The School of Business at Montclair State University knows that many of its alumni work in New York City, facing long commutes home at the end of the day and leaving them little time to participate in on-campus alumni activities. Understanding that it’s critical to connect with alumni who have the potential to serve as a pipeline to opportunity for current students, the School went to New York.
Alumnus Jim Merli (SBUS ’83), the Global Head of Debt Origination and Co-Head of Global Finance at Nomura Securities, agreed to host the “Dean’s Roundtable” event at his Lower Manhattan offices, Dean Brent Chrite, Development Officer Anne Murray and Assistant Director of Alumni Relations John Morytko met with 15 alumni working in the financial services sector in New York, representing companies as diverse as Barclays, KPMG, E&Y, NYSE Euronext, Lazard, Oppenheim, and Merrill Lynch.
For 90 minutes, Dean Chrite shared his vision for the School’s growth, and the achievements realized to date. Alumni responded appreciatively to the strides made by the School’s launch of a Center for Entrepreneurship, an Electronic Trading Floor and several Faculty Research Fellowships, along with enhanced MBA and Accounting programs. The Roundtable also allowed alumni the ability to share invaluable feedback - on business trends, on employee preparation, on the challenges of the workplace. Alumni also had the chance to network with each other, and for most attendees it was the first time they had met.
“We need to reach alumni where they work, and make it easy for them to re-connect with the University and the School of Business,” stated Chrite. “Their first-hand perspective on the marketplace is critical, so that we can effectively prepare students for the workplace challenges they will face upon graduation.”
The view from the 22nd floor conference room at Nomura overlooked the Hudson, but all attention remained focused on an animated discussion. Many attendees had not re-connected with the School since graduating, but all shared positive memories of their time at Montclair State, and expressed pride as alumni of the University. Their frank yet thoughtful feedback on the steps Montclair State University needs to take to excel in a competitive marketplace was well received. Many expressed a willingness to become involved with this mission.
Piera Accumanno (CHSS '92), Vice President of Political Activities at Deutsche Bank's Office of Compliance Ethics said, "I did not have an opportunity to express how proud I am to be a Montclair State University graduate and how I look forward to being more dedicated to its success. As I mentioned, if it were not for Montclair State, I would not have reached the success I currently enjoy. It's time to give back to a school that opened every door to me."
"I was pleased to host the inaugural Dean's Roundtable event at Nomura, and to meet so many successful alumni. Dean Chrite's vision for the future of the School of Business resonated deeply with everyone who attended," Merli said of the event.
Future Dean’s Roundtable events are scheduled to be held in New York (Barclays and Irving Place Capital) and New Jersey (ADP). The distance between Montclair State University and New York seems much closer these days.