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Member of Sigma Alpha Delta since: Fall 2009
Baruch College Date of Graduation: Spring 2011
Current Residence: New York City, NY
Country of Origin: USA
Date of Biography: Fall 2011
“In Union there is Strength”
Syedur Rahman attended the Life Sciences High School in the Upper East Side. Throughout his years there, he had no educational inspiration and had no plans to further his educational career. His chief objective was to play on the school baseball team. His dreams were shattered when he tore his ACL during try-outs. With graduation around the corner, Syedur began to take an interest in his Economics class. He says; “After learning all the theoretical processes in my Introduction to Economics class, I decided to further continue learning business in a well-known business school. At this point in my life, I took the first steps to applying to Baruch College.”
Being a student at Baruch College, Syedur learned countless new skills and techniques that helped him strengthen his professional capabilities. When Syedur first came to Baruch he was reserved and mainly focused on his studies. He would go to classes and spend time at night in the library, studying and doing homework. After about six months things began to change. Some of his new acquaintances suggested that Syedur check out the club rooms and maybe join a few clubs. At first, Syedur was reluctant, but after meeting new people and enjoying the friendly atmosphere, Syedur decided to join a club. After researching other clubs, Syedur felt the Honor Society Sigma Alpha Delta was best. He says; “At first, my acquaintances dragged me to different club area and now those same acquaintances became friends that I cannot picture a life without.”
After participating in Sigma, and spending time in the club rooms, Syedur realized he was now more outgoing and was able to strike up a conversation with almost anyone. Soft skills, like communication and being personable, which cannot be taught in a classroom, is what Syedur gained through his experiences. Syedur says: “Baruch College really assisted my developing process and made it possible for me to survive in the corporate world.” When asked about what he would have changed about his time at Baruch, Syedur said: “That first semester I spent in Baruch College, if I can change one thing, I would take that semester and be more involved in Baruch Campus life.”
When asked about why he chose Sigma, Syedur brought up the story of “The Magical Pizza”. Syedur states, “It wasn’t the pizza that captivated me even though it was great, it was the people that created the magic.” Syedur recognized the social benefits of joining. He says; “The bond between the Executive Board, the friendships between current and former members of this prestigious honor society persuaded me to join and become a part of the Sigma family.” The relationships Syedur saw develop through Sigma were enough to convince Syedur that Sigma was right for him. Syedur spent his time in Sigma building close friendships, networking, and enjoying each other’s company. He says; “from the day we met till the day we graduated and after, we all still remain friends.” Having wanted to develop long-lasting relationships, Syedur’s list of peers he met through Sigma is exhausting. Syedur says; “I remember a lot of my peers, such as; George Matthew , Derek Santos, Shaif Uddin, George Matthew, Najeeb Alam, Qamar Islam, Debby Lee, Megan Dong, Randall Romain, Adam Camacho, Vita Kazais, Jeffrey DeJesus, and the list goes on.”
Syedur states, “I joined Sigma because of the amount of resources they offered, but I stayed because of the friendships and the fun times that surprised me along the way.” Syedur considered joining the Executive team, but instead chose to study abroad. Despite the fact that Syedur was not part of the Executive team, he was still able to utilize all of the valuable resources Sigma offered. In addition to establishing long-lasting personal relationships, Syedur met his future co-worker while networking at a Sigma event. This future co-worker offered Syedur an internship and all Syedur had to do was to prove his worth, which he was more than capable of doing. To Syedur, the most memorable experience in Sigma was Fall 2009 Induction Ceremony. He says; “no words I can write will ever capture the essence of the night.”
Syedur currently works at a Joel Isaacson & Co., a Financial Planning and Tax Planning firm. His day-to-day activities include extensive research of varying and diverse markets, preparing reports, providing guidance and assurance for clients. Syedur guides individuals of high net worth through the investment process of the modern market. He prepares reports for his clients to assure them that even though the market looks bleak today, tomorrow is a new day and another opportunity to make safe and secure investments. Syedur tells his clients; “short term volatility does not heavily impact long term planning.” Syedur is able to confidently provide successful financial services while maintaining a calm and relaxed environment for his clients. Syedur enjoys his work because; “of the amount of input I have in my firm.” Syedur began his career at the firm as an entry-level intern. Through hard work and dedication Syedur was able to work his way up to a full time position. His valued opinions on many controversial topics, such as the Federal Reserve and their manipulation tactics, made him stick out in a positive way, which helped him secure a full-time position. Although Syedur recognizes that he is in control of his future, he still has no concrete plans on where he sees himself down the line. He says; “I have a vague image of a happy but simple lifestyle and that suffices for me. I hope to reach that goal soon enough.” To Syedur, being happy and content is more valuable than chasing money, which in many cases, leads to unhappiness.
Whether given an opportunity or creating his own, Syedur embraces life and seeks to learn by gaining from his unique experiences. In just 4 short years Syedur has travelled to more than 40 cities across 16 countries. To Syedur, the United States is viewed as his neighbourhood. He has already adventured through the mid-west and is currently in the process of planning a trip to the west coast. Being a native New Yorker coupled with attending Baruch College, which was ranked third on most diverse schools in the country. Syedur has been exposed to many diverse cultures. When Syedur reflects on his travels he says; "Nothing can enlighten a New Yorker anymore than realizing how small the world is and the many different cultures around the world"
As cliché as is it, Syedur’s motivating factor in life is his future. Syedur says: “Things that happened in the past is out of our control but our future is the only entity we can manipulate and make our own.” By attending Baruch and joining in Sigma, Syedur built himself a good foundation. By attaining additional experience whether through work or travelling, Syedur is able to strengthen his foundation and is in the process of building a rewarding life for himself and others.
“Whatever an individual can do, a team can do it better.”
Member of Sigma Alpha Delta since: Spring 2009
Baruch College Date of Graduation: Spring 2011
Country of Origin: Bangladesh
Date of Bio: Fall 2011
Motto- “Through Adversity and through the stars”
Shaif Uddin is currently living in Queens, New York. Shaif has numerous interesting goals in mind, professionally and personally for his future. He states, “Career-wise, I would like to become an MD of a division. Would it be in the current division I am working in? Not sure as of now, however, within the very near future, I am planning to get my Masters in Accounting, get an MBA, and try to climb up the corporate ladder.” Continuing to pursue a higher education is one way Shaif hopes to quench his thirst for knowledge. For his personal goals Shaif says, “One of my biggest dreams is to travel to a few foreign countries. I always wanted to see Japan, Egypt, Greece, Brazil, and a few other places. I hope to go to each country in the near future. That is one of the main goals that I am trying to focus on now. “
At his time in Baruch College, Shaif majored in Finance and Investments, and minored in Psychology as well as Business Communications. Shaif states, “I chose Finance as a major because I felt it gave me a more broad access to different fields, as compared to accounting or marketing. I was very good with numbers, able to form different calculations on Microsoft Excel, and always had an interest in the corporate world. One feature of finance that I really enjoyed was the aspect concerning hedging against risk using derivatives.” Prior to college shaif received a public education in New York City, although attended one of the top schools the City had to offer. Shaif attended Brooklyn Technical High school, one of the few specialized public schools in NYC and was admitted after taking an exam the school requires applicants to pass before being admitted. Shaif states, “Public education was great, because I felt it gave me access to all type of cultures, ideas, and especially different viewpoints. Brooklyn Tech is the most diverse high school in NYC, so it definitely helped me have an open mind and educate myself on the type of people that form New York City. Of my immediate family, I am the first to graduate college in America.”
As recent graduate of Baruch College, Shaif was offered a job as a Credit Risk Analyst with a well-known company in New York City, UniCredit Bank AG. He is still considered a new employee, but has already learned a great deal from working with the company. What Shaif loves most about his new job is the people he has met and his amazing team. Relationships were an important consideration for Shaif, when deciding on where to begin his professional career. He came to value them so much during his time as a Sigma Alpha Delta member and as a leader. He also enjoys the personal growth that his job helps to create. Shaif credits his enjoyable job atmosphere to all of his friendly peers as well as the vast amount of knowledge he is acquiring by working with experienced people. He says, “I’ve always had a thirst of knowledge and growth”. Shaif entered the workforce with excellent skill sets in reporting with different programs, but the more projects he took on, the more he was able the grasp a greater knowledge and appreciation for his work. He states, “Many of the projects I handle are challenging, yet interesting. And there is a great satisfaction when I finish a challenging project.”
Shaif joined Sigma Alpha Delta in the spring 2009 semester, but was active within Sigma since fall 2008. Many of his friends were already in Sigma Alpha Delta, which was enough to convince Shaif to join. For Shaif, Sigma made everything within Baruch delightful. Shaif states, “Baruch was boring until I joined Sigma”. He remembers the relationships he made within Sigma as some of the most meaningful experiences in Baruch College. Members like Najeeb Alam, Hosni Mubarak, Jennifer Cobos Michelle Li and Holger Briones created the Sigma magic for Shaif and made his time within Baruch enjoyable. Sigma also helped him grow personally because of all of these new relationships. The only thing he regrets is “not joining earlier”. He said that Sigma “looked like it would take a lot out of me but it helped me more”. He put a lot into Sigma but he also gained a lot in return.
Sigma allowed Shaif to grow professionally. He held his first position ever as Chair of Events, during the fall 2009 semester. According to Shaif, the semester ran smoothly and everyone had fun while at it. Shaif states, “The fact that he was able to have so much fun while being a leader was icing on the cake.” Shaif went on to be Treasurer in spring 2010, where he managed quite well to juggle school work and Sigma responsibilities. This experience taught him the value of time management skills and allowed him to come out of the semester much stronger. One memorable task was the Oxford debate on Abortion, which he spearheaded. He was motivated enough during his time in Sigma to run for President in fall of 2010. He won the election and made the motto for the semester: “Through adversity and through the stars,” which was well earned.
“The only time you should be looking down at someone, is when you are giving your hand to help them get up”
“In order to succeed you must first fail and always believe in oneself no matter what the circumstances entail.”
Member of Sigma Alpha Delta since: Fall 2009
Baruch College Date of Graduation: Spring 2011
Country of Origin: China
Date of Bio: Fall 2011
“You will only learn when you take yourself out of your comfort zone”
Michelle was raised in Queens, New York and attended Cardozo High School. In her senior year, Michelle heard about the private school Windsor and wanted to take the opportunities they offered. After graduating as an exceptional student, she was driven by her interest in the business world to attend Baruch College (CUNY). Attending Baruch College, she majored in Finance and minored in Political Science and received her B.B.A. in the spring of June 2011. She plans on attending graduate school soon, but first would like to achieve an adequate amount of work experience specializing in her major finance.
In her freshman year in Baruch, Michelle regrets to say that she was not as active as she would have liked to have been. Early on, she struggled in college due to lack of motivation, poor studying habits, and ineffective networking. She didn’t understand initially how working hard in school will pave the way to a better future and not just academically, but universally as a well rounded woman. Michelle did take a semester off as a freshman for an opportunity to work for Disney in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. When she returned, she heard from classmates about the great opportunities Sigma Alpha Delta provided, so she decided to join. Having joined, she never thought she would receive benefits that exceeded her expectations. She met great people that supported and motivated her to reach for new heights.
In the Honor Society, Michelle got the opportunity to become Vice Chair of Events Management and appreciated every moment of it. Michelle also went on to become Treasurer and following that semester, Vice president during Jennifer Cobo’s presidency. She describes her experience as one that she will always remember because it allowed her to challenge herself and exceed goals she had set out. In her senior year, she became Executive Consultant to the incoming president. She states “This society is more than any other honor society. You d
on’t pay a fee like others and get qualified to come in. You have to show your efforts of contribution to the society, by being active and engaging your peers. When it’s all said and done, you will receive a reward and positive return for your investment that will last a lifetime. Through your contributions to the society, you become skilled in areas such as public speaking, relations management and networking. When you join Sigma Alpha Delta, you leave Baruch as a capable and confident individual. I am so happy I joined.”
Michelle Li is an upstanding young woman who currently works for J.P. Morgan in North America Equities Client Services. She attended Baruch College full-time and work part time around the campus as a peer mentor. During her works in school, Michelle worked as a Product Control Intern at the Royal Bank of Canada. Prior to receiving a full time position with J.P. Morgan, She worked at the leading financial giant as an intern in Equity Finance. As an intern, she was very determined and passionate to get her name known. Putting in the long hours and exceeding expectations, she achieved a positive impression amongst her upper management, which resulted in the full-time offer. In an interview with her she states “It was when my manager gave me the lead task as an intern to handle a project, my sigma experience kicked in. I was able to accomplish the objectives asked of me with superb results, which had my managers really impressed.”
Motivated by the experiences her family had transitioning from living in china and coming to America, she will always remember what her family has overcome. She states “they worked hard for me and made sacrifices that I cannot and will not take for granted. I owe it to them to become the exceptional woman that I know and they know I can be.” She goes on to explain how her grandfather played a major role in her life. She states, “My Grandfather is a great role model and sacrificed a lot for my family. He has always been brave and strong when challenged by life obstacles, such as losing sight in one of his eyes. I had a close relationship with him and he always said work hard Michelle. Make your family proud and after he passed away I feel like I owe it to him, plus I owe it to myself!”
“You should always be open minded and try to look for new obstacles to overcome, even when it seems impossible. It is better to challenge yourself and fail, rather than not try at all. Sigma has opened many doors for me that I never thought existed and it has helped strengthen valuable traits such as networking, procedures for interviews and leadership skills.”
Member of Sigma Alpha Delta since: Fall
Baruch College Graduation Date: Spring 2010
Country of Origin: Tirana-Albania
Date of Bio: Fall 2011
“Look high and aim higher”
Linda Demiraj is the true definition of the American Dream. Linda was born and raised in Tirana, Albania and moved to New York at the young age of 18. She believes hard work is a must to becoming a success, while diversifying your experience to create a well rounded individual. She states, “I would not exchange my experience in New York during these past years with anything else. Here, I learned to live like a New Yorker, love New York and fight to achieve my goals just like any New Yorker … without ever forgetting my roots and where I came from. I love to live a very dynamic life. I studied finance as both an undergraduate and graduate student, but I love to live just as if the world was to end on December 21, 2012. I like to read about finance, world history, unsolved mysteries etc. I work in finance, but I also do not forget to take walks, go clubbing, wine tasting, swimming … in few words, I love to live!”
Linda Demiraj was inducted in the fall semester of 2008 and went on to become a dedicated leader in the semesters following. She states, “My induction at Sigma Alpha Delta marked the beginning of the Renaissance era for me. I have to thank Sigma for the many friends I have made at Baruch and for really allowing me to enjoy my college life so much more. Some of the people who are associated with the best memories I have from Sigma are: Hosni Mubarak, Anisha Arora, Neil Sun, Galina Aynbund, Shaif Uddin, Melissa Lok, etc. When I was part of Sigma, no pyramids existed. We were all equal. We were all leaders who tried to learn from other leaders such as ourselves and I think this is what mainly contributed to the success of our society: One for all, all for one. I held several roles at Sigma. My first role I served for the honor society was the Executive Secretary and then later on I served as the HR Manager. In my last semester at Baruch College, I served the society as the Vice-Chair of the Web & IT committee.”
Linda believes that Sigma Alpha Delta fosters a family environment and runs its organization as not just another club or Honor Society. She goes on to explain, “It is true that I might have chosen to be part of any other society at Baruch College, but the positive vibe that I received at the first Sigma meeting I attended, limited my options to one.” Linda recalls volunteering event as some of her best experiences. It showed the society as an environmental/community conscience organization and it allowed members to create meaningful connections with one another, while aiding those in need. Linda states, “Most students join societies so that they can add value to their resumes. I joined Sigma to make friends. When I graduated, I had not only added value to my resume. I had also made a lot of friends and developed into a leader who was able to think, strategize, implement, monitor and as a result, lead.”
Linda Demiraj graduated from Baruch College in June of 2010, with a Bachelors degree in Finance and Investments, with a minor in French. She is grateful for attending Baruch and would not have changed her decision to attend for any other college. She believes that Baruch College offers a very dynamic experience to each student and it is up to us students to take advantage of the opportunities the college offers. She states, “Some students liked to spend their time complaining about the elevators, others spent their day reading accounting books inside out, others liked to sit by Madison Square Park and enjoy 2 hour long coffee breaks. I liked to prepare for class sessions while at the same time making time to meet with friends for coffee, take a walk by the park, exchange opinions on specific or broad matters with society members or even simply thinking about my current life and finding a way to make it more enjoyable. While at Baruch, I thought it was necessary to learn everything that books and people had to share with me. I made the most out of my time there, and I am very happy I did.” If Linda could change an opportunity she did not utilize in her time at Baruch College, she would have diversified her classes a bit more. She states, “I would try to make more time to take classes to develop my intellectual state, such as classes on World History, Psychology, Foreign Language ( I tried registering for Chinese for 2 consecutive semesters, but was unable to), the Arts and Humanities. Sometimes one Psychology class will teach you more about doing business than 10 business classes.”
In August 2010, Linda embarked in her continuation of higher education and started a Masters program in Amsterdam. She was such a dynamic student, that she won the Netherlands American foundation scholarship. This reward not only gave a little more prestige to the well established brand that is Linda Demiraj, but it also waived her tuition fees of 26,000 Euros.
Linda currently works at ING Investment Management. Her role consists of providing support to the Institutional Sales Team. she focuses on conducting competitive analysis and providing introductory meetings or portfolio updated material such as, but not limited to strategy briefs (ING product briefs and conducting some competitive analysis to lay out our advantages to point out our value added), one pagers (thorough research on corporations, E&Fs, Publics, FoFs etc), focus product investment performance data updates, market commentaries on a periodic schedule, etc. In addition, she participates in Client Calls and builds the follow-up plan for her team. She states, “What makes this role enjoyable is the dynamics of the projects I am involved in. There is no one day that is similar to another. It is also a real pleasure working with a highly experienced and successful sales team. There is so much to learn and all of them are very willing to share, which is very fortunate.” In the years ahead, Linda would like to take a senior role in her company. The only thing that matters to her is that she is happy with her career or anything she is a part of in life. She believes that your career is important and it should make you happy to wake up in the morning to start your day.
Linda reads The Economist to keep her up to date with business and financial news. She also reads the NY Times on a daily basis, where she tends to have a preference for the opinions and books section. She not only reads the popular books that are recommended, she even reads the books that are not too favored, just to see if she would give it a similar review. She likes to see a different perspective on the known or unknown matters of the world, beside that of Business. She enjoys reading and is fascinated by learning something new every day.
Linda is motivated by positive feedback and passion to make the unknown, known. She believes in reality not everything (work or school related projects) is perfect and even if it may look perfect to us, there is always room to make it better. If people have a positive attitude and start to give constructive feedback by first bringing out the positive values of a specific issue, she is deeply inspired to add perfection to a higher level and take upon whatever challenge comes her way to meet goals. Linda has such a successful background and an inspiring story that can make a non-believer, a believer in, do dreams come true? She states that she has two role models in her life. “The first one is my mother and the second one I would like to keep anonymous. Intelligence, ambition, passion to succeed, strength to overcome the most challenging tests, and character to lead defines both these women. What makes them different, is that they always do it with a smile … they never lose that smile. My greatest accomplishment in life is the fact that I have made my parents proud. Nothing else on my resume or in life means more to me than what I just said. A young woman my age has many goals on both a career and family front. I have one: Accomplish the impossible and do it with a smile.”
"Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become...habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny! What we think we become”
“A leader knows no boundaries: Always use no limits as a limitation”
“Stay hungry, stay foolish”
- Steve Jobs
“Nothing great will ever be achieved without great men, and men are great only if they are determined to be so”
–Charles De Gaulle
Baruch College Date of Graduation: Spring 2011
Major: Political Science
Country of Origin: France
Written by: Michael Arnold, Spring 2012
“Try to have as much fun as possible. Cherish your college years. Be bold in trying to meet new people.”
Kadri Augustin, Class of 2011, is a recent Sigma Alumnus. He is originally from Brooklyn, New York and lived in Avignon, France for a year after high school. He majored in Political Science during his time at Baruch, and quickly landed a job with Fidessa Corporation, an international financial software company, upon graduating. Kadri is a billing analyst, a position that he describes as “dealing with invoicing and travel expenses.”
Kadri works at Fidessa’s New York headquarters in lower Manhattan, and enjoys the company's “wonderful atmosphere.” “The people are nice and friendly. It’s business casual everyday, and we have a decent amount of dress down days,” he said.
Kadri is nostalgic about his time in Sigma, and Baruch in general. He fondly recalls going out to a school in the Bronx with other inducted members and teaching a fifth grade class for a few hours. Beyond volunteer work, he also misses the good times he had going out around the city with friends from school.
His motivation to work is stability, but also the hope to eventually work for himself and “do something great at some point.”
Having just graduated college, he is trying to start two businesses: a consulting firm for small businesses, and an import export business - primarily exporting American goods.
Kadri’s future goals include expanding his businesses and working for himself by age 30. “By 30, I want to be a millionaire,” he said jokingly.
His advice to current Sigma Alpha Delta-ers: “Try to get the best grades you can. However, employers don’t only look at GPA, they look at your overall experience. If you’re able to work and have a 3.5 or above, it shows that you can excel.”
Kadri also emphasized the importance of networking, as well as having fun in your college years. “Try to have as much fun as possible. Cherish your college years. Be bold in trying to meet new people.”
Member of Sigma Alpha Delta since: Fall 2008
Baruch College Graduation Date: Spring 2011Country of Origin: USA
Date of Bio: Fall 2011
“Carpe Diem – Seize the Day”
Jennifer Cobos was not brought up into wealth. She is the first American generation of her family. Her mother was born in Colombia and her father was born in Ecuador. Growing up, she watched her family work hard to make sure she had a better life, which was an experience that motivates her to reach new heights. She states, “My dad always worked hard in order for my family and I to have the life he never had back in Ecuador. He's the kind of person to work seven days a week in order to make sure that everyone in my house has what they need.” She describes how the men in her life have really played an important role in her development. When she joined Sigma Alpha Delta, She had met her current boyfriend former President Hosni Mubarak and he has inspired her dramatically. She states, “He redirected me into becoming more of a professional and being able to focus on what I needed to get done in my life, he's the type of person who will help in order to make others succeed.” Jennifer explains that even though she may not have given a life of gold or wealth, she has people in her life that are precious to her like gold and in that, she is surrounded by wealth.
Jennifer Cobos is a strong independent woman, who is currently working as a Manager in the well renowned American department store, Macy’s. Prior to working in the field of her preference, she has gained an impressive resume having affiliations with some of the top companies in the U.S. and the world. In the past, Jennifer Cobos has worked as an intern manager at The Hertz Corporation. Hertz is the largest general used car rental brand in the world and provides all types of cars, including luxury brands like Cadillac or Mercedes. As an Intern Manager, she acquired a strong basis in customer service and a great appreciation working with people. Jennifer has also worked at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill-Cornell Medical Center. New York Presbyterian is the top hospital in New York and is ranked six in the nation. The hospital contains lead specialists in every field of medicine and has an irrefutable reputation for excellence in the health care field.As an individual that enjoys bringing quality to an organization, Jennifer worked as a talent acquisition specialist and valued the experience she obtained.
Graduating in spring of 2011, Jennifer was offered a job in Macy’s as a Sales Manager. She states, “I love working in Macy’s being that it gives me the opportunity to manage a staff of people within my department, while helping in their development in being top sales representatives through the experiences I’ve acquired, like being with Sigma Alpha Delta Honor Society. Being able to apply what I have learned to develop my staff will excel them to the next level of their working careers and I have seen this already. Besides that, I do appreciate discounts on great clothing lines.”Jennifer Cobos majored in Marketing Management and minored in Psychology at her time as an undergraduate at Baruch College. She joined Sigma Alpha Delta in the fall of 2008. Jennifer joined the Volunteer Committee wanting to make a difference, especially considering she is a personable individual who is always interested in lending a helping hand. The following semester she went for the Chair of the Volunteering Committee and resulted in having the best semester in Baruch College, being that she worked with great people helping through volunteer service. She co-chaired the committee with Holger Briones, a great contributor to Sigma Alpha Delta. Jennifer introduced along with the organization GLASSShe learned a lot during that semester and created strong relationships with the committee, which still continue today. She went on to become Vice President, during the Presidency of Najeeb Alam. She states, “The Sigma E-board bonded very well and created great relationships through compromise, which reflected positive through our completion of our goals.” Following her two great semesters as an Officer in Sigma, Jennifer decided to run for President and won the position with her friend Michelle Li as vice president. She had a great semester with chairs that went above and beyond their duties, of which she states has developed her talents greatly. “Don't hesitate in giving a helping hand. Your help can be that motivation that a person needs."
“Always network and communicate. You learn how to be honest with yourself, about yourself and with everyone around you. The benefits of Sigma include meeting great people, enhancing your public speaking, gaining support, and building a great network. I have gained a great respect for the people I have worked with and I hope to continue working with in the future.”
Member of Sigma Alpha Delta since: Fall 2008
Baruch College Graduation Date: Spring 2011
Country of Origin: USA
Date of Bio: Fall 2011
“You don’t have to run, if you hit a home run”
Holger Briones is a first generation American student, being born and raised in the Bronx, New York. His family migrated from Guayaquil, Ecuador to America looking for a better opportunity. If it wasn’t for his family and their hardship, Holger says he probably would not have achieved what he has today. He states, “My family is not rich and had limited means. Watching them put in the hard work to allow us to be stable and have an opportunity to pursue our dreams, was very motivating. I am fortunate and proud to say that when I start my job at PwC, I will be making more than both my parents make combined. My mother is a great inspiration in my life. When she came to the U.S., she was pregnant with me and had to begin working as soon as possible. Coming from Ecuador, she had a degree in Chemistry. Unfortunately, the degree could not be used unless she went back to school to attain another that met the U.S. standards of an adequate education in Chemistry. She could not do so pregnant and gave up her opportunity to become a pharmacist, in order to take care of her family. For twenty years, she has worked as a maid and has supported me in everything. She sacrificed a lot and is my inspiration to become something great.”
Holger Briones is the epitome of the saying, “Hard work, Pays off.” He is currently progressing in achieving his license as a Certified Public Accountant and is currently working for PricewaterhouseCoopers as an auditor, specifically working in the banking and capital markets team. In PwC, he will be verifying financial statements to assure information is adequate and appropriate, which will be an aid for investor decision-making. As a freshman, Holger was a full time student and would study hard to assure himself that he was well prepared for his courses. Later, Holger decided that it would be essential to gain some hands-on experience by applying for an internship in accountancy. He managed to obtain an internship with one of the top financial institutions, Morgan Stanley, and worked with them under the tax department until June 2011. At this time, his reputation and hard work had given him offers from the Big 4 in the accounting industry (PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, and KPMG). Holger states in an interview, “I read somewhere, that each of the Big 4 receive two million applicants a year and accept close to five thousand or so. I am fortunate to have the choice to choose from either of these well established and respectable firms.”
Holger Briones received his education in the public school system. He
attended Baruch College, being that he wanted to get into business and knew
that Baruch is one of the best business schools in the country. In college, he
decided to major in accounting. Holger states, “I was always good with numbers,
but also I appreciate the knowledge that allows you to be able to pick out a
number on a balance sheet and understand how to derive it. Accounting allows
you to understand the process in formulating the financial statements, plus you
get a wider breath of knowledge concerning the financials.” Holger achieved his
Bachelor’s degree in Accountancy, but understood in order to be a really good
Accountant he would need to attain a Masters Degree. He obtained his Masters
from Baruch College and is now working on receiving his CPA license.
Holger states, “Sigma Alpha Delta is an Honor Society like no other. It is not an Honor Society that just accepts you based on your grades or after you pay the fee like others. You have to put the work into it as well and invest your time. From this, you will receive more from the society than you will ask for.” Holger Briones joined Sigma Alpha Delta after speaking with the Vice President of the society at the time, Hosni Mubarak. Hosni had spoken highly of the society and Holger had been given recommendations from others around school to join. In the fall of 2008, Holger was inducted into the society. By spring 2009, Holger Briones ran for Volunteer Chair and resulted in getting into a tie with Jennifer Cobos, which then resulted in a Co-Chair alliance with Jennifer. He states, “It turned out to be a great semester for the Volunteer Committee. Jennifer and I worked real well together and attracted great organizations for volunteering, some of which are still utilized today. We had great attendance, strong enthusiasm, and a number of individuals under our committee.” As an E-Board member, Holger got the opportunity to obtain some leadership experience. When Holger first entered Sigma Alpha Delta, he described himself as someone who was real shy and afraid to speak in public. During his time in Sigma, he describes how it opened his shell and allowed him to be more personable. The opportunity to network with students or staff members of the college and to be a leader in a committee, allowed him to gain a confidence that has aided him in his success. Holger states, “I am now able to walk up to anyone, introduce myself and have a decent conversation. I learned that in life, sometimes you have to be taken out of your comfort zone in order to develop attributes of your character. It is very important to be able to network in the business world and I am very appreciative to Sigma Alpha Delta in aiding me in that accomplishment. In Sigma Alpha Delta, you meet great people and build on yourself. That makes you stronger and a more equip person for what life has to offer.”
“It is great to have good grades and all firms appreciate someone who takes their school work seriously, but it is not just grades that they look for. They look for an individual who has a diverse set of skills. You have to have experiences and not just academic experiences, but life experiences. That is why I implore individuals to diversify their character traits. Be active in school and in your community if you can. Go out and volunteer or join a club like Sigma Alpha Delta that can help you attain these other attributes to your character that can make you better.”
Member of Sigma Alpha Delta since: Fall 2009
Baruch College Graduation Date: Spring 2011
Country of Origin: USA
Date of Bio: Fall 2011
"Always look at the bigger picture and never get too wrapped up in something because then you’ll never know what you’re missing."
Debby Lee is a recent Baruch College graduate who was honored with the Summa Cum Laude award. As Undergraduate in Baruch College, Debby majored in Finance and minored in Clinical Psychology. Debby feels that the college experience has opened her up as a person. She's not the shy person she was in high school. Aside from that, she has learned to roll with the punches better, learned how to accept that not everything is going to be perfect, and also realizes how important it is to adapt constantly to changing conditions. She has been working at Credit Suisse since July 2011, but interned with them last summer. She currently works in asset servicing for nostro and domestic dividends, which is under the investment banking operations division. Debby states that being in operations, in particular, is enjoyable because there is more exposure to different parts of the bank and various types of people. She also maintains a good work-life balance as the hours are not as hectic as most other departments. Debby plans to continue on her career path and see where it takes her, but aside from that, she has big plans of starting a catering business on the side, but that, like her life, is a work in progress.
Like most people who first join Sigma, Debby Lee joined the Honor Society not knowing how to get more involved in school and in search of an organization that would be beneficial to her college experience. She reached out to many different clubs and Sigma was one of the first to get back to her. She met some amazing people, some of whom she still keeps in touch with and hangs out with today. To name a few: Najeeb Alam, Megan Dong, Alvine Flores, and Randall Romain. Debby's most memorable experience while in Sigma was when she ran for the position of Chair of Volunteer Programs the semester she got inducted in the organization. She wrote a poem for her speech and since then, her nickname has been M.C. Lee. Debby found sigma to be a place that you met friends, while creating new family. She states, “Members were real helpful in any matter that you may have, while also creating meaningful bonds with members through the organizations activities.”
Debby Lee is a regular reader of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Debby likes to keep up with the latest news and enjoys learning about what’s new in the world. Debby is also an extreme sports enthusiast, which include, but are not limited to, dragon boating, snowboarding, and rock climbing. Outside of that, however, she also holds various different interests. She loves photography and expresses this love by being one of the first members of the budding Party with Baruch. She's also a baking connoisseur; several Sigma members can attest to that as she's toiled over her mixer and oven for several hours for the organization’s bake sales. Debby considers that her biggest inspiration is her brother, who is in the US Navy. Despite how terrible things were for him when he was deployed in Afghanistan, he stuck to it, finished his tour, and came back safely. He inspires her and motivates her to give 110% at all times.
"Try to get to know as many people as possible because you never know when you might need someone’s help on something"
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind” – Dr. Seuss
Member of Sigma Alpha Delta since: Fall 2006
Baruch College Date of Graduation: Spring 2009
Country of Origin: USA
Date of Bio: Fall 2011
Networking, differentiating yourself…..equals success!
Daniel Gomez completed both his undergrad and graduate degrees at Baruch College Zicklin School of Business. Daniel obtained a BBS in Finance and a Masters in Accounting. He describes his time at Baruch as a rewarding experience. Daniel comes from a single parent household and owes a lot to his mother for her hard work. He describes how he is very fortunate to be able to come to such a respected College and is appreciative to have the opportunity to utilize the offerings Baruch has given him. Looking up to his brother, Daniel was recommend to get involved in the clubs Baruch College offered. Taking this recommendation, Daniel was heavily involved on campus. As an Honorary President of ALPFA (Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting), Daniel developed sincere relationships with the Directors in Student Life at Baruch College. He was constantly in and out of the career center, speaking with recruiters and other distinguished professionals.
As a member of Sigma and a President in ALPFA, Daniel collaborated with President Hosni Mubarak of Sigma Alpha Delta to create an event titled “Brand Yourself.” Daniel explains how the event was created to give students in the school an opportunity to network by communicating accomplishments and objectives to professionals. Daniel states, “What you say about yourself on your resume, on the Internet, or in conversation, including interviews, needs to be consistent. In today’s competitive environment, marketing and differentiating yourself from other job seekers leads to Career Success!
When asked whether he would change anything in his college experience, Daniel replied “I would have focused on my studies more. Having good grades is a requirement and essential to obtaining an internship. Beside this, I would have joined great establishments like Sigma Alpha Delta and ALPFA earlier.
Daniel currently works at Pricewaterhousecoopers, one of the big four Accounting firms. He just finished the companies training program and is eager to apply his new skills at work. Daniel is currently working in the products and services division within PWC. I
n his first year with the firm, he will be working with technology and media entertainment clients. Daniel states he is very interested in learning more about retail consumers, business structures, and technology. “Your number one priority is to have great output when it comes to work.” Daniel is dedicated to his job and is willing to make sacrifices in order to attain his goals, per se; one day becoming a partner or CEO of a firm. Daniel views his time at PWC as being a CEO in training. Daniel does not see himself working in the same company for more than 5 years. He wants to get promoted to a managerial position and then seek opportunities elsewhere. However, if Daniel truly enjoys his working environment, he would stay for a long time and try to make partner. He seeks to become a decision-maker, while generating income and fostering new relationships with clients. Daniel is also very involved in giving back to the community and intends on becoming a mentor for Baruch College students. He is part of the Professional ALPFA Organization and participates in volunteer events his employer PWC administers.
Daniel recommends student to take all the opportunities Baruch College offers. He states, “I do not recommend working, while in college. Do very well in school and make sure you have a good GPA and get involved throughout the campus. Getting involved on campus is crucial to securing a job upon graduation.” Daniel also recommends members to take themselves out of their comfort settings, relevant to networking. He explains, “Do not think that because you are comfortable networking in your own club, that you will be ready for networking in professional settings like PWC or J.P. Morgan. Get out of your comfort zone and diversify your networking skills with other organizations like ALPFA, Ascend, and NABA. Establishments like Sigma Alpha Delta are great to enhance ones abilities, but always remember to diversify your experience pertaining to professional environments.”
“Students need to network with club organizations and not just the ones you are comfortable with. Take yourself out of your comfort zone. In the real world you will be networking with people that you have never met and you need to have experience in this setting. I am glad to be a part of organizations like Sigma Alpha Delta. You meet great people, while learning about your strengths and weaknesses.”
Member of Sigma Alpha Delta Since: 2004 – 2007
Baruch College Date of Graduation: May 2007
Major: Finance and Investments
Success is a process, not just a state in progress.
Upon entering Baruch, Teesha Bhola was certain that she wanted to do something with “numbers and investments.” This led her to become a Finance major, a decision fueled by the belief that the field of Finance & Investments serves as an “underlying foundation for understanding how any business operates.” Teesha’s experience at Baruch with Sigma Alpha Delta not only changed Teesha personally, but guided her to a successful career as a Financial Analyst for JP Morgan Chase.
In May of 2006, Teesha began her career as a participant in a competitive 10-week internship program with JP Morgan. Through the program, Teesha supported the Technology & Operations Training and Development Group. In this role, she obtained and utilized organizational, strategic, and analytical skills, while reporting to senior management. Teesha’s dedication led to success within the internship program, which helped her unlock myriad career opportunities.
Soon enough, Teesha was accepted into JP Morgan’s Analyst program. The program allowed her to rotate within various units of the firm, assuming different roles and responsibilities. Her first rotation was for six months as a Management Services Summer Analyst. She then went on to fill the position of a Treasury & Security Services Analyst for 10 months. As a TSS Analyst, Teesha worked on cost cutting and waste reduction initiatives with the End-user Productivity Management Team. In July 2007, she was appointed as a Compensation & Analytics Analyst. In this role, she supported front office market teams and was responsible for planning, communicating, and administrating employee compensation worldwide. Bhola has already served eleven months as a Treasury Services Market Research Analyst. Currently, she is in her last rotation as a Client Research Analyst.
Teesha’s dedication to Sigma Alpha Delta was recognized early
on as a prospective member. She was selected to organize the first
Baruch comedy show. The show’s success encouraged her to run for
chairperson of the Events Management Committee. The role of Events
Management chairperson prepared her to run for, and win, the Vice
Presidential seat in 2004.
Reflecting upon her time as a member of Sigma, Teesha says:
“It was the highlight of my college days to be so involved in school and to organize shows that people not only came to, but raved about. My favorite moment was after I gave a speech at the New Candidates Rendezvous (a spin on the New Candidates Dinner). I had a student come up to me during the night and tell me that they were so inspired by my speech that they wanted to be in Sigma and one day stand on the same stage and address the students. Sure enough, exactly one year later – they did.”
As Vice President, Teesha collaborated with diverse individuals, improved her time-management skills, networked, and created lasting relationships. When asked “how did you contribute to Sigma’s success?” Teesha modestly replied, “It’s not really the individual that changes Sigma. It’s Sigma that changes the individual. Collectively, the organization is made successful by the contribution of its dedicated and motivated members.”
As a child, Teesha Bhola was modest and shied away from the spotlight. Yet, in May of 2007, she graduated from Baruch, Magna Cum Laude. She has advanced as an empowered woman and professional, who has plans to continue her education. Despite her accolades, Teesha enjoys life’s simple pleasures. She has a passion for traveling, and calls a recent trip to Rome “enlightening”.
In reference to her success, Teesha cheerfully quotes The Joker in The Dark Knight when he says, “This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.” Although the words of the villain were meant to reinforce evil in the film, Teesha has tweaked the phrase to suit her own philosophy: “If there is an obstacle in your way, push ahead. Push through the resistance. All it takes is a dream and the will to do it. Go ahead. Move those mountains.”
Member of Sigma Alpha Delta Since: 2004 – 2006
Baruch College Date of Graduation: 2006
Major: Marketing Management
Since 2006, Susan Raygorodskaya has worked for international management consulting firm, Oliver Wyman. She currently works as a Marketing Coordinator, providing clients with intellectual capital deliverables (thought pieces on the financial market). Susan finds her work enjoyable thanks to a dedicated team, friendly workplace environment, and an ever-changing market. Her marketing experience extends back to high school, and carries throughout her time as a student at Baruch and member of Sigma Alpha Delta.
As a high school student, Susan was involved in a number of extracurricular activities. She was a member of the Student Union and the Sophomore/Junior Counsel. She served in positions such as, Secretary, Treasurer, and Vice President during this time. It was her participation in these student organizations that helped Susan to realize how much she enjoyed working in group settings and coordinating projects.
Upon joining Sigma, Susan entered the Marketing Committee. She got her start as Assistant to the Chairperson of Marketing, was later elected Marketing Chair, and then, became Marketing Coordinator. While serving in her various roles, Susan managed the creation and distribution of flyers, executed event mailings, and contributed to the resolution of event logistics. Her favorite moments in Sigma came while working on events alongside her fellow members. She enjoyed seeing the group achieve success, even in the face of unforeseen circumstances. Regarding her peers, Susan states, “I have realized through the years that I more than ever, look up to my peers. They are the one group of people that have the best outlook on life, since they are in the same position as me.”
Despite her lengthy commute as a resident of Staten Island, Susan grew fond of Baruch. She credits the school with aiding her in the development of diligence, multitasking ability, and time management skills. Susan found Baruch’s location convenient for working internships at TIAA-CREF, Technology Therapy Group, and UBS Financial Services Inc. At Technology Therapy Group, Susan received her first exposure to Customer Relationship Management (CRM). It was there, that Susan learned how to compile a client outreach database. At TIAA-CREF, Susan worked with a letter shop and print vendor, making invitations for seminars. These days, Susan utilizes the skills that she built during internships, assisting with event coordination and executing mailings for Oliver Wyman.
For Susan, the allure of marketing comes from the way in which it is used to influence target groups and garner interest in a product or service. “I really enjoy looking at different commercials and advertisements and figuring out how they came up with a given campaign”, says Susan. As advice to Sigma’s general population, Susan urges members to “take on a position in the club because, you get to learn about responsibility, you get to make decisions that impact the whole student body, and you get that extra something when you own a position and feel like you made a difference during the time you were there.” She urges Sigma’s Marketing Committee to “be creative and think outside the box, because that’s what gets you noticed the most.”
Finally, Susan says, “Do everything and anything with the club, because it’s the best being part of a group of people who have the same interests as you. It passes by so fast that once you look back, you wish you would have been MORE involved than you already were.”
Member of Sigma Alpha Delta since: Spring 2006
Baruch College Graduation Date: September, 2008
Country of Origin: Georgetown, Guyana
Date of Bio: Fall 2011
“Once your attitude changes, everything around you will change. The choice is yours!”
Roxanne Layne has been a member of Sigma Alpha Delta since spring 2006. She has never held an executive position in Sigma Alpha Delta, although she has shared her experience by encouraging members to join and participate in activities. She often explains members to take an active role in their college experience, develop a professional profile on sites like LinkedIn, and to attend networking events to better their experience. In addition, Roxanne has volunteered at many events that the Honor Society provides: Children Aid Society, Habitat for Humanitarian, Bailey's House, JP Morgan Cabrini, raised money at the Saint Patrick Day Bake Sale, and Relay for Life Breast Cancer Awareness. Most recently, Roxanne was an Honorary Alumni speaker for the 2011 Alumni Social (Alumni Reunion), which was spearheaded by Joseph Alshawish the Alumni Chair of Relations at the time.
In 2009, Roxanne obtained Certificate Programs in Project Management, Accounting Principles, and Essentials of Human Resources Management - SHRM. In addition, Roxanne has earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resources Management from Baruch College - Zicklin School of Business and an associate degree in Accounting from Borough of Manhattan Community College. In April 2008 she was inducted in the Sigma Iota Epsilon - T
he National Honorary and Professional Management Fraternity at Baruch College - Zicklin School of Business and was a member of Society of Human Resources Management -SHRM. Roxanne is currently pursuing her MBA with a concentration in Project Management at Keller School of Management in New York City. In addition, she is preparing to take the PMP exam in the next couple of months.
Roxanne explains, “While at Sigma, I had the privilege of meeting Paul Sinclair, Yaphet Murphy, Danielle LaMazza, Hosni Mubarak, and Christopher Garner who were inspirational and motivating members. These individuals articulated the importance of leadership and how volunteerism is essential, especially to the society.”When asked why did you choose Sigma Alpha Delta? Roxanne replied, “Sigma chose me. I received a letter in the mail stating that congratulations, you have been chosen to be a part of Sigma Alpha Delta Honor Society and I was much pleased.”
Roxanne has over 17 years of extensive experience in banking and financial services. Most recently, she has obtained a Project Manager position with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney where she manages over 500 branches in various states. Roxanne enjoys her career tremendously. She has developed an outstanding relationship with her clients; while providing excellent customer service and project management techniques daily. Prior to this position, she held an Analyst position at Citigroup where she supported over 5000 System Administrators and other business units. In this role, she has received a Praise Award for going above and beyond for her clients and management team. Roxanne has held other positions for other companies such as: The Bank of New York, JP Morgan Chase, UBS Paine Webber, and Garban Intercapital. Roxanne is best known for customer retention, team building, coaching, career development, negotiation, interviewing skills, training and development, employee relations, project management, performance appraisals, and human resources management. Roxanne is extremely passionate about project management and her ultimate goal is to become a CEO at a multimillion dollar organization. Roxanne spends most of her time working and motivating others to accomplish their desired goals. She attends church regularly and serves as a member of the Altar Guild. She enjoys movies, dancing, theater, and music. She believes that everyone can reach their fullest potential through perseverance and having a positive attitude.
Member of Sigma Alpha Delta Since: Fall 2005 – Spring 2007
Baruch College Date of Graduation: May 2007
Major: BBA in Finance & MS in Accounting
As a teenager, Ravi enjoyed helping his father manage the tasks involved with managing a small business. Through these years of experience and his ease in understanding numerical functions, he developed a passion for business management. Upon his acceptance to the Macaulay Honors College at Baruch, he promptly began working on completing all his required courses to the best of his ability. While in class, he made sure to waste no time in searching for work experience in the field. He held several internships at small firms, and his hard work paid off when a prestigious company named KPMG offered him employment. At this point, Ravi’s days were filled with school and work, but he felt still felt incomplete. He decided to take a more active role within the school, and began to search for a club where he could make a difference.
Ravi knew that he didn’t want to be part of a club “that was just another brick in the wall;” his purpose was to become part of something that would fill the void in his life as a college student and allow him to make a positive difference on the student body. What stood out to him the most was Sigma Alpha Delta.
Ravi kept this in mind until the fall of 2005, when he joined Sigma’s Alumni Relations Committee. He quickly recognized that this society was not functioning at its full potential. Because membership was based on a fee and not on volunteering, many students joined Sigma just to enhance their resume with an extracurricular activity to claim membership to. Ravi set an agenda of possible changes to enact that would benefit the Alumni Relations Committee, and ran for the chair in spring of 2006. After obtaining this position, he quickly got to work implementing changes that he had in mind.
Ravi strongly believed that the membership fee within Sigma should be removed, and in place of that fee, members would be expected to meet certain criteria including GPA thresholds, volunteer requirements, and greater individual committee obligations. With his new ideas, Ravi brought about one of Sigma’s major turning points—it was not just any other club, but a society of members who pledged to contribute effort to make Sigma grow into something bigger and better than it was before.
In the fall of 2006, Ravi was elected president of Sigma Alpha Delta. Throughout this semester, he worked on getting Sigma to cosponsor events going on around the school, as well as marketing the society’s goals and mission by setting up a table on the second floor of the Vertical Campus, recruiting dedicated and motivated individuals. While serving as president, he set up several of the organization’s most prominent events and programs such as the Oxford Debate, Business Etiquette Workshop, New Candidates Dinner, and Canned Food Drive. This semester also saw the introduction of the Volunteering Committee, during which they were able to get three to five activities for members to participate in. Today, this committee has grown to play a very large role within Sigma, providing more than ten times the number of activities for members to take part in.
To this day, Ravi gives credit to Sigma for helping him obtain several of his valued qualities he holds. From sigma, he learned the importance of time management, hard work, leadership skills, and full commitment—skills that would last a lifetime. As a member of Sigma, Ravi quickly learned the feeling that would most fill his body with happiness was being able to do something for others instead of only concerning himself with a selfish future. Through Sigma, he learned the importance of speaking out and voicing his opinions. Working with other Sigma leaders, he was able to put his ideas into reality. Ravi shared the fact that at one point he was so overwhelmed by all the tasks he wanted to make sure got completed that he temporarily quit his job so as not to jeopardize his final goals in Sigma. He also shared the overwhelming feeling of joy he felt being able to motivate Chris Garner, the former chair of the Volunteer Committee, to run for president, as well as Daniel Lameza to run for chair of the Alumni Relations Committee—memories that stick with him to this day. Ravi credits the leaders and members of Sigma for its ability to continuously grow into a society of students that are led by a similar passion and are willing to put forth time and effort towards achieving their dreams.
After graduating Summa Cum Laude with both a BBA in Finance and a MS in Accounting completed in just four years, he continued his work with KPMG and is now a senior associate involved in transaction and reconstruction advisory. Even though he is no longer in school, Ravi strongly believes that the acquisition of knowledge is a never ending cycle, as long as there is something new at hand and the individual is willing to learn it. Ravi says that at his current job, he isn’t entirely sure whether or not this is the job he wants to make into his career. He is currently studying in preparation to take his CFA, and has already passed his CPA, as well as relearning Spanish for himself. Ravi made it clear that one of the most important things to remember is that nobody graduates college with the full understanding of what they want to do for the rest of their life. College is a place to acquire as much knowledge on a topic of interest, and with that degree one is then able to enter the work field and try different things until he or she finds what they like the most.
After a four year graduation, Ravi wishes he had not rushed through all his coursework to allot time for travelling abroad and participating in other social activities that his peers had the opportunity to take part in. He continues to participate in the junior achievement volunteer activity sponsored by Sigma, as well as tutoring college students in accounting. As an alumni of Baruch, he advises current students to treasure their time in college and make sure that they are making the most of their time before graduating. He asks us to remember that all of the hard work put in will sooner or later pay off, if not today then tomorrow.
Member of Sigma Alpha Delta Since: Spring 2007 – Spring 2008
Baruch College Date of Graduation: Fall 2008
Major: Human Resources Management
The vibrant and enthusiastic Melissa Sanchez was born and raised in New York. She moved from Queens, New York to Orlando, Florida during her sophomore year of High School. In Florida, Melissa completed her high school education and began her college education at the University of Central Florida. But this New York native hungered for the drive of the Big Apple, and she soon moved back to New York.
Eager to begin working, she immediately began applying to several companies, landing the first job she applied for with the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York. Melissa began working as an assistant to the Head of Member Services of the company for 5 years before transferring to the Community Investment Department of the company as an analyst. As the company’s First Home Club Analyst, she and her partner officer help provide grants to first-time homebuyers, using banks as the middlemen that will help pay for the buyers’ down-payments and closing costs. She even facilitates training programs for the banks so that they can learn about her company’s grant program. She also attends education seminars held for prospective homebuyers so that she can introduce herself and her company’s mission to the clients.
After her first year of work, Melissa re-started her college education at Brooklyn College, aiming to complete her undergraduate degree right here in New York. Not soon after did she transfer to Baruch College after several co-workers, alumni of Baruch, stressed the great level of education and prestige that the college carries as a business school. It was during her time at Baruch College that she decided to be a more active student, which is why she chose to be part of Sigma Alpha Delta. During her time at Sigma, she was an active member; a part of the Volunteer Committee, attended business career events with speakers, and went to the Sigma meetings. She even successfully spearheaded an event called “Hands-On NY” where she and other volunteers renovated an Uptown Manhattan park, becoming her most memorable moment while being at Sigma. She recalled “everyone put gloves on to fix the local community garden that helped nearby residents plant flowers and grow fruits.”
Being part of Sigma helped her grow on a personal level; Melissa saw how the society’s members were so friendly and happy with one another and she soon felt comfortable to be a more open person. Melissa claims she was focused solely on attending classes and remaining a strict employee at work, believing that was the “New York behavior” she had to embody. She did not interact much with students at Baruch or peers at work, but after joining Sigma she soon realized it was okay to just be herself. Melissa felt Sigma was a “positive environment that allowed everyone to interact with one another.” She also admired how Sigma Alpha Delta fostered an environment of “play and work,” because she felt members could learn to be professionals in the real world yet still be relaxed and natural with one another which is a great stepping stone into the career world.
Aside from her professional life, Melissa is also planning her upcoming wedding, since she recently was engaged. To this day, Melissa feels her greatest accomplishment is completing college while working full-time. However, Melissa still has a few career goals in mind such as wanting to strengthen her company’s grant program. Her company, the Federal Home Loan Bank of NY, serves members throughout their district in the New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. As an analyst in the First Home Club program, Melissa continually works to try to streamline the program throughout her company’s district. Besides strengthening the company, she wants to conduct additional seminars with the banks, promote her grant program online by revamping the website, and visit all the different member locations in the district. She even wants to hold a meeting where all the member banks can meet one another to discuss “ideas that would ensure the program is delivered in the most effective manner to future homeowners.”
As a departing remark, she gave current Sigma members a few words of wisdom. She suggested that students need “to formulate their goals and be focused on achieving them,” whatever that goal may be, and to disregard any negative influences while doing so. She encourages Sigma members also to remain confident in their personal and career path by not allowing what others think to deter you from success.
Member of Sigma Alpha Delta Since: 2004 – 2006
Baruch College Date of Graduation: May 2006
Major: Finance and Investments
Minor: Corporate Communications / Theater
For Max May, the decision to attend Baruch College was initially all about practicality. The life-long resident of New York City sought a convenient location to study something – anything, in the field of business. When it came to time to declare a major, Max May settled on Finance and Investments. He perceived Finance to be the most “broad and encompassing” of his options. Max found that he disliked his major, but he did not allow that fact to dissuade him from seeking fulfillment in other outlets. Max found outlets for growth in his passion for the entertainment industry, interest in stocks, and Sigma Alpha Delta.
Atypical for a Finance major, Max May pursued internships at ABC and VH1 instead of Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley. He later moved on to become an Assistant Manager for Rave Wireless, where he developed honed his skills as a salesman. Max grew weary of working for a superior, and decided that he wanted more control over his professional life. He was driven to do more work, make more money, and most importantly, reap greater satisfaction from his occupation.
Ironically, Max’s heightened drive saw his career path veer back towards Finance. He developed an interest in the stock market, and found out that there was little similarity between real-world Finance and what he learned from a textbook. Eventually, Max joined the trading desk of a Union Square firm where he has worked for the past two years. Max May credits equity trading with increasing his worldliness. “I know more about the worldly current events than a history major graduate. I know what goes on in Congress. I know what goes on, on Wall St. … I know what other countries are currently struggling with – I really feel like there is no other field that makes you more of a well-rounded person than the equities market.”
In addition to working as an equity trader, Max May is also co-founder of the New York Boyz of Comedy (NYBC). The NYBC is a group of ethnically diverse comedians, spearheaded by Max and fellow Baruch alumnus, Victor Chu. The NYBC perform stand-up, sketches, and improvisational comedy in group and solo acts. The Jew and the Chu Duo has produced many videos for its NYCHITY YouTube channel.
Max got his start with Sigma Alpha Delta as a Public Relations officer. He moved up to Chairman of Public Relations in his second semester. As PR chairman he found himself serving in a vaguely defined role, which he made the best of by developing the Baruch Bodybuilding Competition and the Oxford Debate alongside two of his fellow officers. These events served their purpose in attracting attention and building Sigma Alpha Delta’s reputation. During his final year as an active member, Max served as President.
Max May refers to his time as President of Sigma Alpha Delta as the highlight of his college career. “It was the time in my life where I learned about myself- about my strengths, my weaknesses – where I learned humility and the power of gratitude. By the end of it, I had become a much better person.” He takes pride in the fact that he performed to the best of his ability and did not hesitate to pursue the interests of Sigma with Student Life or USG. He found that he achieved a lot through persistence. Max was even bestowed a prestigious leadership award, one that he was nominated for by the same people he pursued so tenaciously.
Max May’s future looks to be governed by the same principles that got him to where he is today. His ability to adapt quickly to the needs of a situation, ability to feed off the energy of a crowd or a board room, and an innate sensibility for saying the right thing at the right time has taken him far. In following the examples set by such influences as Mitch Hedberg, Richard Pryor, Rodney Dangerfield, and Mark Twain, Max’s feels that his greatest asset is the ability to recognize where he wants to take his life. “Whatever I have accomplished thus far, my so-called resume, is really the byproduct of me knowing what it is that I am going after.”On setting goals, Max says, “I like to … focus on the process, or the journey, because that is all we’ll ever enjoy — the actual trip to meeting our goals.”
To the present and future of Sigma Alpha Delta, Max May leaves a message, “I am proud to say that out of all the “Thank you’s” I have said throughout my entire life, I had probably said 90% of them while I was the president of Sigma Alpha Delta. The higher my rank got, the humbler I became. I was the most humble at the top. You realize that you are a true leader when, at the end of the day, you really cannot take credit for anything that has been achieved, because it is your team that has gotten the job done. Treating people with appreciation and gratitude was the only thing that made me successful.”
Member of Sigma Alpha Delta Since: 2007 – 2008
Baruch College Date of Graduation: January 2008
Major: Human Resource Management
Motto: “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything”
Success is in the grasp of the driven—those who are guided by their faith, confidence and their insatiable curiosity for knowledge and new experiences will encounter an unmatched form of success. Jason Yarbrough is one of these people—he has an aggressive outlook for his future. This ambition and intellectual nature enabled him to work with one of the leaders in the financial industry, J.P. Morgan & Chase. Jason endeavored to become a retail management trainee and is currently working as a personal banker. Like most successful people, he has further plans promoting his career. He is in the process of acquiring his licenses by taking the Series 6 Financial Certification Exam and the Series 63 Life Insurance Exam.
As a child, Jason’s emerging financial career was not evident. He was fascinated with technology, engineering and speed—all of these infatuations engineered a desire to become a train operator. Although he would later choose another route, this interest showed his great potential. His passion for acceleration, technology and engineering would manifest in another field—Wall Street.
Jason graduated in January of 2008 and his major during his tenure in Baruch was Human Resource Management. The major gave him the necessary knowledge to work for J.P. Morgan & Chase. His ultimate goal, however, is to become a full-fledged Recruiter for JP Morgan Chase. He aspires to dissect the talents of aspiring applicants and recruit qualified College Grads. Quality is mandated by a revered firm such as JP Morgan.
In the fall of 2007, Jason was the Chairperson for the Public Relations & Marketing Committee. However, the semester commenced with him as a Vice Chair of PR & Marketing. With the sudden and inexplicable departure of the Committee’s then Chairperson, Jason was entrusted with the position of Chairperson. He had to organize and consolidate the trust of each individual member. He was able to effectively operate his committee and establish an admirable reputation for Sigma Alpha Delta within Baruch. From his experiences as chairperson, he was able to develop decisional, interpersonal, and informational roles that are necessary if one desires to be a successful professional. This led him to be prepared for the real life situations of uncertainty and risk. “You have to be able to troubleshoot. I didn’t know I was going to end up as the Committee’s Chairperson, but I needed to assume ownership of my position. I think I did that, it was an epiphany for me.” Jason noted.
To him, Sigma Alpha Delta was an inspiring and productive experience which refined certain intangibles one cannot encounter in classrooms. Jason learned how to confront challenges because the experience was “hands on and prepares anyone for the business world.”
“To prospective members within the Sigma Alpha Delta family, ask yourself what you can do to make Sigma better” Jason concludes. He believes that once in an organization, one should fashion his or herself as if they were the President. Once a person has this mentality, they will generate innovative ideas and quickly ascend to the ranks of leadership. “People need to leave their hubris’ at home—you cannot work cohesively with a group if you feel you are better than them. We are in an age where competency and ethics is of great value to an organization’s purpose in society. Individual egos must be confronted and debunked.” Jason says. His belief that an “I Care? I Can” attitude is truly an embodiment of his personality. To this day, Jason wears his Sigma Alpha Delta pin as a badge of honor and encourages Baruch’s most prominent minds to become members.
“I love Sigma Alpha Delta to this day, my memories with Sigma cannot be bartered or exchanged.”
Member of Sigma Alpha Delta Since: 2007 – 2008
Baruch College Date of Graduation: Spring 2008
Major: Finance and Investments
Motto: “Never give up your dream and you can accomplish
anything you set your mind to.”
Such optimistic statements almost seem unreal. However, what makes these statements reality and not cliché is the hidden effort and drive that has to be put behind each word. Neither of those two life guidelines can be followed by sitting around. No, each require a passion, drive, and conviction in one’s goals and capabilities. Inna Rubinstein, a graduate of Baruch College Spring 2009 Cum Laude, is still very visible within Sigma Alpha Delta. She is a person who possesses these qualities. But were they always visible? That is the question….
Inna was born in Kazakhstan, a country in central Asia. She didn’t come to the United States until she was fifteen years old, whereupon, the only person she knew was her uncle. Such a drastic change in environment might have caused another to regress. However, although it was new for her and a bit scary, she didn’t allow it to deter her from her goal, which was her education. Her family believed in her enough to send her here and she was determined not to let them down. Her family’s hopes and dreams continued to be her motivation and support system that carried her through her American high school days and drove her to seek beyond this scope and look towards college. Although she was unsure of what her major would be, or even what her future would entail, she decided to attend Baruch College, a decision that would alter the course of her life.
When Inna was younger she had wanted to be a doctor; however that dream was short lived and came to an abrupt halt with the first couple of graphic doctors’ movies. Thus, she approached Baruch with a blank slate as to what she would do. The only thing that remained was a passion and longing to help others. That passion was still submerged and had yet to find the right outlet. But her time without a set path was coming to and end. The first step toward expression was a required course that every Baruch business student has to take, macroeconomics. Her first experience with economic study was micro economics, but that didn’t leave a pleasant impression on her. However, the second part of economics, macroeconomics (or ECO 1002 as it is known within Baruch), forever changed the altruistic nomad into an expeditionary. In macroeconomics, she had finally found something that she was naturally good at and that she enjoyed.
Her convictions about her newfound passion only grew stronger when she interned at Leeb Capital Management, a small investment company. Previously she had interned for Merrill Lynch, as a financial advisor. At Merrill Lynch, she learned how to bring in clients, but she doesn’t feel she received enough hands on experience there. It was interning at Leeb Capital Management that showed her that she was truly in the right field. Inna worked with them for over a year, during which time she got chance to hold a wide array of positions and duties, thereby getting a chance to experience every side of economics. For example, answering emails from clients who wanted to know about the markets led her to become very informed about the markets as well. At other times she Inna was asked to do portfolio reviews, or review financial holds, and to create spreadsheets of data. Throughout her stay at Leeb Capital, Inna got a chance to experience many things, no doubt mainly because the company was so small, but also because of the fact that she was willing to accept the challenges that were heaped upon her. In one instance, the company lost an employee, and Inna was tasked with doing the work that used to be done by the other person in addition to her own work. At Leeb Capital, Inna proved to herself and others that she can handle workplace responsibility and thrive under diverse corporate circumstances.
Although, her internships were a great help, they were not the only things that allowed her to know that she could get things accomplished. Her roles within Sigma Alpha Delta also made this very clear. Inna held two positions during her time with Sigma, which allowed her to gain things that she had not fully gotten from anywhere else: applicable skills such as leadership and bartering and getting to know herself and the full extent of her capabilities. The first position that Ina held was as cold contactor of the Alumni Relations Committee. Her cold-contacting experience in Sigma broadened her scope and ameliorated her communication skill set. She was eager to converse with Alumni about nuanced experiences and project herself as a dedicated and diligent addition to the Sigma Alpha Delta family. The next position is where she truly realized her capabilities. Inna was elected to be the executive secretary the following semester. Through this position it became her responsibility to host one of Sigma’s most memorable annual events, the Induction Ceremony, thereby pushing her into being a leader. She however didn’t buckle under the pressure but rose to the occasion, doing all that was necessary to make sure that the event was a success, even going to the Undergraduate Student Government and appealing the amount of money Sigma had received for the event. The student government officers gave her the money, an accomplishment that was due solely to her passion and drive. Inna admits that she “still feels empowered after” that event and all that she had to go through to make sure that it was a success. Through the opportunities for leadership that Sigma Alpha Delta offers Inna was able to grow to be a confident person who knows that as long as she sets her mind to something, it can be accomplished.
The empowerment that she received from being within Sigma
Alpha Delta has not faded. Inna has new goals before her. She wants
to teach economics and do research or work in the Federal Reserve and
do research for them. She intends to go back to school in September
2009, finances permitting. She has also found a balance within her
life; retaining her social life along with her professional goals, a
task that is by no means easy to accomplish.
Inna is truly an exceptional woman, who although may seem quiet a first glance, is a one who rises to the occasion of whatever is asked of her. I believe that she shall be a wonderful professor, if that is the course she thus chooses, for she shows such passion when it comes to her work. This passion shall allow her to captivate the students, for when she puts her whole heart into things it seems as though you are hanging on her every word. Although she is still full of conviction because of her experiences, it is the ones who originally gave her the strength to succeed that are truly influencing her now, her family. They are the ones which motivate her to do better, for both herself as well as them. And despite what obstacles may arise I’m sure that she shall never give up on her dreams, until the day that they are dreams no more.
Major and Minor: Finance and Investments, Law
Active in Sigma Alpha Delta: 2007-2010
Date of Biography: 2012
Motto: Fortune favors the bold
Hosni Mubarak is one of Sigma Alpha Delta’s success stories and is a prime example of how Sigma members shape and are in turn shaped by the organization. Originally from Bangladesh, Hosni and his family immigrated to the United States in order for Hosni to obtain a much-prized Western education. Although he came from an educated family, with his maternal grandfather founding the first English speaking school in Bangladesh, Hosni’s parents never fostered an atmosphere where Hosni felt that he must compete against others academically which he feels helped him develop intellectually. He was a student athlete in high school and freely considered himself to be popular. That all changed when he came to Baruch College. He very quickly lost touch with his high school friends and felt that he didn’t fit at Baruch where the atmosphere was much more professional than it had been at his high school. Hosni became very introverted and had trouble making new friends. It was at this point that Sigma Alpha Delta came into his life.
Although at first Hosni had stayed out of student life one of the few friends he had at Baruch invited him to attend a Sigma Alpha Delta info session. There he met another Baruch acquaintance, Daniel LaMazza, who was already an active member and on a whim signed up to join his committee. Even though at first skeptical about joining, a failed get together with friends spurred him to attend the first Alumni Relations meeting. It was around this time that Sigma Alpha Delta was starting to undergo drastic changes with the fee requirement for induction being replaced by a service requirement. Following an inner voice Hosni decided to run for the position of Alumni Relations Chair, a position he won and so became a member of the Fall ’07 E-Board led by President Daniel LaMazza. As Chair of Alumni Relations Hosni branched out learning how to be a better public speaker and becoming more known around campus. It was as Chair of Alumni Relations that he was able to coordinate and host the First Sigma Alumni Social, a feat that had been tried and failed at least five times. Full of confidence from his time as Alumni Chair Hosni successful ran for and won the position of Vice President. Despite having found his time as Vice President unsatisfying Hosni’s ultimate goal became to win the presidency. However, his confidence of his future victory alienated many members of Sigma and the
E-Board. Although Hosni attempted to mend fences and drastically changed his attitude the damage had been done and he was forced to run contested, something that had never before happened in Sigma history in regards to the presidency. However, his skills as a public speaker allowed him to obtain victory thus giving him the chance to prove himself to the society.
Thus began what is known as the Golden Age of Sigma and what he recalls as one of the greatest experiences of his life to date. Under his presidency Sigma gained over 200 new members, the second Alumni Social had over 100 people in attendance, was able to set up a tour of the Stock Exchange, hosted Club Mansion, a non- profit event and many other new events. Among the constitutional changes that he and his E-Board made was the rule that a member couldn’t run for the position of President before serving on the E-Board first. Upon the completion of his term as president he was asked by the new president Yaphet Murphy to serve in an advisory capacity as Sigma Alpha Delta’s Executive Consultant, a position that he held for two years.
Today Hosni Mubarak is a Financial Analyst working at JP Morgan Investment Bank. Looking back at his experience at Baruch College and with Sigma Alpha Delta Hosni feels that there is nothing he would change about it given the opportunity. He sees everything that he has done as a learning experience and feels that he has learned a lot both from his own mistakes and other of others.
Member of Sigma Alpha Delta Since: 2008
Baruch College Date of Graduation: Spring 2008
Major: Communications and International Business Administration
Motto: “Never judge a book by its cover”
As a child, Fernanda had dreams of the future, desiring to be a flight attendant. Even though this dream did not come into fruition—a different dream took flight as she desired to grow and develop skills that would lead towards success and excellence. These skills would allow her to navigate through different professions and find a suitable niche in the business world.
Fernanda was a student in Baruch and she graduated with the class of 2008. Taking advantage of the school’s Ad-Hoc program, she had the ability to create her own major. She combined her Communications classes with International Marketing to create Communications and International Business Administration.
One of her mottos is “never judge a book by its cover.” It is true that first impressions can be misleading, a person can be quite opposite of what they initially appear to be. A second motto of hers is “treat everyone with respect.” You never know who you will bump into later on in today’s busy world, so it is always good to make new friends and sustain them. In Sigma Alpha Delta, she has made many friends. Her fellow members were all hard working individuals who acted in consistence with their beliefs. They were very inspiring to her and she feels fortunate to have met them and to have been part of the organization.
In Sigma she was part of the PR & Marketing committee. She held the title of Specialist and had aided in marketing Sigma events through Facebook and Blackboard. Being a part of Sigma helped her gain confidence, improved her social skills and opened up many networking opportunities. Participation in the vast number of events in Sigma has further developed these skills. Her participation in the organization has been an inspiring adventure, especially since she felt so welcomed and appreciated by the core membership. She appreciates the great amount of respect and dignity she received from the organization, making her whole experience a refreshing one.
Today Fernanda works in the Communications Department at the New York Stock Exchange. She has worked there for ten months as an intern. Even as an intern, she is exposed to the same work as her fellow associates that have worked there for several years, gaining the skills necessary to tackle the vigorous and tumultuous marketplace. Before this, she had interned for four months at Citigroup in their Alternative Investments Department. Citigroup was her “foot in the door” to the NYSE. She gained invaluable skills which refined her pursuit of being a consummate professional. Fernanda is an undeniable success story—a prospective member who utilized the wealth of networks and leadership opportunities prevalent within Sigma Alpha Delta. She has utilized each experience to refine herself, as an individual, professional and leader.