Graduates increasingly seize out-of-state career opportunities.

As the doors open to job opportunities outside the South Florida area, many students with undergraduate and graduate degrees from the College of Business are increasingly ready to pack their bags and head to other locales to achieve career goals or to take advantage of attractive job offers.

According to Barry Shiflett, executive director, Bank of America Career Management Services (CMS), one of CMS’ key objectives is to partner with employers both in and outside of the South Florida area who are interested in recruiting Florida International University (FIU) business students for internships or permanent positions.

“We want to make the College of Business their first choice for hiring,” he said. “We are doing this through active participation in organizations such as the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA)”

Shiflett reports that more than 60 graduate students attended the 23rd Annual NSHMBA conference and Career Expo held in early October in Orlando, Florida.

“Our students got the chance to interview with representatives from companies that are not Florida based, such as IBM, Ford Motor Company and Procter and Gamble.”

Career Management Services stays attuned to students’ interests and values.

“We are committed to helping our students gain the knowledge, skills and savvy needed to be competitive in today’s challenging job market,” Shiflett said.

Myriad factors come into play to align a student’s goals with the right job opportunities.

“Many students are willing to go where the jobs are,” he said. “But decisions are based on work and personal value systems that cover a range of considerations—from family commitments to salary, training and development opportunities that come with making a move out of state.”

CMS’ impact proven by student and alumni successes.

Here’s a sampling of current and soon-to-be alumni who are finding compelling advantages for career advancement and satisfaction outside South Florida. They credit their experiences in the College of Business with preparing them academically, and CMS with helping pave the way to securing a job.

Matthew Fong Choy finds much to like in Chicago, Illinois.

Matthew Fong Choy (BAA ’11), who completed a double major in accounting and finance, isn’t the only FIU grad who saw the appeal of Chicago, Illinois, when he accepted a position as audit staff/assistant at the Deloitte & Touche office in the Windy City.

“The cost of living in Chicago is very low based on comparable cities,” he said. “I have been involved with the FIU alumni chapter in Chicago and also have a few friends who are now working in the same office as I do.”

Matthew Fong Choy
Matthew Fong Choy

Choy recognizes the role CMS played in helping him secure the job.

“Mock interviews and the CMS website were great tools that helped me connect with recruiters,” he said.

This alumnus appreciates the perks of living and working in a large city—and the value of his education.

“Chicago has a lot to offer for young professionals—from great networking opportunities to nightlife and recreational activities,” said Choy, a native of Miami, Florida. “I also have found that the accounting program at FIU is very highly regarded and in many aspects is more detailed than many other programs in the United States.”

Martin Fernandez Kantis increases skills in Hartford, Connecticut.

Martin Fernandez Kantis (MBA ’07), financial and analysis director, United Technologies Corporation-Climate, Controls & Security, only considered Connecticut “a small state between two big cities—New York City and Boston” before his arrival in Hartford in 2008, when he took his first job with United Technologies-Hamilton Sundstrand. This FIU grad, who hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina, then made the move to the company’s Boston offices in 2011.

“I was looking for new opportunities in Fortune 100 companies and, and after a successful 2007 NSHMBA conference, I landed a position at the corporation’s headquarters,” he said. “By mid-2011, I was offered a chance to move to Massachusetts to continue my growth and development while expanding my role.”

Martin Fernandez Kantis

Fernandez Kantis is responsible for the financial planning and analysis for the Global Fire Suppression business at his company, a sector that generates $500M in revenue through locations in Finland, Germany, Mexico, Poland, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States.

He reports that his MBA gave him the opportunity to expand his business knowledge and develop professional skills.

“Also, I had the honor of being a member of the FIU MBA ‘dream team’ in 2007 when we won the Intercollegiate Case Competition in Florida,” he said. “Next the FIU business school and CMS sponsored us for new challenges, dedicating many resources to polish our skills. We participated at the national level in Houston, Texas and ended up ranked among the best six in the country.”

Fernandez Kantis assumes the presidency of the Boston chapter of NSHMBA in January 2013.

Daniel Ghanem learns way around Charlotte, North Carolina.

On-target student workshops conducted by CMS helped senior Daniel Ghanem win just the job he wanted in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“One of my favorites was the ‘How to Ace Your Banking Interview’ workshop, which prepared me for my interview with Bank of America Corporation,” this honors student said. “When I graduate in May 2013 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance, I’ll be working at Bank of America’s corporate headquarters in Charlotte, starting my career in the banking and financial services industry.”

Daniel Ghanem

Ghanem will be part of the corporation’s Finance Management Associate Program, a two-year rotational program across finance functions. He found the position through job postings on the CMS website; his interview with Bank of America was conducted right in the CMS offices.

“Resources are provided to us and it’s our duty to take full advantage of them, which has definitely paid off for me,” he said.

Born and raised in Miami, Florida, and the son of Lebanese parents, Ghanem is eager is explore the Charlotte area more. He got to know the city spending a summer internship with Bank of America.

“I’m looking forward to living on my own for the first time as well as all the great experiences with moving to a new city,” he said. “There are quite a few FIU alumni already working with Bank of America in Charlotte.”

FIU’s College of Business prepared him for success, Ghanem believes, including his service on the executive board of ALPHA FIU.

“The professors did a great job of transferring what we learned in class into real-life examples,” he said.

Cristel Gomez about to arrive in New York, New York.

Moving to New York City can be daunting and Cristel Gomez (BBA ’12) is glad there will be some familiar faces around.

“I have been able to meet FIU alumni through students and friends who are either moving up there or are already working there,” she said. “I want to meet new people, and experience and learn new things but having alumni in the same city is a big advantage.”

Cristel Gomez

Gomez was drawn to New York City because of the opportunities in the technology industry. A Worlds Ahead Graduate, she received two bachelor’s degrees—one in accounting and the other in management information systems—during the 2012 Fall Commencement. Following graduation she will become a technology risk consultant with Deloitte, handling financial statement audit testing for financial systems to help support the financial audit team.

With a Nicaraguan heritage, Gomez was born and raised in Miami, Florida and is ready to take on life in the financial world of New York City.

“My FIU accounting degree is very helpful so I can understand what the financial team needs,” she said. “For students who are just MIS majors, understanding the audit portion is a challenge, but thanks to my audit class I am able to bridge that gap.”

She appreciates CMS’s role in helping her land the job, including hosting interviews on campus, conducting mock interviews and providing résumé critiques.

Andres Gutierrez takes on the Big Apple.

Wall Street. Finance. Working in the financial capital of the world. That’s what appealed to Andres Gutierrez (BACC ’11, BS ’11) about accepting a position with Deloitte & Touche in New York City this fall.

“I’m very ambitious and want to go as far as possible in my career,” this native of Colombia said. “With its competitiveness and fast pace, New York City grants me the opportunity to develop in a way that no other city can, improving my skills in accounting and finance with clients who are some of the biggest financial companies in the world.”

Andres Gutierrez

Gutierrez serves as a first-year staff member in Audit & Enterprise Risk Services within the financial services industry at Deloitte & Touche.

“I work with an engagement team auditing the financial statements of a public client,” he said. “We perform substantive testing in different balance sheet and income statement accounts.”

His education in the College of Business was essential for his entry into the financial services industry, Gutierrez said.

“My FIU Business education is the reason I’m here,” he said. “Understanding financial concepts is essential to your success in this industry and the FIU School of Accounting did a great job in this, even if I had to wake up Saturday mornings to take exams.”

CMS was especially helpful, Gutierrez added.

“Through its involvement with Beta Alpha Psi and with big companies such as Deloitte, I was able to meet the right people,” he said. “In addition, CMS helped me perfect my résumé and fine-tune my interview skills. These are essential in the recruitment process.”

Oliver Tameze-Rivas plans a move to the nation’s capital.

He was born in Cameroon in West Africa, is being educated in Miami, Florida and in the fall of 2013, Oliver Tameze-Rivas will be moving to Washington, D.C. as a first-year auditor with Deloitte & Touche.

“Our nation’s capital is full of different cultures and young professionals,” said Tameze-Rovas, who in the summer of 2013 will receive his Bachelor of Accounting degree with a minor in international business. “My business education will help me because I have been exposed to many different cultures while studying at FIU. That diversity in our school will benefit me as I work with teams from all over the world in Deloitte’s national office.”

Oliver Tameze-Rivas

Something else at FIU helped Tameze-Rivas: the benefits provided by CMS.

“Attending the career fairs played a big part in me obtaining my position,” he said, “and then the CMS workshops prepared me for the interviews.”

As a first-year auditor, Tameze-Rivas will be preparing reports and reconciling numbers prepared by clients. He will be working as a member of the engagement team that audits Fannie Mae, one of Deloitte’s biggest clients.

Alexis Zaldivar enjoys Charlotte, North Carolina.

A great job and a great city have lured Alexis Zaldivar (BACC ’11) to the Bank of America–Finance Management Associate Program in Charlotte, North Carolina—and she brings with her a high degree of confidence thanks to her FIU Business education.

“I feel that FIU Business has set me up for success,” she said. “The organizations under the College of Business are one of the reasons I feel so prepared to succeed.”

Alexis Zaldivar

Born in Miami, Florida, she is the daughter of parents born in Cuba and now looks forward to continuing to develop her career and make progress in a city that she feels “has much to offer. It feels like a smaller version of Chicago, Illinois, and offers a small city feel at the same time.”

As a finance management associate-analyst, she currently supports the Consumer Bank group.

“I am the group liaison with controller team and hold responsibility for uploading forecast and month-end results, tracking partner performance for over 200 groups through weekly and monthly sales and profitability reporting and offering finance support to affinity partners; explaining variances, key metrics, P&L impacts, and ad-hoc analytics,” she said.

Having interned the summer before taking the job, she already knew what Charlotte was like, including the presence of many alumni.

“We have a good network here in Charlotte and just recently started working on developing the alumni chapter,” she said, noting that she is serving as the group’s communications director.

CMS also played a role in her optimism.

“The résumé critique sessions were invaluable,” she said. “They really helped refine my résumé and assisted in setting it apart from others in a pile.”


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