For the second consecutive year, Guy Chiarello ’81, CIO of JPMorgan Chase, welcomed 83 TCNJ business students to a finance forum at the firm’s Park Ave. headquarters in Manhattan. In addition to Dean William Keep and key administrative staff, they were joined by TCNJ President R. Barbara Gitenstein, finance faculty, and 24 alumni working in a variety of financial industries including Joe Knight ’11 who is now an Analyst in Global Real Assets at JPM. The evening consisted of a formal discussion followed by a social networking reception, which was generously sponsored by Chiarello. Once again, Paul Sullivan ’85, managing director at Merrill Lynch, served as moderator for an impressive panel of TCNJ alumni: Andrew Holzheimer ’82, executive director, Investment Bank Technology at JPMorgan Chase; Gregory Peters ’98, managing director at Morgan Stanley; and Laura Ritter ’00, group vice president, Financial Reporting at PVH Corp.
Holzheimer responded regarding the “toughest career decision” he had to make: “Leaving the government after active duty and a successful military career. I took a gamble and retired at 42 with a pension and threw the dice to work in Mom and Dad’s company. The grass is not always greener—it’s brown everywhere. Be prepared to take some calculated risks to move forward.”
Later, discussing issues of longevity and burn-out, he added, “ You need the courage to make a change if it’s not something you love. Knowledge is power; it gives you flexibility.”
Peters addressed the question of labor mobility, “what factors can set you apart to move from the back to the front office?”
“The vast majority take the non-traditional path,” said Peters. “It’s about perseverance, relationship building, the ability to impress certain individuals. If you have a goal in mind, sometimes you have to suck it up to get the prize.”
On the question of longevity and burn-out, he suggested, “ Reinvent your selves as much as possible; but give yourselves time to unplug, relax.”
Ritter shared her experience when asked “What career move did you regret?”
“Leaving PHV. I wanted to try doing something different, but when I left I wasn’t happy with the change. It was a tough decision but I was excited to have the opportunity to go back,” Ritter said.
She also addressed the question of longevity and burn-out: “ Stick with it, putting in the extra hours when necessary, to learn more and grow with your career. Get as much training as possible along the way!”
Chiarello shared a memory of an early meeting with Keep, when he realized they valued the same attributes in employees and students: inquisitiveness, integrity, confidence and creativity. He closed the conversation with comments about choosing a fortune cookie message to live by. His own: “The harder you work, the luckier you get.”