Smart Woman Securities (SWS) Associates kicked off its 2014 Seminar Series on Wednesday, February 12 with its first guest speaker, Bryan Matis. This Gabelli School alumnus and J.P. Morgan business analyst discussed how he utilized his business network to secure internships and later, a full-time job offer.
Mr. Matis shared some tips on how to land internships. First and foremost, he suggested that students get their GPA as high as possible. For first-time interns, the strength of the GPA can be a recruiter’s best measurement tool, and it could mean the difference between choosing one candidate over another.
- He also suggested that students get involved on campus from Day One. His rationale? The value of campus leadership positions translates into marketable skills. Such experiences help students to learn how to run meetings, write concise emails, organize people and motivate teams toward common goals. Another tip? Don’t underestimate LinkedIn. It’s a powerful tool that is an extension of one’s résumé. Be diligent about updating it. A few more worthwhile tips from his talk included:
- Your network is your net worth. Take advantage of the Fordham brand. People don’t hire a résumé – they hire a person. So build a personal network and keep in touch with all connections.
- Cast a wide net in a job search. Be open to whatever opportunities come along. Mr. Matis noted that he didn’t arrive at Fordham in his freshman year with the intention of working in risk technology, but an opportunity led him there and it turned out to be a really great fit.
What to do after you’ve accepted your first full-time offer? Remember that everything you do at work contributes to your personal and professional brand. Always do quality work, and make sure that everything you do is 100 percent professional. Keep the next step of your career in mind. Find role models you can learn from and take ownership and initiative, because managers will notice. Finally, Mr. Matis advised: Don’t be afraid to challenge ideas, but always make sure to back up your position.
His journey from an operations internship to a Prime Brokerage internship, and later, to his role in risk management is a testament to the strength of Mr. Matis’ network. Every job and connection was a stepping stone to the next opportunity, and during his talk, he encouraged SWS Associates to do the same as they approach their first internships.
The SWS Seminar Series continued with a talk by Ernst & Young Partner Christine Lowney on Wednesday, February 19.
Ms. Lowney stressed the importance of building networks and maintaining interests outside of work. Most critical to success she said is finding the right sponsors and developing one’s personal brand. What is the difference between sponsorship and mentorship? Mentors are useful to learn from and emulate, but sponsors are those who will readily advocate for and facilitate one’s career advancement.
The importance of developing one’s own professional brand is another key to success for young professionals, particularly women, Ms. Lowney said. In entry-level positions, the split between men and women is often 50-50. However, when it comes to a position such as partner, there is a major shift in this split at 85-15 in favor of men. While Ms. Lowney acknowledged that this could be due to many factors, she maintained that one key reason for the disparity is a gap in networking efforts and personal branding. Women often think that doing their jobs exceptionally well is enough and don’t always make their voices heard in the workplace. The result? Less opportunity to advance up the chain of command.
Having a life outside of the workplace is also important, she advised. Ms. Lowney sits on various boards, including a school and an animal rescue group. Efforts like these keep life fresh and interesting and, she said, “make you the best person you can be, both in and out of the workplace.”
Join SWS on Wednesday, February 26, when Fordham alumna Deanne Grimaldi shares her insights from her career, including her current role at Goldman Sachs’s Institutional Asset Management Division.