Finance Industry Panel Informs

By Takuya Oka and Daniel Boardman

Wednesday, November 7 – Graduate student organization, Zicklin School of Business’s Association for International Business (AIB) hosted a Careers in Finance Speaker Panel event featuring leading professionals in global finance. With transportation still disrupted after Hurricane Sandy, the early morning event drew a crowd of students eagerly seeking their professional start in the industry. Each panelist had a unique background and career path, adding synergy and depth to the discussion.

Questions pointed to practical advice on students’ main interest:  How can I get a job in financial industry? There is so much literature and programming on finance careers, and the speaker panel provided a deeper, more personalized exploration of the topic for students.

Executive Director of Strategic Partnerships Donna Haggarty, and staff at the Graduate Career Management Center helped plan the event and bring together diverse panelists: Michael Materasso, Senior Vice President at Franklin Templeton Investments, Sherry Ann Mohan, Vice President, Legal Entity Reporting at Goldman Sachs, Ahmadu Gidado, Campus Recruiter at BlackRock and Siddharth Sanghavi, FSR Associate at PwC. Andreas Berg, a full-time MBA student, moderated the hour-long discussion.

Ahmadu Gidado shared valuable insight on demonstrating transferable skills in the job-seeking process. Students gained an understanding of how problem-solving, communication, and organizational skills lead to success in the competitive field. When asked about interview questions, Mr. Gidado explained the purpose of one of his favorite things to ask candidates: “Teach me something that you are passionate about”. The question is used to sample how the job seeker articulates and supports his or her opinion, which often proves more critical to employers than technical skills.

Michael Materasso spoke about how industry knowledge and understanding is key to successfully obtaining a job. His advice is to know what type of jobs are out there and be able to describe your target jobs in detail. According to Materasso, being truly passionate about work in finance is about becoming a participant in the industry and not just networking.

This point was strongly supported by Siddharth Sanghavi, who described his journey to his current position at PwC. He accomplished this by defining who he was and what he really wanted to achieve. What really excites you? What motivates you to know more or to talk to others about? There are so many people who say they want each job, but fail to articulate why. Getting over this hurdle is essential to convincing recruiters that they are qualified for the position. You cannot accomplish this unless you know yourself and what you are looking for, according to Mr. Sanghavi.

A recurring topic during the discussion was how to manage career switches. Sherry Ann Mohan from Goldman Sachs shared her story on how she managed the transition from accounting to investment banking. She talked about the importance of articulating and demonstrating the link between what you do and what is required for a position. Ms. Mohan spoke about the ongoing need to manage conflicts between personal and career goals, as well as the specific concerns of women navigating ambitious careers.

The panelists covered other general industry topics and gave tailored advice for several students who are currently applying and interviewing at financial companies. According to all the panelists, you don’t need to play golf to be successful in the financial industry, but you do need to be engaged with a community and get your name out in order to advance in the finance world.

The gathering ended with a networking session, with those students who did not have to rush to class staying to chat. The common thread of the event was the diversity of thoughts and perspectives, each convincing and forming a balanced whole. The experiences, expertise, and confidence of the guest speakers was evident in their professional demeanor and generous concern for the future success of Baruch’s graduate students.

To read more about the Association for International Business and learn about future events, you can follow them at at or on Twitter, @ZicklinAIB

One Response to “Finance Industry Panel Informs”
  1. Daniel Galperin says:

    I found this event helpful and got some useful advice about interviewing and the job search in financial services in general. However, I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to network with [one guest]. After the event, I told him that I graduated from the Zicklin School of Business in 2010 and have not been able to get a job in financial services and he told me to email my resume, so that he can take a look and help me out. I emailed him and he never called me. Any thoughts?

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