Alumni Meet with Students in New York CityAlumni Meet with Students in New York City
The best path to a good job runs through an alumni network.

Twenty-eight undergraduate and graduate accounting and finances students learned that lesson on the annual New York City visit to 10 major firms in their field. Early in September, they spent 2½ days in New York City on the excursion planned by the college’s chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, the honor society for business information students and professionals.

“I made some great contacts from the people I talked to at the firms we went to and from the IC Alumni Networking Night,” said Maia Root ’13, an accounting major.

One of them, Ru Nyambuya ’05, offered an interviewing insight: “Know what you want to do before you go into an interview,” Root said. She now knows to share her specific goals with potential employers.

Christopher Grady ’09 served as the host at Ernst & Young, where he is a senior associate in derivative valuation. He understands it’s important for alumni to maintain a connection with the School of Business.

“When I was a student looking for guidance and career advice, every alum I reached out to was more than willing to help,” Grady said. “Participating in these events, connecting with alumni, and hard work will go a long way in the student's job search. I've found networking with alumni to be the most beneficial by far.”

Staff members Jessie Stone He, professional development coordinator, and Stephane Jean-Baptiste, alumni and corporate relations coordinator, organized the visit.

To Stone He, “the networking component of the trip is truly invaluable.” Not only does the alumni networking reception provide students intimate insights into major organizations, she said, but “it also helps students get comfortable with networking, which can only be learned by doing and which is an integral skill that was emphasized at every site we visited.”

Alumni from 1981 to 2012 participated in the site visits and reception.

“The ready willingness of our alumni to host students at their workplaces and to take time to interact with students shows the amazing loyalty of Ithaca College alumni and their desire to give back,” said School of Business Dean Mary Ellen Zuckerman.

The trip also adds to students’ maturity, said Patricia Libby, an accounting professor and faculty adviser to Beta Alpha Psi.

“I see them developing significant focus on what they want to do and how they want to get there,” Libby said. “It’s a level of maturing that is necessary for success and one they often do not have while on campus.” 

The trip reinforced Root’s desire to become an accountant and taught her it’s important to know Excel, “which makes me grateful that I took Advanced Spreadsheets this semester.”

Finance major Mark Rudovic ’13 said he returned to campus “with a different mindset and an amplified level of focus.”

Walking onto the Goldman Sachs trading floor, which holds 800 people, staggered him.

“You walk into these boardrooms where the alumni deliver the presentations and you feel a shift in intensity,” Rudovic continued. “These alumni didn't get in the position that they are in today by being passive through college, and it makes me want to step up my game that much more.”

Jean-Baptiste described the visit to Richard Schapiro’s office at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where he is investment banking managing director. Schapiro, parent of a School of Business student, reviewed 14 resumes, discussed how students should prepare for their career, and brought an analyst off the trading floor to describe his career path.

“The students were amazed by how candid both presenters were toward their inquiries. It’s not every day you receive frank and intimate mentorship from a managing director of a major bank,” he said.

For Rudovic, the trip was a highlight of his education: “If there is one event to attend as a student, this has to be the one.”

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