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Bentley Group Takes Expertise to the Street
This article originally appeared in the Bentley Magazine.
Meet four people with three things in common: serious expertise in the field of finance, Manhattan business addresses, and strong ties to a certain university in Waltham, Massachusetts. Here, a trio of Bentley alumni and one current parent share the paths that brought them to the New York offices of blue-chip giant Goldman Sachs.
Finance Runs in the Family
Bentley parent Michael DeVito knew early on that he wanted to work in finance. He started his first job on Wall Street even before officially earning a college degree. The year was 1982. He stayed at that company, Salomon Brothers, for 16 years before joining Goldman Sachs.
During his 12-year tenure at Goldman, DeVito has held three very different jobs: finance officer for the Services division; member of the finance team for one of the firm’s largest real estate projects; and, currently, vice president with the Securities Management and Strategy team.
He puts it this way. “My career at Goldman can be summed up in one word: opportunity.”
The appreciation for opportunity is something that DeVito has passed along to daughter Danica. Her own interest in business and finance surfaced in high school. Attracted to Bentley by its solid reputation and cutting-edge technology – the Trading Room was a major draw – Danica enrolled as a member of the Class of 2013.
Impressed by the caliber of a Bentley education, DeVito actively promotes the school to prospective students and employers. His outreach efforts include helping to organize a daylong gathering at Goldman Sachs for current Bentley students with Wall Street aspirations. In addition, he and his wife, Madeline, are members of the Bentley Parents Committee.
A clue to DeVito’s upcoming involvement with Bentley may lie in the summer plans of his son, Michael. In July, the high school junior will arrive on campus to attend Wall Street 101 – an introductory program in finance that includes exercises in the Trading Room.
If family history repeats, observes DeVito, “It looks like our relationship with Bentley could continue beyond my daughter’s graduation.”
Crafting the Message
For Don Reed ’89, success begins and ends with communication.
“In everything I do for Goldman, and everything I’ve done in my career, communication is crucial, both internally and with clients,” says Reed, a managing director on the Prime Brokerage Sales team. He works primarily with independent hedge funds that sign on for services such as holding assets and lending money and securities.
“You need to get your point across and be persuasive without making errors, and my education at Bentley taught me how to do that. The impact on my career has been immeasurable.”
The alumnus didn’t start out in finance. A Business Communication major at Bentley, Reed graduated during a recession and headed to Europe for a year “instead of interviewing for jobs I knew I wouldn't get.”
Upon returning to the States, he launched a business that sold athletic footwear to high schools and colleges. The two years of entrepreneurship led him to a wholesale firm that bought excess inventory from manufacturers and sold the goods to discount retailers. By the mid-1990s, Reed was focused on Wall Street and pursing graduate work at the NYU Stern School of Business. He joined Goldman upon earning his MBA in 1999.
Today, Reed stays connected to his undergraduate alma mater as a donor and a member of the New York Alumni chapter – and uses his finely honed communication skills to recruit a new generation of Bentley graduates for Goldman Sachs.
Tailor-Made for Leadership
Managing Director Caroline Kitidis ’97 runs the Structured Solutions group in Goldman’s Investment Management division. In fact, she was handpicked by upper management to build and manage the group in 2006.
The team that she has led for four years creates tailored solutions and customized investments for private and institutional clients that, she says, “help protect their downside risk and enhance returns,
Kitidis has been with the company for a dozen years – nearly her entire career – working within many diverse groups to help clients manage risk and meet investment needs. She credits Bentley for fostering the skills that contributed to her success.
“Campus life offered lots of opportunities to assume a leadership role,” says the alumna, who was president of Delta Phi Epsilon sorority and a member of the Senior Class Cabinet. “Those experiences of working with and leading others prepared me well for Goldman, where we are very team oriented and careful to hear different views and consider opinions on every project.”
Her involvement with Bentley since graduation includes organizing and participating in an alumni speaker series of finance professionals. She also has worked on recruiting Bentley students for Goldman’s Summer Analyst program.
“I know firsthand how smart and hardworking Bentley students are,” Kitidis says. “I want to make sure they get the chance to see if Goldman Sachs is the right fit, and that Goldman gets the opportunity to see bright, capable top candidates from Bentley.”
Change of Fortune
Laura Farge ’02 is no stranger to change. After graduating with a BS in Marketing, she moved to London and worked for three different companies in as many years.
“It was very exciting and very varied,” she says of the positions – all in marketing – for a media buying company, a law firm, and a business that specialized in economic development.
Still, her long-range prospects in the field left Farge disenchanted. “I realized that if I wanted to seek my fortune, I needed to be in finance,” she says, noting that she had little experience in the subject beyond some classes taken at Bentley.
Undaunted, Farge combined every ounce of that knowledge with the skills she gained through her Information Technology minor, and landed an operations position in the London office of Goldman Sachs.
The next big move came in 2007, when Farge transferred to Goldman’s New York City office. As an associate in the operations department, she works to keep the worldwide company up-to-date in its processes and technology.
A commitment to her alma mater is a constant for this agent of change. She helps organize events for the New York Alumni chapter and takes pride in supporting The Bentley Fund.
“I’m at the point in my career where I can give back to Bentley,” says Farge, who encourages support by fellow alumni, whether in time or dollars. “The important thing is that you’re giving something.”
The Yawkey Foundations have recognized Bentley University’s longstanding commitment to service-learning and awarded the university $500,000 to educate students to effectively lead nonprofit organizations and expand student efforts to help community groups.