Success Stories | Jun 05, 2018 | Gabelli School of Business
Success Story: Brandon Stanford ’18 lands role at EY
by Maja Tarateta
For Brandon Stanford, MBA ’18, a chance exchange with a consultant led him to a change of career—and an MBA from the Gabelli School.
“I had laser focus on the process of getting to Fordham, and I used Fordham as a catalyst” to land a job as a senior consultant at EY, he said.
The journey for Stanford, a Bronx native, began after he earned an undergraduate degree in 2010 from John Jay College in Manhattan while working full time as a mailroom clerk in the Department of Education. He hoped to enter a career in law enforcement, but two years into the financial crisis, few government agencies were hiring.
When his hours in the mailroom were cut, he resorted to picking up a part-time janitor job. Then, a human resource associate in the Department of Education took notice of his degree and work ethic and offered him a job as a business manager for two schools.
“I taught myself accounting, finance, budgeting, and forecasting,” he said. After a few years, he was promoted to director of finance for a district in Queens, where he managed nearly 40 schools.
“I built their budgets from scratch,” he said. “But I wanted to find meaning in the work that I do.”
Stanford eventually took a role as the director of operations for a charter school network, where he implemented new accounting and enrollment systems, transforming the finances and performance of the growing network. He was earning a great salary and enjoying his work.
Then he took a fundraising call with a consultant.
“He says I should get my MBA. I say, ‘I’m good.’ He says, ‘No, you’re not. You need to separate yourself from the pack.’”
That led Stanford to taking the GMAT, applying to several schools, and ultimately finding Fordham.
After beginning classes in fall 2016, he soon discovered that on LinkedIn, he could filter for Fordham University. “The thing about Fordham is that the alumni network is ridiculous. If you want a job in New York City, this is the place to be.”
He wrote a boilerplate blurb introducing himself.
“I never asked for a job,” Stanford clarified. “I asked about everyone’s experience at Fordham: how they got there, where are they in their career, any advice?”
These exchanges led him to connect with a Gabelli alumnus who is a partner at EY, who recruited him for a job there, which he took while continuing his studies at Fordham. Today, Stanford has accepted a new position there that will allow him to best leverage his strengths in relationship building.
“A guy who was working at a charter school is now at a Fortune-500 company and working with individuals at the forefront of running a company,” he said. “If I can make managing partner in 10 years, I will change my legacy for my family and my life. And I could not have done it without a Fordham MBA.”