Want a Job on Wall Street? Whitman Alum Offers Advice

Friday the 13th may be an unlucky day for some people, but for students in the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, that day brought nothing but good luck and great advice. Research associate for Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Jason DeRise ’02 BS was broadcast via satellite from London, England to give students advice and encouragement on how to land jobs on Wall Street.

DeRise, a Whitman alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in finance and general accounting and a minor in economics, has worked on both the buy and sell sides of Wall Street for the past five years. His resume includes working as a credit analyst for Fisher Enterprises LLC in New York City and as a a mutual fund accountant/analyst with Morgan Stanley Asset Management in Jersey City, N.J. He has been with Sanford C. Bernstein, an institutional equity research firm, for the past three years.

The video conference was held in the Ballentine Investment Institute at the Whitman School where DeRise spoke to an eclectic audience of undergraduate, PhD, and MBA students from across SU. He described the different positions available on both the buy and sell sides, but said that no matter where you work on Wall Street you must have two important qualities – intelligence and a strong work ethic. “You really need to show potential employers that you are hungry and you have a drive to excel,” said DeRise.

He also explained to students that in some cases there is very little training given to new employees, but a strong understanding of how the market works could improve their chances of success. He encouraged students to start trading stocks and to take advantage of the Whitman Investment Club and the Orange Value Fund, which currently has $1.1 million to be used to buy stocks. “Joining the investment Club will be a great experience and something you can place on your resume,” he said. “It will show that you have traded stocks with a significant amount of money.”

DeRise left the students with encouraging words saying not to be discouraged if they do not hear back from many of the companies they apply to. “I was told that if I applied to 60 places, I would get at least one call back. It happened that I applied to around that many and received one call back – that got me the job,” said DeRise.

The 2006-2007 academic year brought many proud Whitman alumni from such companies as Turner Sports and Entertainment, CNN, and News America back to the school to conduct presentations and network with students. Many of these alumni, like DeRise, are a part of the Whitman mentorship program. This program allows students to contact Whitman alumni for information on career advice and networking opportunities.