Goldman Sachs Helps Ready Students for Careers

A room full of college-age students and business mentors sit at tables and view a projection screen
UAlbany students give a presentation to fellow students and Goldman Sachs executives in the world headquarters of Goldman Sachs in Manhattan on April 19. (Photos by Paul Miller)

New York, N.Y. (June 5, 2024) — Inside conference room 1100A of the finely appointed Goldman Sachs world headquarters in Manhattan, 28 University at Albany students, organized into eight teams, gather to present their capstone projects to a panel of high-level Goldman Sachs executives — all UAlbany alums. 

"It just felt great," says Goldman Managing Director and Partner Dean Backer '88 to the crowd on seeing the University's name listed outside the conference room. "I've done some checking and at the undergraduate level, actually, [UAlbany] is the third largest group of graduates we have here at Goldman Sachs in North America ... so everyone in this room should feel great about being here."  

The event is the culmination of a semester-long initiative called the Goldman Sachs Essential Career Readiness Institute, designed to teach students eight core competencies for a career-ready workforce (as determined by the National Association of Colleges and Employers): career and self-development, communication, critical thinking, equity, inclusion, leadership, professionalism, teamwork and technology. The Institute is open to all undergraduates from all majors. 

"My group presentation focused on helping businesses better achieve their long-term goals utilizing mental and physical health initiatives within a 5-year plan," says freshman Omokhogie Shambley, a business administration major. "Working with alums at the top of their field provided very valuable insight." 

In addition to the capstone projects, which included case studies ranging from "How Do Leaders Navigate Change?" to "Adapting to AI," the students gain insight by working closely with 18 Goldman Sachs/UAlbany alumni mentors who volunteer their time and expertise to teach resume writing, interviewing, elevator pitches and professional email communication. The students also traveled for on-site visits at the Goldman offices in Manhattan and in Cohoes, New York. 


"It was super cool," says Kayla Collins, a junior majoring in psychology. "It gave me a lot to strive for, knowing that they graduated from the same university I'm currently a student at and that they achieved such success. It was awesome to see how far UAlbany can take you."  

Lisa Fund'05, a senior vice president at Goldman Sachs, is the embodiment of how a UAlbany education can help advance one's career. "UAlbany set the foundation to allow me to have a successful career thus far," says Fund, who has been with Goldman for more than 18 years. "I have always been passionate about giving back and paying it forward. If it wasn't for the School of Business and [former assistant dean] John Levato, I would have never known about the variety of career opportunities within financial services." Fund has been instrumental in providing UAlbany students with opportunities to interact with Goldman Sachs through networking and events like the Career Readiness Institute, where they can be mentored by alums. 

"The mentorship relationship between the [Goldman Sachs] mentors and the mentees is paramount for the students developing solid career relationships, as well as their personal professional network," says Roberto Peguero, assistant director for alumni outreach and development in UAlbany's Office of Career and Professional Development, who created and leads the initiative. It's the type of experiential learning and connection to a vast and engaged alumni network that is aimed squarely at helping students "author their own success," as touted by the University's advertising and its strategic plan. 

"With Goldman Sachs as a partner, we have seen a major increase in student interest and participation, as well as the ability to do certain things we were not able to do prior to their involvement," says Noah Simon, UAlbany's director of the Office of Career and Professional Development. "We can't thank Goldman Sachs and our alumni there enough for their investment in this program." 

A line of students pose at a business meeting
Goldman Sachs Managing Director and Partner Dean Backer '88 (center holding bag) is surrounded by colleagues, also alums, who served as mentors to the students.