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College less than half over, already a manager

Accounting , Areas of Study , Finance Stories | Mar 22, 2012 |

by Elizabeth Anderson (FCRH ’13)

Julia Blasl walks into her office on 35th Street every Wednesday morning, ready to lead her team of employees at JumpStart, a startup IT recruiting firm. Julia is not only the company’s financial manager, responsible for overseeing its accounting department.

She is also a Gabelli School of Business sophomore.

Clearly, this no average internship. Through a combination of moxie, talent, good timing, and the vision needed to take advantage of the uncommon opportunities afforded by working at a small organization, rather than a traditional behemoth, Julia has been able to take on a managerial role at a real business before hitting age 20.

Established in early 2009, JumpStart is small, with only about eight employees. Those staff members work on two sides: one that brings aboard companies that are looking to hire for IT positions, and another that recruits the applicants for those positions. JumpStart says that its defining factor is a much stronger vetting process than other staffing firms offer, involving multiple candidate reviews and in-person interviews before a company meets a potential hire.

Julia secured her position with JumpStart in August 2011 by boldly seeking a connection to the company’s founder, Larry Rheingold. At the time, Mr. Rheingold was running investor seminars in an attempt to get Jump Start off the ground. Julia attended one and approached Mr. Rheingold afterward, saying she wanted to work for him.

And she did.

Julia started as a recruiter, but after a few phone call rejections from clients, she began to realize that recruiting really wasn’t her forte. When she was offered the chance to manage JumpStart’s financial accounts instead, she leaped on the opportunity. The position began as a normal internship, with guidance and oversight from her superiors. But as Julia became more comfortable with her work, she was given the freedom to shape her own position. This independence allowed Julia to really make the position her own and find the best system that worked for her.

Having a startup company in your hands, while intimidating, is a very exciting opportunity, Julia says. Given the size of a startup, each employee becomes critical to the operation. Julia said the ones at JumpStart are mostly in their 20s and have put their hearts into the company. Julia also has discovered that responsibility and opportunity can vary inversely with company size. She receives hands-on training from professional accountants, is on board with the firm during the unique stage where it establishes a place in the market, and gets to directly apply lessons from her Fordham classes — especially management coursework — to her job.

What have Julia’s greatest lessons been from JumpStart so far? First, understand where your strengths lie — and don’t be afraid to vocalize that to your superiors. Second, take the time to make strong personal connections with other employees and develop relationships with them; Julia says that is a big part of good management. Julia’s dedication to JumpStart, its people, and its mission have made her a significant part of the company. Third, consider seeking out internship experience — which every Gabelli knows is crucial — at a smaller firm. Startups in particular, she said, greatly benefit from interns with fresh and new ideas.

Julia wakes up at 6 a.m. every Wednesday excited for the workday ahead of her. She will begin her junior year next fall with a set management position at JumpStart recruiting — the value of which cannot be overestimated.


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