On Oct. 12, 2023, eleven CC alumni from a variety of areas across the finance sector returned to campus for the sixth annual Finance Symposium. The Career Center and the CC Investment Club hosted the event, where students had the opportunity to hear from and network with these alumni. The purpose of the event is to help students better understand the finance industry and how to prepare for applying to finance opportunities by connecting students with alumni and recruiters. The event organizers initially anticipated 25 to 30 students would attend. The final count of students crowded into McHugh Commons was 70.
The symposium began with a keynote speech by Jason Bogardus ’93, Managing Director and Private Wealth Advisor at Morgan Stanley. Bogardus started by asking the students how many of them were currently in their sophomore year. Nearly half of the attendees raised their hands.
“That is great,” said Bogardus. “This is the time to think about your finance career. My strategy was to only think about it a week after graduating.” He then told how, after leaving CC, he went to travel across Europe and spent weeks cold-calling anyone he could find who was a CC alum working in finance in Europe. His hard work, and admitted unrelenting calling of one particular alum, eventually paid off and Bogardus got his first job working at Citibank Paris.
“There’s no way that would work today,” he said to symposium attendees. “But the lesson there is, use your network. However, you need to be thoughtful and targeted when accessing the CC alumni base.”
Bogardus readily admits that, on paper, it may not seem that CC sets up students for success in a finance career. Compared to other institutions where finance and number skills are drilled into their graduates, CC’s liberal arts focus does not initially appear to provide the same kind of foundation. But Bogardus compares this to a sport like Taekwondo.
“In Taekwondo, you use your supposed weakness and make it your strength. And you turn your opponent’s strength into their weakness,” he told the crowd. “How are you going to turn this apparent CC ‘weakness’ into your strength?”
He outlined all the skills and abilities that a CC education provides that set him apart from his peers in the finance world and allowed him to succeed in ways others could not. Things like his critical thinking, writing ability, and project vision were fine-tuned at CC to a level with which others just could not compete.
“David Malpass, the guy who used to run the World Bank, graduated from CC,” Bogardus said. “There’s no limit to how high you can go in this field.”
He also discussed how CC’s values of working for good and making the world a more just place suit today’s industry very well.
“Increasingly, a career in finance is a great way to affect social change,” said Bogardus. “The grind is too hard to do it just for the money. You have to do it for a bigger cause.”
After the keynote speech, students got to participate in group discussions with the alumni in attendance. Conversations focused on three main subjects related to the finance sector. Sam Sheridan ’18 (Senior Associate, Product Marketing at Janus Henderson), Orren Fox ’20 (Alternative Investment Analyst at Morgan Stanley), and Owen Brown ’24 (Incoming Investment Banking Analyst at Piper Sandler) spoke about the application process. Lauren Bieber ’16 (Vice President at FMI Capital Advisors), Jennifer Roca Newcomer ’18 (Investment and Portfolio Strategist at PNC), Pierce Nelson ’19 (VP, Corporate Development Team at Trilon Group), and Vi Nguyen ’20 (Analytics Data and Innovation Associate at Morgan Stanley) spoke to strategies for closing the skills gap. And Bogardus, Chris Haymons ’92 (Co-Founder/Partner at Industria Partners), Kishen Mangat ’96 (General Partner at Boulder Ventures), and Vaughn Blake ’03 (General Partner at Blue Bear Capital) discussed the development and utilization of a network.
The Career Center and the CC Investment Club are thrilled with how well the symposium came together this year and know that the outcomes will be beneficial for students and alumni alike. They look forward to hosting the seventh in this series of events next year.
If you’re an alum who works in Finance and would like to participate in future Finance Symposium events, please contact Sarah Reinbrecht in the CC Career Center.