It is a tough time in financial services. Wall Street is still hiring, but competition is increasing, and salaries are decreasing. Jim suggests that students need to think about jobs in finance elsewhere or even in other industries. In this economy, more customers are moving to local banking because of their discomfort with the larger firms. In investment banking, there is a tremendous variety of smaller companies that can offer students interesting career opportunities with hands-on experience. Students will have to work a little harder to find and sell themselves to these smaller companies by focusing their pitch and working one-on-one with the company representatives. Jim thinks the salaries at these smaller companies are reasonable given the cost of living in the location of the smaller companies and will have more opportunities to move up in the company. However, students should think about their long-term career path, because, realistically, large firms are going to be looking for new MBA graduates, not people coming from these smaller companies.
Mr. Byrnes is a 1963 graduate of Cornell University and received his MBA from there in 1964. He served as an Army infantry officer from ’64-’66 and has worked in banking since then, including positions at Citibank and Bank of Montreal.
Jim is a past Chairman of New York Bankers Association and is currently the Chairman of Tompkins Financial Corporation, a holding company with over $2 billion in assets.
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