Finding Their Way in the World
“I believe Susquehanna really challenges students to step outside of their comfort zones. Even though I studied business and communications, the Central Curriculum requirements led me to take classes I probably would have never signed up for voluntarily,” says Chan. “For instance, Faith & Values really emphasized ethics and challenged me to evaluate the positives and negatives of any situation. I was encouraged to think from the perspective of the antithesis and challenged to create solutions that would result in the best possibilities for all parties involved. This level of critical thinking is crucial in business, especially if an individual is provided with opportunities that will impact people.”
ANNE STANKIEWICZ SHIRE '06 ECHOES THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS SOLID LIBERAL ARTS FOUNDATION.
Shire, a summa cum laude graduate who double majored in business administration and economics, spent the first six years of her career with Goldman Sachs, where she began as a financial analyst and worked her way up to vice president in the Client Services Division of Goldman Sachs’ Prime Brokerage Group in New York City. She was the relationship manager for 30 hedge fund clients, who managed as much as $10 billion worth of assets.
Last summer, Shire decided it was time for a change and moved with her husband to Chicago to become a hedge fund consultant in the Financial Advisory Practice at Ernst & Young, where she focuses on improving the performance of managers of alternative assets, such as hedge funds. It’s a long way from her hometown of Erie, Pa., and a journey that wouldn’t have been possible if not for the breadth of Susquehanna’s curriculum.
“I’m currently in a project management position. Having never done something like this, it was certainly challenging at the start. Coming into a complex, long-term project, working with two new companies I had not worked with in the past, and having to get up to speed very quickly was difficult initially,” says Shire. “But the experience I gained at Susquehanna was extremely helpful. It provided me with a framework of organization, ease of working as a team, and a strong work ethic, all of which have allowed me to succeed and add value to my clients’ businesses."
PAUSING AT HIS WINDOW FOR A FINAL MOMENT OF REFLECTION, STROUP CONSIDERS HOW SUSQUEHANNA PREPARED HIM FOR HIS ATYPICAL JOURNEY.
“Honestly, I don’t really know how I got from there to here,” he says with a laugh. “I think what it comes down to are the many opportunities and experiences that Susquehanna offered me, which prepared me to make a lot of scary decisions with the confidence that I would succeed.”
For instance, Stroup’s first job after college required him to move to Chicago, where he lived for a year before accepting a job with Zurich in Los Angeles. After working as a mid-size casualty and large-property underwriter there for two years, Zurich offered him a promotion that required him to move to Pittsburgh and develop a market for the insurance products with which he had experience. And that’s where he remained for two more years before Zurich came calling again, asking him if he would like to move to Dubai.
So far, living and working there has been terrific, he says. He’s engaged now, and while he and his fiancée are enjoying the experience, Stroup says Dubai isn’t their final stop. They’d eventually like to move back to the United States and establish a more permanent residence. In the meantime, Stroup remains open to whatever new opportunities may come his way.
“Every time I left for a new city, whether it was Chicago or Los Angeles, it was a scary moment for me. And the thought of living as far away as Dubai was downright frightening,” recalls Stroup. “Looking back, it’s really clear to me that you can always undo or correct the path you take. But you don’t get a second chance to say yes to decisions you didn’t make in the past. Susquehanna laid the groundwork for making those decisions possible.”
Nick DiUlio is a contributing writer from Medford, N.J.