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High schoolers air college, career anxieties at E&Y event

March 24, 2011

Tri-state area high school students congregated around half a dozen large candy bowl centerpieces high above a rainy Times Square in the Ernst & Young offices last night to confer about university fears, tips and job opportunities.

“This is not the worst night to come to wing night at Ernst & Young,” mused Joe Maturando, Northeast sub-area lead campus recruiter, from the buffet table after telling the 72 students, all from finance-themed National Academy Foundation school programs, “we can help you.”

Specifically, Ernst & Young kicked off the second night of their inaugural Keys to the Campus event to offer students from the network of college and career preparedness academies—30 of which exist in New York—college and career advice, as well as a way to keep in touch with firm professionals for future advice and guidance.

“Ernst & Young sees this as giving back and as phenomenally important to recruiting efforts,” explained David Moore, senior vice president of programs at NAF. “I’m eager for many other companies to see that.”

The night’s speakers served as a sounding board for students, all high school juniors and seniors, many already accepted into college this fall.

When one student mentioned nerves about making high grades, Maturando and colleague Laurie Brady, Americas campus recruiting leader, nodded in commiseration, as this is the first thing they look for on a resume.

The two outlined tips for other vocalized college transition fears, like handling the pressure and adjusting to change.

“You’re used to being a big fish in a small pond; then there’s that transition,” Brady agreed. “You should join an organization or do intramural sports. It’s about taking personal responsibility for yourself and your schedule.”

One student in attendance, Atul Kapoor, confided that he found the change relatively painless.

Kapoor was part of the initial class of the first school specially dedicated to NAF’s career-themed curriculum (instead of their standard course programs at existing schools), The Academy of Finance and Enterprise in Long Island City, N.Y.

Now a student at Fordham University, Kapoor also works part-time at Morgan Stanley.

Participant Amy Chen, 17, an NAF student from Fort Hamilton High School in Brooklyn, N.Y., was an audit and risk management intern at E&Y’s Secaucus, N.J., office over the summer.

This transition to the finance world was also discussed, especially among students yet to make the leap.

Long hours, calculators and “math, math, math” were all offered as words that come to mind when contemplating the profession.

Maturando dispelled some of the basic judgments, stating, “we build relationships [with clients].”

Students that will pursue an accounting career can take comfort in their necessity to a firm, according to Moore.

“When firms bring interns in, they get a real advantage right away,” Moore said. “You get a different generation and a different viewpoint right away.”

These generational differences should be harnessed to properly build a student’s public persona, according to Ken Bouyer, Americas director of inclusiveness recruiting.

In addition to the aforementioned importance of a high GPA and taking ownership of the college experience, Bouyer recommended “understanding your personal brand” as part of the path to career success.

This means making good decisions and choices, he elaborated, including mindfulness of “pictures and comments you put on Facebook.” 

The more than 100 students that participated over the two nights will hopefully follow those guidelines when following up with the event’s speakers and other E&Y staff—on a specially created Facebook page.


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