When people think of Wall Street, many think of Michael Douglas’s famous Gordon Gekko Wall Street character who famously said “The point is ladies and gentlemen that greed, for lack of a better word, is good.” Recently three La Salle business alumni, Reginald Browne, ’93, Jason Rogers, MBA ’04, and Dino Dedic, ’06, collaborated on a panel discussion to give insight on these stereotypes and what it is really like to work on Wall Street and how to get there.
Browne, the Managing Director of the Exchange-traded Fund (ETF) Team for Knight Equity Markets in Jersey City, N.J., had an early curiosity in Wall Street. “My interest in finance began when I was 12, and my grandmother gave me a copy of Money magazine. She encouraged me to buy Apple (stock). I told her ‘no way.’ How wrong I was,” said Browne. “However, it sparked my interest in finance.”
While attending La Salle full-time in the evenings, Browne was also working full-time during the day, laying the foundation for his career on Wall Street. Since graduating from La Salle, he has become an ETF industry veteran and is recognized as one of the first modern ETF market makers in the industry.
For several years, Browne has been involved with La Salle’s Career and Employment Services, mentoring students on careers in finance. When the idea of a panel discussion came up, Browne was eager for the opportunity to reach as many students as possible and to assist them in their career aspirations.
“Each of our panelists experienced La Salle in very different ways, one as an evening student, another in the traditional day program, and the third in the MBA program, yet each share a common Lasallian commitment to ‘giving back,’ which is often linked to specific recollections of La Salle faculty, staff, or alumni who did the same for them,” said Steve McGonigle, ’72, MBA ’83, Executive Director of La Salle’s Career and Employer Services. “Their collective passion for doing so is what made this panel discussion come about in the first place and is why it was delivered in such a powerful, inspiring, and effective manner.”
“As an alumnus, I have a degree of responsibility to offer my gifts and talents to the school,” Browne said. “I am a direct beneficiary of the education and experience I received at La Salle. I hope hearing my experience on my path to my career in financial services will inspire students to pursue a path into the field.”
Joining Browne on “The Path to Wall Street” panel discussion were Rogers and Dedic, who work at two of the top investment banks on Wall Street. Moderated by Paul Brazina, Dean of La Salle’s School of Business, the three alums offered advice to more than 100 students about how to land the job they want.
“My opportunities have come through hard work first and foremost, but also having an eye towards meeting new people and helping others find opportunities,” Rogers said. “It was a La Salle alum, Lou Eccleston, ’83, who helped me get my first job in New York.” Rogers encouraged students to get good grades and earn the support of their professors who can open them to networks they would otherwise not have access to. “Let your professors see who you are, the type of person you are, and that you want excellence.”
Although Dedic was an Honors business student at La Salle, he reminded students that Wall Street is not just for business majors; firms recruit and hire from all disciplines. Regardless of major, he offered students insight on setting oneself apart in the job market.
“It becomes much more important to differentiate yourself from other others on your resume as well as in your demeanor. You are going to have competition out there; you already know that,” said Dedic. “I can tell you that when I first started my job, I can guarantee you that I was just as educated, and I would argue even better than a lot of my peers who went to ‘tier-one’ universities. You are just as smart and just as motivated. The difference that will help get you the job is your commitment and hard work.”