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Graduate Profile: Yonina Fogel, Sy Syms School of Business

A common spirit runs throughout Yeshiva University: the mandate to matter.

Students of all ages and backgrounds come here to pursue a range of professional and personal dreams, from scientific research and medicine to law, Jewish education or public policy. Our students seek to harness their unique talents and YU education to make a lasting impact on the world around them. This spring, when they graduate from YU, these new alumni will hit the ground running.

In the weeks leading up to CommencementYU News will feature one remarkable graduate from each school, reflecting, in their own words, on their time here, their passions and their dreams for the future.

Meet the Class of 2013.

Name: Yonina Fogel

Hometown: Passaic, New Jersey

School: Sy Syms School of Business

Career Focus: Wealth Management

Why was Yeshiva University the right place for you?

I wanted to go to a college where I could get a solid business education and enriching Judaic studies. I had been studying subjects like Tanakh and Halakha since I was very young and I did not want to sacrifice that, especially entering university and anticipating a career in the business world. At Sy Syms, I had both options; I could take challenging business classes and then attend a shiur afterward.

Furthermore, because Sy Syms is housed in a small university setting, there are ample opportunities to become involved in clubs and personally connect to deans and professors. The leadership of the school wants you to grow, they want you to succeed and they want to be there for every step of your journey.

Are there professors or classes that stand out in your mind?

For a year, I was enrolled in Rabbi Meir Goldwicht’s seminar which was stellar. I also was enamored with the breadth of knowledge and intellectual rigor of both Rebbetzin Smadar Rosensweig and Dr. Michelle Levine’s Judaic studies classes. My goal was to take Judaic classes that were academically stimulating and also offered in-depth analysis of Torah subjects like Tanakh and Hashkafa, and I found that Yeshiva University offered courses that matched this goal.

In terms of my business courses, my focus was to take classes that helped me develop a well-rounded education about the markets and the economy so that when I started working, I would already possess a solid basis to ask intelligent questions and understand the various projects that were assigned. That said, I greatly enjoyed Professor Sidney Mehl’s classes, as well as Professor Joshua Krausz’s Investment Analysis course. I found that their courses offered a very strong understanding of the subject matter and that they were always available for guidance in terms of both school and my career prospects.

Why business?

I have always been involved in clubs and chessed organizations, and I have a tremendous passion to give back to others and to help them solve any complex problems that arise. A career in business allows me to capitalize on this strength. Every day I am learning something new, something different, seeing how I can help the company’s clients, and how business fits into my life. It is an entertaining journey—it keeps me on my toes.

How did programs like the Women’s Leadership Fellowship and the Women in Business Initiative help you develop your own identity and skills as you found your place in the business world?

There’s a lot of anxiety involved on the road to becoming a female leader. People will say how hard it is for a woman to maintain a healthy balance between career and family. The Women’s Leadership Fellowship and the Women in Business Initiative (WIBI) taught me that it really can be done. Maybe not all at once, but it is definitely possible.

The Women’s Leadership Fellowship brought in accomplished female leaders and mothers that work in various positions across the career world. They discussed their full-time leadership roles and how they balanced their jobs with being a wife and mother. Each speaker shared her accomplishments and struggles and answered any questions we had. These women were inspirational for me and served as positive role models as they succeed professionally—whether in the business world, as high-powered lawyers, or as the top chef in a restaurant—while prioritizing their valued commitments to their families and their communities.

The WIBI program pairs the participants with mentors based on career goals in finance, marketing, accounting and so on. Since I am pursuing a career in the banking sector, the WIBI organizers matched me with a managing director in Citibank who was open to speaking with me about everything from my career prospects to the current market fluctuations. As a woman, I know that she understands te in the work place, because she has faced them already herself and excelled in that environment. She continually reaches out to me to ensure that I am succeeding, too.

How did the Career Center help you as you began your academic and professional careers?

The Yeshiva University Career Center is incredible. They helped me polish my resume and set up many interviews for me with different banking firms, eventually helping me secure an internship with JPMorgan Chase. After graduation, I’ll begin working full time there as a wealth management analyst. I am so grateful for all of their efforts and look forward to keeping them updated as my career progresses.

How do you see yourself as a Jewish woman in the business world?

A teacher in seminary once told me, “You have to identify what your priorities are and make those your end goal.” For me, my goals are all about Torah, building a happy family and making sure my life positively reflects my Torah values. I hope to be strong, meeting every standard that I set for myself and knowing that I am proud of the person I see in the mirror.

So far, thank G-d, business has fit with that vision. I love working in the finance sector, especially wealth management, because it is all about helping people with their financial problems and sharing my business knowledge and advice with them, directing them to solutions that can make their lives a little bit easier. Knowing that I can do that within the context of halakha is incredible. I am excited to start working, carrying with me everything I have been learning in high school, seminary and college as I go into my new job, a strong individual with a strong sense of my own values and ideals, helping others along the way.

Meet more 2013 graduates.