Alumni From Top Wall Street Firms Share Advice and Experience with Students

Sep 24, 2008 — The recent turmoil in the financial markets could not deter the almost 100 students interested in careers on Wall Street who attended the first panel discussion of the “Wall Street Connection Series” on Sept. 22. The series’ first event—moderated by Daniel Posner ’91Y, managing director at D.E. Shaw and Board member of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary—introduced students to career options in finance and featured alumni who have excelled in investment banking, research, sales and trading, and private equity/alternative asset management.

The series is sponsored by the YU Wall Street Committee, the Sy Syms School of Business Student Council, the Career Development Center and Alumni Affairs.

Deborah Ifrah ’99SB, vice president in the General Industries Group at J.P. Morgan Securities, reflected on the current crisis on Wall Street. Despite J.P. Morgan’s stable performance, “we have seen the people we used to work with across the table just pack up and leave,” she said. “No competitor ever wants to see that happen. Our competition is healthy competition.”

Ifrah, who was honored at last year’s Sy Syms Gala Dinner as a young alumna, spoke extensively to students about her role as an investment banker.

Jeff Silber ’84Y, managing director and senior analyst at BMO Capital Markets’ Equity Research Group, spoke about his role as a sell-side equity research analyst covering the business and professional services industry. He debunked the perception of equity research as sedentary and solitary work. “It’s called the sell side for a reason; you have to sell your ideas. You are constantly meeting and on the phone with clients,” said Silber, whose research has been recognized by many industry surveys, including the Wall Street Journal’s Best on the Street Analysts Survey.

Isaac Corre ’85Y, managing director at Eton Park Capital Management, described himself as “the least likely person to end up on Wall Street.” Corre, a member of the Sy Syms School Board of Directors, received his B.A. in history from Yeshiva College and J.D. from Harvard Law School cum laude. Before making his way to Wall Street, Corre practiced law for more than nine years.

Corre’s advice for succeeding on Wall Street boiled down to “develop[ing] a skill set, work[ing] hard, and do[ing] the right thing,” he said.

Bennett Schachter ’97SB, vice president at Goldman Sachs, told students that the “the hours you put in as dual-curriculum students will certainly help you stand out when you are looking for full-time roles.” Schachter, chairman of the YU President’s Circle, joined Goldman Sachs straight out of YU and worked his way up to his current role covering many of the company’s largest hedge fund and asset manager clients for convertibles and acting as relationship manager for a number of the firm’s largest hedge fund clients.

Despite the tumultuous nature of Wall Street today, the panelists reassured students that the world of finance works in cycles.

Posner noted, “Wall Street in not a sprint; it is a marathon.”

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