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Paying it forward

Thanks to engaged alumni in the financial services industry willing to share their knowledge and experiences with students, Lehigh business majors are learning that they have many varied options for employment upon graduation.

Anne Anderson, director of the Financial Services Laboratory and the Joseph and Amy Perella Chair of Finance, decided that students needed more guidance in understanding the “real-world” career choices available to them. To meet this need, with the support of her faculty colleagues in the Perella Department of Finance, Anderson turned to alumni to share their career paths and thoughts on an “open-minded” approach to employment possibilities.

To date, 36 guest speakers have "answered the call."

‘Strong, loyal and committed’

Leveraging Lehigh’s strong alumni network, Anderson found an abundance of highly successful professionals eager to embrace the opportunity to return to campus and share their experiences. Jeffrey Borck ’07, who works for J.P. Morgan Asset Management, and Stephen Smith ’81, who is with Elizabeth Arden, Inc., are at two very different points on their career timelines. This semester, they will return to campus to share their professional experiences with students.  

Michael Schlesinger ’80, a Corporate Partner at Latham & Watkins LLP, Washington, D.C., says the recent invitation for him to speak was a terrific opportunity to return to Lehigh and visit with the dean, the faculty and students. Schlesinger’s visit brought back great memories. He says he found the students to be “engaged, insightful and highly motivated.”

Josh Raskin ’95, a Managing Director at Barclays Capital who graduated 15 years after Schlesinger, echoes the same sentiment. He feels that this class format “provides students with the opportunity to see the many options available to them. They will be better positioned as they identify their first career move.”

It comes as no surprise that former students have stepped up to the plate to help prepare the next generation of Lehigh business leaders. “Our Lehigh alumni network is strong, loyal and committed,” Anderson says.  

Dean Paul Brown agrees with Anderson and notes that there are many different ways that graduates return to campus and help add to the student experience. A few examples include participation in the first-year “Introduction to Business” course, the “Wall Street Council Financial Forum,” as well as other co-curricular activities.

“And probably as important and rewarding for our students is that they support and lead efforts to find top-notch employment opportunities for our graduates in their respective firms,” Brown says. “The strong alumni network is truly one of Lehigh’s greatest assets.”  

Jena Viviano ’11, a finance major, says the Guest Speaker Seminar Series “broadened my perception of what it means to have a finance degree. Through the presentations in this course, I realized that once I graduate I can work in practically any environment—from corporations to Wall Street to entertainment companies.”

Story by Kathy Mattare

Posted on Tuesday, January 25, 2011

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