It was a night filled with fun, food, and networking–a night to be remembered. On December 2nd, the Zicklin Forensic Accounting Association (ZFAA) and several graduate organizations hosted the 2nd Annual Alumni Night. It was a success thanks to the collaboration and team efforts put in by the Zicklin Graduate Tax Society, Zicklin Women in Business, Zicklin Graduate Accounting Society, Graduate Student Assembly, and Graduate Beta Alpha Psi. The event was a bustling affair where new connections formed and old companions were brought together in one venue.
The event started with introductions by Michelle Peng, the president of ZFAA; Sarah Goldman, from Zicklin Women in Business and Ron Jones and Hannah Yoo from Zicklin Graduate Accounting Society. Each of them showed their appreciation toward the students and professionals who chose to spend their Friday evening attending the intricately-planned event. They were impressed with the attendee turnout and hoped that this tradition of older and younger Bearcats meeting in a fun environment would continue and flourish. Michelle noted that one of the factors that drove her to make this semi-annual alumni event a bigger success than last semester’s was her desire to make networking easier, more fun, and even more meaningful between students and professionals. She believes that networking shouldn’t be stressful, but instead, should come easily. She fondly recalled the lasting connections she made from last year’s event, where some alumni continued to spend time with students even after the affair’s conclusion.
The welcome speeches made by the club executives were then followed by brief self-introductions made by the professionals. Each individual presented unique facts about themselves, and it was easy to see how their diverse experiences and backgrounds add to Baruch’s rich culture and reputation. Some individuals went to universities in their home countries, as others noted the sharp difference between their undergraduate and graduate degrees. The ice breaker–which was black-out bingo based on individual backgrounds, hobbies, and likes and dislikes, allowed individuals to easily introduce themselves and find common conversation topics. Some people never watched Game of Thrones; others traveled to more than ten countries. One individual graduated with a focus on dance and moved to business for their post-graduate degree.
The companies Baruch graduates came from varied, from organizations like the Big Four (Deloitte, KPMG, EY, and PwC) to companies that specialized in research, analytics, and marketing. Some of the professionals who attended invited other former Baruch students, and their addition made the night an even more festive occasion. Around the room, students asked alumni questions–ranging from inquiries about company expectations and requirements to advice about school, life, and career.
The 2nd Alumni Night was a memorable and enjoyable occasion. The food was great; steamed chicken, lasagna, and baked potatoes were part of the dinner offerings. Professionals acted as upperclassmen to current students, and a sense of camaraderie could be felt around the room. The event provided a familiar setting where individuals networking can truly enjoy themselves; it was a place where students and past students could share the experiences they’ve accrued as Bearcats. The event would not have been as successful if it were not for the alumni who took time from their busy schedules to give back to the Baruch community. The Zicklin Forensic Accounting Association thanks the individuals who had the time to attend the event and looks forward to future meetings with those were unable to make it.
By Serena Law
“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