Finance and Tamid Clubs Host Joint Event to Inform Students About a Wall Street Career
The Tamid Club teamed up with the Finance Club on Wednesday, March 16th, to bring in a dynamic YU alumnus to speak about what it takes to successfully work on Wall Street. Students across numerous majors gathered to listen to David Schiff, Managing Director of US Equity Trading at J.P Morgan Asset Management, as he drew upon his vast experience to advise those in attendance about the Wall Street life. After majoring in Computer Science at YU, Schiff started his career as a computer consultant at the infamous former Big Five accounting firm Arthur Andersen (which collapsed amid the Enron scandal). From there, Schiff moved to Fidelity Investments, where he became interested in the financial market. After his time at Fidelity, Schiff made the decision to go back to school in order to get a degree in finance from Columbia University. Schiff worked his way up the finance world from there, reaching the executive position he has at J.P. Morgan today.
Speaking at the event, Schiff broke things down into three fundamental pieces of advice which will help ready a YU student to work on Wall Street. Firstly, over the course of the evening, Schiff reiterated several times that a moment of crisis should be viewed as a moment of opportunity due to the learning experience. The crisis may be very stressful and difficult; however, once it is in the past, only the memory of navigating it remains. Those experiences will be invaluable as Wall Street employees, providing the skills to overcome a similar crisis or situation that may arise. As for the best method of conquering a crisis in the moment, Schiff has found that the more passion a person brings to their work, the easier it will be to work through crises and achieve great things. There are certainly no shortages of crises one would face in a Wall Street life, and the best way to prepare for them is to embrace your experiences of crises and learn from them.
Schiff then pivoted to his second piece of advice, which was directed specifically at Jews working on Wall Street. As observant Jews, we must be able to confront challenges that work may present. For example, late hours on Friday afternoons may result in challenges with preparing for Shabbos. Such challenges will inevitably happen and it is important to be prepared for them, whether that means coming in on a Saturday night or working late on a Thursday night. Schiff closed this segment by preaching that we should be proud of being Jewish. Though they may not say it straight out, our future colleagues will generally respect our religious devotion.
The third and final fundamental piece of advice which Schiff offered was the importance of strong communication skills. While some may consider communication skills to be of minor significance, it is actually one of the most important aspects to being successful on Wall Street. The ability to make a good first impression can often be the difference-maker in landing a great job. A bad first impression, however, is very difficult to overcome. Considering this, a very smart and capable person with poor communication skills may very well not be able to succeed. Schiff remembers the resume process and mock interviews were very helpful in preparing him for the communication skills necessary in his current Wall Street life.
Even the non-finance majors in the crowd were treated to a very applicable talk. Many of the Wall Street principles Schiff offered hold true for a number of industries. As far a selecting the right major, Schiff, a computer science major turned financial whiz, specified that the major a student chooses must be something they feel passionate about; that passion will help carry them through the inevitable hard times ahead. A major should not be chosen based on the glamor or prestige. By adhering to that principle, along with the three fundamental pieces of advice detailed above, Schiff has been able to climb the Wall Street corporate ladder to the high level position he enjoys today.