Networking Nets Opportunity
Conversations with the right connections helped Gabriele Petagine ’23 land a job at Goldman Sachs.
A resourceful person will find creative ways to solve problems and overcome obstacles. When that person is provided guidance and direction, they find a job at Goldman Sachs solving problems and overcoming obstacles.
That was Gabriele Petagine’s experience at Stevens. A 2023 graduate with his master’s in finance, he came to Hoboken in September 2022 as part of a dual degree program with Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale in his native Italy. This past August, he began his professional journey as a settlement analyst in the Global Banking and Markets division at Goldman Sachs.
“I work very close to the trading desk,” he explained. “We have large institutional clients that trade every day, and what my team and I do is make sure that each specific trade is effectively settled within the time range. In doing this we have to make sure that commission, trade taxes and any other trade economics are effectively aligned between the company and the client.”
While his classroom experience taught him “teamwork and a structured and complete way to approach a problem” that he uses daily, it was his effort away from his coursework that proved just as valuable. Like most 20-somethings, Gabriele did not have an exact plan about where to apply his skills, particularly in such a wide-ranging industry as finance, and like any good problem solver, he sought the advice of an expert.
In this case, it was Dr. Emmanuel Hatzakis, the director of the finance and financial engineering programs at the Stevens School of Business. Dr. Hatzakis was able to use his vast professional network to connect Gabriele to individuals from across the financial spectrum.
“Professor Hatzakis was a mentor for me,” he said. “I was not so sure about whether to have a career in the United States or Europe, and we spent a lot of time in his office talking about my career expectations and talking about what specific part of the financial industry I was interested in. Using his experience in the financial industry, he would send my LinkedIn profile to contacts, and we would set up a time to speak. Many of the people who he reached out to for me were very honest with me, and it was really helpful because it helped clear my mind. Sometimes I had a specific idea about an industry, and that idea was completely changed or was confirmed after I had the opportunity to talk to someone.
“I figured out that working in a sales-related job was not for me because I didn't have the right skills or the right demeanor,” he continued. “Thanks to that networking opportunity I was able to filter out some jobs that, of course, are good jobs, but just not for me.”
Hatzakis is quick to share the credit. While he opened doors, Gabriele took it upon himself to walk through them.
“It’s not a coincidence,” Hatzakis said of Gabriele’s early success. “It’s the result of effective use of networking. I did my part with introductions, but the credit rests mostly with him. He demonstrated true professionalism and tenacity by following up promptly with all of them.”
And while his current position was not the direct result of one of his conversations, the sessions affected his ability to make an impression during the hiring process.
“I didn’t have a lot of relatable job experience before joining Goldman,” Gabriele said. “But interacting with people from the industry and different backgrounds, I was able to learn the lingo and how to speak with someone in a professional environment.”
Mentorship and networking opportunities are not the only advantages Stevens provided Gabriele during his job search. The Corporate Outreach & Professional Advancement (COPA) Office is a School of Business-specific department that helps undergraduate and graduate students with resumes, advice, internship and job leads, interview preparation and career development opportunities.
“COPA was very useful in giving me the broader picture of the world of work,” he said. “Sara (Drishti) also helped me craft my resume in a professional way. Spending time with her, receiving her feedback on my resume and getting advice on how to look for a job was absolutely useful. They are experts in this field, and a lot of hard work paid off.”
The hallmark of a resourceful person is not discounting anything, or in Gabriele’s case, anyone who can provide insight and expertise.
“Try to have different conversations with different kinds of people,” he said. “Whether it’s professors, students or personal connections, everyone has a different point of view. Everyone can be helpful.”