“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” On November 29th, 2016 the Zicklin Forensic Accounting Association hosted an event with a very special guest speaker, Cono Fusco, a professional with nearly fifty years of experience in the accounting field. He spoke about the importance of networking and career management and shared his personal philosophy with the large group of students that attended.
Cono launched his career as an auditor in Grant Thornton (GT), a company that appeared to be his best fit and had shown a promising rise of future opportunities. He became a partner after only six years and spent another few decades developing his expertise and sharing his wisdom by mentoring. Those who had a privilege of being Cono’s mentee include his former GT colleagues: Baruch’s own Professor Thomas Ray and Stefanie Smith–the latter who attended the event. By preparing himself before retirement, Cono was able to meet his long-time goal of becoming a director and now sits on the board of an insurance company.
Throughout his long and successful career, Cono acquired not only professional knowledge, but also interpersonal skills, which are crucial in effective networking. During the presentation, he was happy to share advice and anecdotes with students and provided useful tips on presenting oneself to the right audience in a professional manner. He also urged attendees to start networking early and to build meaningful and lasting relationships. Our special guest speaker couldn’t stress enough the importance of being prepared and knowledgeable about the company and its issues. He emphasized how critical it was to develop communication skills, practice conversations and plan meetings in order to gain confidence. At the same time, he also warned listeners to stay modest and be willing to take on the position of “a fast listener and a slow talker”. He compared networking to a marathon, which takes time and commitment, as opposed to a sprint. This is especially important in relationships with mentors, which might be difficult to maintain but could turn into lifelong friendships.
Networking requires the continuous improvement of oneself. Building knowledge by reading articles is one way to do so. Cono shared a few articles with students (attached below)–some of which more humorous than others. All the articles provide helpful and applicable networking basics that come from his archive. Cono also relayed memorable quotes he recorded in his personal journal. At the conclusion of this informative event, students asked their questions and were reminded to always “network, not net-sit” with the guests and individuals around them.
By Justyna Maj, edited by Maisie Gao and Serena Law