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Jon Pruzan, A90, CFO of Morgan Stanley, speaks with students during a panel discussion at the 7th annual Finance Career Forum.

On Saturday, September 24, over 170 students and 28 alumni participated in a day-long workshop that featured eight panel discussions, a networking lunch, and three speed learning sessions. Students had the opportunity to take a deep dive on topics such as hedge funds, private equity, investment banking, and preparing for the job interview.

The day began with a highly anticipated keynote speaker. In what he termed a “fire-side chat”, Trustee Jeff Moslow, A86, A16P, A18P, sat down with Jon Pruzan, A90, CFO of Morgan Stanley, to discuss his career path, working for an international bank, and his advice for students pursuing finance careers. The session ended with an opportunity for students to ask their own questions of Mr. Pruzan.

Students meet with Peter Dolan, A78, A08P, Jon Pruzan, A90, Sally Dungan, A17P, and Steven Wilner, A85, in a panel session titled “Beyond the Bank”.

With the 7th annual Finance Career Forum now complete, we were curious to know if this intensive event accomplishes its mission of preparing students for their careers. We sought the insight of four recent graduates, each successfully situated in a finance-related career, and each themselves an alumnus of the Forum (or Wall Street Crash Course as it was formerly named). We asked them, was it worth getting up early on a Saturday morning to participate? The answer was a resounding yes!

The Finance Career Forum is an excellent learning opportunity for students that are interested in finance careers. Emily Sillari, A13, now a strategy and operations consultant at Deloitte, felt that it helped her to narrow her focus by highlighting what sets each position and firm apart. Dhiren Shah, also a member of the Class of 2013 and current analyst at Goldman Sachs, agreed that attending the Finance Career Forum helps students become better informed about the positions available and how these roles align with their strengths and interests.

There is no question that early exposure to the financial services industry is invaluable for young alumni as they begin their internship and job searches. Matt Amico, A12, and a vice president at SkyBridge Capital, shared that students stand out in interviews when they are “laser-focused and well-prepared.” Attending the Finance Career Forum is a primer to the industry, introducing attendees to the “lingo” and providing perspective on the current challenges facing financial firms.

Student participants and alumni volunteers network over lunch.

Additionally, the energy and momentum at the Forum is contagious. “I was very impressed with the young alumni at the event,” said Nick Vik, A13, who recently started in sales finance for Snapchat. “There were many extremely successful alums from an older generation present as well, but it was the ones who had graduated only a few years before that really motivated me. They were involved with such exciting initiatives in the finance world.”

These four recent graduates consistently identified the Finance Career Forum as an excellent networking opportunity, both for making the connections that lead to future job offers, and for building the types of mentorship relationships that can last a lifetime. Even if they are not hiring themselves, alumni can provide support by reviewing resumes or conducting informational interviews. Later on, they can provide valuable advice on navigating the waters of a new company, or offer guidance on how best to stand out and advance your career.

All four agree—they are each genuinely pleased when current Tufts students reach out to them, whether for advice, informational interviews, or referrals. As a student leader in the Tufts Financial Group, Sillari found many alumni willing to serve as mentors. “Knowing how helpful they were to me, I want to give back, and I love it when I can help recruit Tufts grads to Deloitte. If there are any students out there wondering if they should reach out to alumni, here is my advice—do it.”