By Sidra Saiyed ’14
In the tradition of continued partnership with the Boston chapter of the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA), Brandeis University hosted the sixth annual ALPFA student summit and career fair on campus on November 3.
The event, co-sponsored by the Career Development Office at Brandeis International Business School and the Hiatt Career Center, was aimed at teaching students important career skills, and increasing their professional network by bringing them into contact with representatives from different multinational organizations.
Elizabeth Alvarez Paradise MBA ’14 described it as “more than just a regular career fair.” “The information sessions were small and allowed us to ask many questions and have one-on-one discussions with the speakers” she said. “I gleaned quite a few pearls of wisdom about how to proceed in the business world.”
The ALPFA summit brought together 400 students from Boston-area schools and 50 professionals from 25 Fortune 500 companies and other organizations, including Liberty Mutual, TJX Companies, PricewaterhouseCoopers and State Street Corporation. Brandeis now has more than 200 student members of ALPFA.
“This was truly a special opportunity to showcase Brandeis and deliver professional development opportunities to hundreds of students, including panels, mock interviews, mentoring talks, networking sessions, and a career fair of top employers,” said Cary Weir Lytle, Associate Director of Employer Relations for the Hiatt Career Center.
In his keynote address, Rene Jarquin, President of ALPFA Boston and Senior Portfolio Manager of BNY Mellon Wealth Management, encouraged students to take calculated risks in their careers, recognize success is not a linear process, and follow their passions. He also stressed the importance of finding opportunities to foster leadership skills and identify mentors, both of which he says he himself continues to access through ALPFA.
In his opening remarks, Brandeis IBS Dean Bruce Magid spoke about the importance of Latin America in the global economy, as well as the significant contributions of Latinos in today’s workforce and businesses.
“Like ALPFA, Brandeis was founded to create access to higher education and careers for everyone," he said. “I am proud of the university’s many efforts to support the Latino community through programs such as Brandeis IBS’ new Latin America Initiative, which is focused on creating more professional opportunities for students and graduates in the region.”
The summit also included a general Q&A session by professionals, who spoke about the challenges and opportunities they faced at different stages of their career, how to gain an edge in the job market, and strategies to differentiate themselves.