Students in Mat DeNunzio’s Applied Economics class this spring paired with Loomis Chaffee alumni in a variety of professions for a lesson focused on writing resumes and cover letters.
Alumni who participated included Mark Nussbaum ’70, a financial analyst at Wells Fargo Advisors; Kent Goldman ’92, an entrepreneur and founder of the investment firm Upside Partnership; Ben DiFabio ’94, an investment banker at Citigroup; Sam Fisher ’09, a marketing professional at Facebook; Leila Belmahi ’09, chief executive officer of Mariner’s Bow, a business strategy company; and Loomis Chaffee Trustee Courtney A. Ackeifi ‘06, who works in the biotechnology and medicine sector.
The students paired with the alumni based on areas of professional interest. Each student participated in an online conference call with one of the graduates to review the student’s drafted resumes and cover letters. In addition, the groups discussed education and professional career paths, the day-to-day work in the field, and other professional advice.
“I'm really impressed with [the school] using this crazy time as an opportunity to show the students the types of careers available to them post-college graduation,” Sam wrote in an email follow-up to the exercise. “I was incredibly impressed with how the students came prepared with deep and probing questions about how specifically I got to where I am today.” Sam added that it was nice to reconnect with Loomis in this way.
Senior Jenna Donahue, whom Sam mentored, appreciated the encouragement he offered in their online discussion. “Talking with Sam gave me new insights on his creative, influential job at Facebook and gave me important advice to take in account for the future,” she said.
Mark shared his educational and professional trajectory with the students he mentored and noted that educators like Jim “Grim” Wilson, who was his economics teacher at Loomis, had a large and formative influence on his pursuit of a career in finance.
“Loomis taught me many things, but most importantly, it taught me to love ideas … and [to understand] that life was a big science experiment,” Mark reflected in a letter to the school following his experience with the students. “It’s OK to be wrong, and it’s OK to fail, as long as you learn something in the process — and don’t blow up the lab. Grim’s economics class taught me how to develop a hypothesis and then to challenge the assumptions underlying that hypothesis. In his class, I was often wrong, and learned to think before I opened my mouth.”
Senior Tiffany Lin connected with Leila, who helps her Mariner’s Bow clients to achieve their business goals. Tiffany said she learned that “it is essential to get into the head of the customer and figure out what they want.”
Senior Eli Cohen plans to study economics in college and aspires to work in the financial services industry, so he felt fortunate to speak with Ben, who has more than 20 years of experience in the field. Among the lessons that Eli learned from Ben were tips on representing himself favorably in an interview, skills for success as an analyst, the rhythms of a typical day working at Citicorp, and the importance of good communication skills.
The students and alumni mentors were brought together with the help of Tim Struthers ’85 and Mitch Linker of the Loomis Chaffee Alumni/Development Office.