Fordham Foundry and SuitUp Partner in First-Ever “Battle of the Boroughs” Competition Designed to Diversify Financial Services Talent Pipeline at the Earliest Stages
Featured Events | Dec 15, 2022 | Gabelli School of Business
By Paola Curcio-Kleinman
Photos courtesy of Bruce Gilbert
With the support of prominent financial services partners, NYC middle and high school students competed across the boroughs to create a product or service that celebrates and rebuilds a sense of community in Post-Pandemic New York City
On December 14, 2022, hundreds of NYC middle school and high school students, from across every NYC borough, descended upon the Fordham University Gabelli School of Business, at Fordham’s Lincoln Center Campus. They participated in a first-ever, SuitUp “Battle of the Boroughs” competition, which focused on diversifying the talent pipeline in the financial services sector by engaging students in an exercise that introduced them to the world of finance, while simultaneously challenging them to create a product or service that celebrates and rebuilds a sense of community in New York City post-pandemic.
Valerie Vazquez, NYC deputy commissioner of external affairs for the Community Affairs Unit, visited with student teams on campus to see first-hand, the amazing work they were involved in and the types of ideas that were being surfaced.
Student pitches were reviewed by a group of semi-finalist judges from companies including: Evercore, Centerview Partners, Millennium, Santander Bank, Angelo Gordon, Insight Partners and Goldman Sachs.
The judges who picked the winning team included: Zach Graumann, co-founder and chairman of the board, SuitUp; Shaun Johnson, associate director of the Fordham Foundry; Dr. Meisha Ross Porter ‘22, president and CEO, The Bronx Community Foundation; and Andrew Yang, founder of the Forward Party and 2020 US presidential candidate.
The winning team came from John Adams High School in Ozone Park, Queens. They presented their proposal of an app that would bring people together through culturally based content and events, by promoting small businesses across the boroughs, and by launching a campaign to keep the City clean in which all could participate. Students developed a full business plan that provided these budding “CEOs” with an insider’s view of what it takes to create businesses that are both meaningful to the communities they serve and are sustainable financially.