, CFA; Edward Cotler; Jonathan Dong; Antonio Rodriguez, CFA; and Deepika Sharma, CFA; all of whom have extensive experience in the fields of Accounting, Economics, or Finance. At the conclusion of the formal program, Dean Holak invited audience members to a reception and networking session in the adjacent atrium, where students could meet and interact with the panelists.
Dr. Jonathan Peters, Professor of Finance at the Chazanoff School, stated that “this is a fantastic chance for the students to hear from real field professionals about issues and opportunities in these areas. It is very important to have outside validation of the learning that takes place in the classroom, and it’s great to be able to demonstrate some of the advantages that come from being located in New York City.”
In addition to Mr. Brigandi and his sister Katherine – herself an alumna of the Macaulay Honors College and the Chazanoff School of Business – other alumni of the School of Business were present in the audience. Those who were recent graduates of the School found the advice from the speakers to be relevant and extremely useful, and at the networking reception following the panel presentations they also connected with current students to offer guidance and insights.
One such alumnus was Joseph Maggio, who earned his CPA license after graduating from the School of Business in 2017, and who returned to his alma mater just to attend the event. Joe, who now works as a staff accountant and who attended the first career summit as a student, noted that he “learned so many useful life lessons from the panel, intangibles that aren’t taught in the classroom,” and that he “felt inspired walking out of there.”
Current graduate student Richard Pallarino, who works in the accounting industry, said that “being around some of the top finance professionals from different backgrounds is an advantage that not many other schools can offer, and CSI is making this happen at least once a year.” Pallarino also noted the value of the contributors’ viewpoints to students who are about to embark upon their own professional careers, stating that it was “great to see the other side of the equation and have access to such astute panelists.”
One aspect common to all of the speakers’ presentations related to being outgoing and confident, and that students should demonstrate their determination and leadership through personal connections. The panelists spoke of their own experiences – both positive and negative – that brought them to their current careers and positions. After the panel concluded, Andrew Colbeck, the staffperson and technician for the Con Edison Trading Room in the Chazanoff School of Business, who has extensive experience in the Wall Street environment, remarked that “you would not see a higher-level group of people in these fields at any college anywhere in the country.” Pallarino neatly summed up the value of the event by saying that the Career Summit is “something that each student should attend and take advantage of.”
The Lucille and Jay Chazanoff School of Business hosts many events and student professional development opportunities through its Dean’s Special Speaker Series, Tuesday Business Briefs discussions, Student Club events, and classroom guest lecture opportunities. Students, faculty, and alumni from across the College are welcome to attend and contribute to the conversations relating to business and its place in modern global society.