A glorious fall day greeted 27 Gilman juniors and seniors as they piled off the bus in Midtown Manhattan. They were there to tour Morgan Stanley and its enormous trading floor and to meet with two Gilman alumni who work at the firm. This was the first of three stops during the Wall Street 101 trip, which was designed to give students the chance to learn about career paths in the finance industry by meeting and hearing from seasoned alumni working in the field.
At Morgan Stanley, the group met with Michael Faridi '02, Executive Director – Credit Sales, and Zeke Morrill '13, Associate, who shared an inside perspective into a large investment bank's myriad and diverse operations.
From there, the Greyhounds headed east to the iconic 30 Rockefeller Center building, where they were welcomed to Lazard Asset Management by Managing Director Arif Joshi '94. Arif, who specializes in emerging markets, had previously sent the students bond circulars from countries that had recently issued debt. The students, grouped into four teams, presented their evaluations of the bonds' prospects to Arif, who shared real-world feedback on their assessments, offering them insights into the macroeconomic factors that influence investment decisions like these.
The last stop of the day was at Berkshire Global Advisors, where Bruce Cameron '74, Founder and Partner, hosted a panel discussion (a full list of participants can be found below) that focused on career trajectories and lessons learned along the way. The panel included graduates from five decades who each worked in different lines of finance; they all shared personal stories of success and challenges throughout their careers.
While each alumnus had a different specialty within the financial industry, several consistent themes emerged throughout the day's conversations for long-term success in the field:
- No matter what you study in college — and you don't have to study finance! — you must be able to answer the question of why you want to work in the field.
- In high school and college, don't bother padding your resume with dozens of activities for which you are only a participant. Instead, pick a few select activities in which to dive deep. Be a leader.
- In finance, everything is relative. You are not looking for the absolute best opportunities; instead, you are looking for opportunities that are superior to others.
- Positive interpersonal interactions, hard work, and luck will open lots of doors for you and increase your "optionality" in your career.
- Be a culture carrier and a first-class citizen.
- Find a career path whose work-life balance fits well with your priorities.
- Find a partner (in business and life) with a vision for their lifestyle that is similar to yours.
- Find outlets that allow you to unwind, decompress, and connect outside work.
- It's important to find enjoyment in your job. If you don't enjoy the lane you are in, that's okay. Find another lane.
- Find pleasure in your colleagues' growth and success.
- Jump at new opportunities, even if they seem risky, especially early in your career.
- Work with people you like and be open to following them when they go someplace new.
- Identify the mark you want to leave on the world and find a way to make it happen.
- The better you are, the more in demand you will become.
- Leverage the networks you have … especially the Gilman Network!
- It's okay to make errors in judgment, but limit the number of sloppy mistakes you make.
- Do what is hard now to make your life easier later.
- Invest in yourself!
Said Christian Hall '24, "The biggest thing I took away from our trip to New York is that I don't need to stress about having everything figured out yet. As Mr. Shikani said, 'There are many different lanes in finance; even if I don't know where exactly I want to go, so long as I put in hard work in the present, I'll be able to walk through the doors that open for me in the future.'" He continued, "There were multiple times throughout the trip when alumni told us how important it is to maintain personal relationships and how the connections they've maintained have helped them in their lives. Now, they're the ones giving back and helping the people that come after them. This fraternal bond is one of the things that makes the Gilman community so special."
This was the first time that the Wall Street 101 trip has taken place since 2019. Alumni participants included:
- Michael Faridi '02, Executive Director – Credit Sales, Morgan Stanley
- Zeke Morrill '13, Associate, Morgan Stanley
- Arif Joshi '94, Managing Director, Lazard Asset Management
- James Piper Bond, Jr. '18, Finance Associate, SoFi
- Bruce Cameron '74, Partner, Berkshire Global Advisors
- Theo Donnay '12, Vice President, HPS Investment Partners
- Stewart Kesmodel '94, Head of Capital Markets Solutions, UBS
- Trey Muldrow '88, Partner, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
- William Shikani '06, Portfolio Manager – Commodity Volatility, Squarepoint Capital