Finance Club Hosts “Wall Street 101” Event
On October 12, students interested in pursuing careers on Wall Street flocked to the Sky Caf to learn about what it takes to land one of those coveted summer analyst positions. The event began with sushi and light refreshments, followed by a d’var Torah given by Yonah Hiller. Yonah spent this past summer working at Goldman Sachs as an investment banking summer analyst in the leveraged finance group. He spoke about taking responsibility for developing and creating the world; the stage was set for a riveting and enlightening discussion.
Doni Yellin, a board member of the Finance Club and MC of the event, asked the panelists to briefly introduce themselves and to describe their roles at the jobs they held on Wall Street. The panel consisted of YU students and alumni who have occupied a broad range of jobs in the financial sector. Zevi Litwin landed a job at Houlihan Lokey in their valuation department. Evan Axelrod, a senior at YU, worked at Goldman Sachs in the investment banking division this past summer and plans to return there full-time after he graduates. Yakira Klein, a senior at Stern, worked at Merrill Lynch in their wealth management division. Each panelist is a superstar in their own right, and they offered extremely valuable advice to those in the crowd.
After the introductions, the panel got straight down to business, prompting the panel with the following question: “What is the best way to successfully navigate the recruiting process and come out with a job on the other side?” The panelists seemed to focus on three ideas. First is knowing what you want. Axelrod advised, “Once you have an idea of the division you’d like to pursue it’s important to display that focus when you network with professionals and recruiters. You should apply to a broad array of opportunities but still have a sense of direction in terms of where you’d fit best.” Recruiters want candidates who are confident about what they want and why they want it. This way the recruiters can be assured that once hired, the candidate will be committed to giving it their all, and not just using the company’s platform as a stepping stone.
The next main piece of advice that the panelists offered was about networking. Solo Shulman, who worked in the investment banking division of RBC, said, “I remember being told early on when I was recruiting that once I have a position that I’m happy with, it’s now my job to pay it forward to others. That’s why I spend so much of my day reading over students’ resumes or mock interviewing. Without those that went before me guiding the way for me, I wouldn’t have a job, and as a result I really make sure that I am paying it forward to others. I’ve been helping a lot of YU students and Stern students with recruiting and something that I really stress often is how reaching out to YU alumni is so crucial – they are busy but they want to help.” Casting a wide net is the name of the game in finance, and opportunities lie in the most unexpected places. It’s not always the obvious connection who facilitates a job opportunity. Sometimes it’s the random guy who you see in shul every once in a while; other times it’s the YU alum who you saw on LinkedIn.
The last piece of advice stressed the importance of hard work. There are a lot of criteria to meet before being competent enough to enter the finance industry. Candidates must be up-to-date on current events, well-versed in the finance terminology, have polished resumes and well-rehearsed elevator pitches that they can pull out at any moment. Even after that, you’ve just scratched the surface. Landing a job in finance is like anything else in life — the reward is great, but the price is high. Those who are willing to go the extra mile have a much larger chance at landing a job on Wall Street.
Once the panel Q&A concluded, the students and panelists broke off into separate groups to mingle, network and ask more personal questions. Dani Koenigsberg, a junior at YU, stated, “The event confirmed my beliefs about working on Wall Street — that it won’t be easy. I need to get cracking. This gave me much more confidence about the internship search”.
The Finance Club is one of the biggest clubs at YU with well over 90 members. The purpose of the club is to teach students about finance and its various components, as well as to push students for interviews. On Monday, October 29, the Finance Club is pairing up with the Entrepreneurship Society to host Michael Eglit from Blackstone, Barry Sklar from Goldman Sachs and David Brecher from FM Home Loans for a talk about startups. The Club will be hosting a series of other Wall Street-focused events throughout the semester.