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SOM mentor’s ‘boot camp’ will keep aiding students

By : Greg Norman

Although Keith Castaldi’s position as a School of Management mentor ends after graduation, undergraduate students will still be able to get his job interview and résumé-building advice for years to come.

In 2008, the finance major from Massapequa Park helped create the school’s Investment Banking Boot Camp, a four-week instructional program for business job hopefuls.

“It’s a general overview of market conditions, what is expected of you  and the process from zero to 100 as to making what (skills) you have translate into a work-ready graduate,” Castaldi said.

The program meets once per week during a four-week period each semester, and is led by its creators: Castaldi, who is the president of the Finance Society club, its executive board and Upinder Dhillon, dean of the School of Management.

In the four sessions, students participate in case studies and learn interview and job-hunting advice from the Finance Society members and Dhillon. The leaders base their instruction on their own experiences working for companies and networking with alumni.

“We felt that it was important as graduating seniors having that knowledge on hand and relaying it to younger students,” said Castaldi, 22.

According to Dhillon, Castaldi’s experiences have had a direct impact on the quality of advice being offered in the program.

“He’s one of those individuals that if you tell him something about networking or getting involved with alumni, he takes it to heart and understands how to go about accomplishing his goals,” he said.

Dhillon plans to keep the program running in the future by recruiting students who have completed investment banking-related internships to share their experiences with others.

“They have to give our students an edge,” he said. “You get that edge by educating students early on.”

Castaldi became interested in business through his father, a proclaimed “stock market junkie” who would discuss his work during their leisure time.

As a freshman, Castaldi joined the Finance Society and participated in the annual Mergers and Acquisitions Case Competition, which is sponsored by BAE Systems.

For three weeks, he worked with other students to analyze Seagate Technology’s buyout of disk drive operations in 2006.

“I partnered up with a bunch of older students … who were more experienced in terms of financial modeling and what (work) needed to be put into these types of case studies,” Castaldi said. “(The material) was pretty rigorous behind course work, and I liked that hustle-and-flow environment.”

Castaldi has also acted as a teaching assistant for two SOM courses: Introduction to Finance and Computer Skills for Management.

He said that being a teaching assistant not only allowed him to gain experience instructing students, but also strengthen his own management skills.

“My motivation to TA was that I knew it was going to reinforce two critical skills: rudimentary finance practices and Excel-based application of those practices,” he said. “I knew that would be important for my career search.”

In his junior year, Castaldi interned with the Financial Sponsors Group, an investment banking division of Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He will return there for a career beginning this summer.
 

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Last Updated: 10/14/08