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For the Tufts Financial Group (TFG), the pre-professional financial organization for undergraduate students at Tufts, the 2013 academic year has been one of the strongest for its widely-popular Alumni Speaker Series. With guidance from the Tufts Financial Network (TFN), this year the group has secured eight alumni speakers from across Boston and New York. All returned to campus to share their experiences, expertise and career advice.

Emily Sillari, A13, President of TFG, describes the Speaker Series as “the best attended TFG events because members see value in engaging with alumni and hearing about how they launched successful careers in finance.” She added, “I’m constantly impressed by the willingness of our alumni to speak with TFG. It’s great to see their commitment to fostering a financial community at Tufts.”

This year’s crop of speakers returned to the Hill from leading consulting firms to thriving investment start-ups, each bringing different perspectives and new ideas to share with students.

One speaker, David Chang, A01, Portfolio Manager at a Boston-based investment management firm, returned to campus in November and spoke to a packed room about organizational structure and careers in Asset Management.

“As a relatively recent graduate, I very much enjoy coming back to campus to speak about the industry and provide students with some career guidance,” said David. “A Tufts education continues to produce high quality and driven graduates, and as alumni, we can play a critical role in their learning process, whether through sharing our experiences or opening doors for opportunities. Importantly, enhancing their understanding of the financial industry is key to improving their odds of succeeding in a very competitive marketplace.”

Regular attendance at the Speaker Series is considered by some students, such as Marco Sammon, A13, TFG Portfolio Manager, a transformative experience for those serious about their future in finance.

“Having speakers with diverse backgrounds benefits TFG in many ways,” said Marco. “Bringing to campus specialists in fields like ‘master limited partnerships’ gives insight into less well-known sectors in the industry. As everyone has his or her own investment style, investment managers with years of experience can talk about portfolio strategy. This definitely offers new perspectives on stock-picking which we can directly apply to managing the Alpha Fund.”

Speakers are also known for offering strategic advice to students on their professional specialties. Such insight often leads to engaging Q&A sessions between students and speakers. Larry Kwon, A99, Vice President at Moelis & Company, spoke to students about his role as a founding member of his firm’s Recapitalization and Restructuring Group. Calling upon his own experiences, he described a case restructuring an aerospace and defense company. Kwon’s insights ultimately gave students a stronger and more tangible understanding of how deals are structured and executed.

“The university is incredibly grateful to our alumni who take the time to return to campus and speak with our students,” said Jeff Winey, AG90, the member of the Tufts Advancement staff who oversees the Tufts Financial Network. “Our students not only reap the benefits of these exchanges, but alumni participants thoroughly enjoy being back on campus, meeting students, and providing invaluable career guidance and advice. Speaking to the students is a meaningful and gratifying opportunity to re-connect with the institution.”

Interested in getting involved? TFG is always looking for new speakers and mentors. For more information, e-mail the group’s president Emily Sillari at or Jeff Winey at in the Tufts University Advancement Office.

Other featured speakers:

Michael Tonelli, A04, Consultant, Bain & Company – October 9

Doug Rachlin, A85, Managing Director/Portfolio Manager, Neuberger Berman – January 29

Paul Schulte, F88, China Construction Bank, Fletcher CEME Fellow – February 7

George Mussalli, A95, CIO, PanAgora Asset Management – March 4

Gregg Felton, A92, former CIO of Liberty Harbor, Goldman Sachs & Co – April 9

Elaine Bortman, J86, Director of Practice Development & Operations, TruePoint and Career Coach at Harvard Business School – April 10