Last semester, Patricia David, Managing Director and Global Head of Diversity for JP Morgan Chase, spoke at BMCC’s annual Leadership Breakfast series, sponsored by BMCC’s Urban Male Leadership Academy.
Business Management major Eric Petty-Owens decided to attend…
When it began
Five years ago, Petty-Owens was sitting inside a bank’s waiting area, flipping through a business magazine.
“An article about the wealthiest people in America caught my eye,” he recalls. “I then researched hedge funds and finance education to better understand money management and investing. I wanted to learn more—especially what types of finance jobs are out there for people without a 4-year degree.”
Petty-Owens enrolled at BMCC in 2006, taking advantage of every career-oriented opportunity available. He participated in an Entrepreneur Summit, the Baruch Bridge program, in which students prepare for transfer into CUNY Baruch, and the Goldman Sachs Leadership Program.
He even earned his Series 7, a certification that provides an individual with the qualifications necessary to make different types of trades with all types of corporate securities, excluding commodities and futures.
“Although my Series 7 has expired, preparing for it taught me so much about investing,” explains Petty-Owens.
Ask the right questions
When Patricia David spoke at BMCC, Petty-Owens made sure to ask her questions, letting her know he was interested in finance education, the psychology of money, and money management.
“When you have the opportunity to speak to someone after a speech, don’t ask, ‘What can you do for me?’” advises Petty-Owens.
“Instead, ask ‘What made a difference in your career?’ I was the last one to speak with Ms. David that day at BMCC. I asked her ‘What was the best advice you ever received from a finance mentor?’ Instead of making it all about me, I made it a question about her.”
Patricia David made an impression on Petty-Owens, who, at that time, was already interested in a long-term financial career. “She presented us with an opportunity that some people didn’t take advantage of—and that was to stay in touch with her.”
All about networking
“I emailed Ms. David a ‘Thank You,’” says Petty-Owens. “She wrote back, and we started a rapport.”
After the Leadership Luncheon, Petty-Owens learned that Chase was holding an Open House—a meet-and-greet for those interested in working for JP Morgan Chase.
Eleanor Lee, an advisor in the Center for Career Development, screened his resume before granting him approval to attend the Open House.
“We tailored my resume to fit the position of a personal banker,” says Petty-Owens.
Petty-Owens “made it a priority” to come early to the Chase Open House, especially since Patricia David would be speaking.
“You always want to come early to these events, to analyze the room, environment, and feel out the situation,” he says.
Not only did David recognize Petty-Owens in the front row of audience, but she acknowledged him.
Petty-Owens also wore a suit to the Open House. “You’ve got to look the part, especially in banking,” he rationalizes.
And, of, course, you’ve got to have people skills, he says.
“I’ve always been a good conversationalist,” says Petty-Owens. “I enjoy listening to people and studying human behavior.”
Working his strong communication skills, Petty-Owens met a Chase employee at the Open House who was impressed with his credentials.
“She gave me the name of someone I should send my resume to,” he recalls.
“Always a good sign.”
Shortly afterwards, Petty-Owens landed an interview with a Chase Branch Manager.
Keeping Patricia David in the loop, after his second interview with a District Manager, Petty-Owens was offered a job as a personal banker in Canarsie, Brooklyn.
“A personal banker is someone you can count on to help you with finances if you have an account with Chase,” explains Petty-Owens. “Interacting with customers is a huge part of my job.”
“Eric had a sense of confidence in him that was refreshing. He had the courage to go beyond having a safe conversation about my career and began discussing his career path and how my experience can help him achieve his goals, which I appreciated and valued,” recalls Patricia David, who is still in touch with Petty-Owens. “This made me want to help him even more.”
Petty-Owens, who still takes classes at BMCC and hopes to graduate in 2013, also views business professors Joel Evans and Carmen Martinez-Lopez, as mentors. “They genuinely want to help their students succeed.”
“Some people underestimate BMCC’s academic and business connections—and they shouldn’t,” says Petty-Owens. “Don’t lock yourself off to the resources BMCC has to offer.”
He also advises students to be, “both social and academic.”
“In other words, you have to know what you can handle and what you can’t handle,” he says. “For now, my focus is working full time at Chase bank and attending classes because I want to learn a variety of subjects at BMCC.”