Sign that says Walk Down Wall St over trading floor
Through Bryant's annual "Walk Down Wall Street," alumni from some of the world's most prestigious financial institutions share their experiences and advice with current students.
Alumni provide Finance students with advice, connections and a Walk Down Wall Street
Nov 04, 2021, by Staff Writer

Bryant University’s 2021 Walk Down Wall Street event brought together alumni from some of the most prestigious financial organizations in the world to help Finance students discover their options and build paths to success. Organized by Bryant’s Amica Center for Career Education, the alumni panel showed the students what their futures may look like and helped them prepare to maximize their education.

For Brooke Blanche ’24, the panel discussion provided her with a fantastic opportunity to learn from young professionals not much older than her about possible careers. “They were in our shoes here not too long ago, taking the same classes that I'm going to be taking and doing the things I’m doing,” she says. “So just seeing how they were able to use their experiences, and combine their degree with their passion and make a unique career out of it, was pretty inspiring.”

Paths to success
Walk Down Wall Street, a Bryant tradition, is great way for alumni to pass down their firsthand experience, says panel organizer Patricia Miernicki, the Amica Center’s Assistant Director of Employer Outreach & Development. It also helps forge invaluable connections. “One of the most important things I think almost all of the alumni on this panel did was reach out to alumni when they were students,” she notes. “Bryant has a worldwide alumni network of more than 55,000 that is excited to work with students to help them get to wherever they want to go and do whatever they want to do.”

'“There's really no limit to what you can do with a Finance degree from Bryant. Finance is everywhere."

Representing organizations in both private industry and government, the five alumni panelists were:

  • Matthew Caruso ’21, who graduated with a degree in Finance and Economics and is now an application and program analyst at Deloitte Consulting aligned to the organization’s Finance and Enterprise Performance practice.
  • Emma Guinnessey ’15, an International Business major at Bryant who graduated with a dual concentration in Finance and Spanish who now works as a Proposal Analyst for Lockheed Martin. Prior to Lockheed, Guinnessey worked with Boeing and Standard & Poor’s doing credit analysis. She is also currently an MBA candidate at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.
  • Krishen Khurana ’20, a Finance major who is now an analyst with Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM), working on the Corporate Pensions and OCIO team with Multi-Asset Solutions.  Prior to joining Goldman Sachs in 2021, Khurana was at Bank of America as a Corporate Audit Analyst. 
  • Maddie McLaughlin ’19, a Finance major, is an Associate National Bank Examiner for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. As a bank examiner, she conducts on-site reviews of banks and provides ongoing supervision of the banks' operations. 
  • Stephanie Vlohiotis ’15, an International Business major who concentrated in Finance and is now a Senior Client Solutions Manager at FactSet Research, one of the top financial data and market analytics providers in the fintech industry. 

The panelists discussed their individual journeys from Bryant student to young professional and what helped them find success along the way. They also shared advice, drawn from their own experience, on topics such as applying for jobs and internships, preparing for an interview, negotiating your first salary and starting a new career in a fast-paced field.

The range of careers they pursued, the panelists noted, was evidence of the wide variety of opportunities available. “There's really no limit to what you can do with a Finance degree from Bryant,” notes Guinnessey. “Finance is everywhere. Think about what your passions are, what your hobbies are, whatever your side projects are. If you love cars, Porsche needs financial analysts. If you love space, Space X needs financial analysts. Any company or field that you have a personal attraction to–well they have to operate, right? So they need financial analysts.”

A diversity of thought leads to endless opportunities
The alumni also spoke about how their undergraduate years at Bryant prepared them for their careers. In addition to a Finance/Financial Management curriculum recently ranked among the Top 8% in the country by College Factual, they benefitted from a faculty dedicated to their success and support services that helped them ready themselves for the professional world. 

"Bryant gave me a diversity of thought. I learned from professors who came from all around the world who all had unique experiences and encouraged their students to share opinions.”

“I really didn't know what I wanted to do in the beginning, I just knew I liked finance and working with numbers. One of the things I benefited a lot from at Bryant was building out my finance curriculum to explore as many avenues as possible,” says McLaughlin. She cited Bryant’s student-run Archway Investment Fund and the connections she made with her professors with helping her discover her interests. “Being able to test out different avenues within the world of finance was pretty beneficial for me in ultimately figuring out what I really wanted to do.”

Vlohiotis pointed to the wide range of perspectives she was exposed to as being especially valuable. "Bryant gave me a diversity of thought,” she says. “I learned from professors who came from all around the world who all had unique experiences and encouraged their students to share opinions.” That was an important advantage going into the corporate world, says Vlohiotis. “Companies aren't looking for, and shouldn't be looking for, people who just blindly accept whatever is thrown at them. They want someone who can offer an opinion–as long as they can back that up.”

"Take the time in college to figure out who you are and what you want to pursue. I think the best way to build that sense is to take advantage of every experience possible.”

Khurana credited the Amica Center as being instrumental in helping him find opportunities and noted that Bryant’s focus on professional development was invaluable. “Classes like Professor Peter Nigro’s were amazing and really prepare you for the workplace,” he said.  “Bryant does a good job preparing you to work on a team and to take on leadership roles. That's something you learn in almost every single class and it definitely does pay off anywhere you go.”

Discovering new paths
Ultimately, Caruso told the students, they should focus on finding the path that satisfied them the most. "Take the time in college to figure out who you are and what you want to pursue. I think the best way to build that sense is to take advantage of every experience possible,” said Caruso. “Anything that piques your interest, go after it, even if it's attending a random club meeting that you think you might like but aren't sure.” That flexibility would be important later on, he told them. “Trying new things really builds you up and makes you well-rounded, which employers really like. It gives you a lot of things that you can talk about when it comes to job interviews but it also really adds to your life overall.”

His message resonated with JohnHenry Dyroff ’24, who appreciated hearing from the alumni and how willing they were to offer personalized advice. “It was really impressive to learn from people with such diverse careers,” he says. “Because they’re recent alumni I was really able to relate to them and they can relate to you and your experience, which means they can give you tailored advice to help you succeed," he says.

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