Alumni of the Week: Ryan Suser ’07

Ryan SuserSyracuse University was the only school I ever wanted to attend. I applied early decision, with no “backup” in mind, and checked the mail every day, crossing my fingers that I would receive the big envelope.

And I did! I enrolled in the School of Management (not, yet, Whitman) and majored in Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises (EEE). I selected EEE because it was a blend of several disciplines. Accounting, finance and marketing were all there. Plus, there was a focus on innovation and creativity that I found especially intriguing. We learned how every organization, no matter the size or the industry, could benefit from innovative thinking – could benefit from zigging, when everyone else kept zagging.

The Capstone business plan competition was definitely my favorite part of the Whitman curriculum. My team, Toyvolutionz, finished second in the 2006 competition. We had a really cool idea. We were going to deliver educational toys to parents on a subscription-based, “Netflix” (Netflix before streaming, that is), style-platform. The most popular question was, “How are you going to clean them?” Not to worry, we had several ideas.

To some extent, I think my path through business school was a little less conventional than some. I wanted to be a lawyer and I was interested in politics. I joined the New York Public Interest Research Group as a student volunteer, eventually rising to the Executive Committee for the Board of Directors. The lessons I was learning from Whitman came in handy. Of course, it made navigating the financial statements I was required to approve a breeze. But it had also prepared me for the challenges of organizational governance.  I could collaborate with a diverse team of people who all had different ideas of how to move our organization forward.

In my second year at Albany Law, I applied for a position as a summer associate at Seward & Kissel LLP, a large firm representing clients primarily in the banking and finance sector. Although most of my practical experience at SU was in a not-for-profit, I knew business from my classes at Whitman! Having that background definitely gave me a leg up. And when I got the job, I was grateful to be able to understand the finance “lingo” the senior attorneys were using.

Now, after a few years away, I am back in Syracuse as a member of Bousquet Holstein PLLC, a firm specializing in exactly what I want to specialize in – helping people and businesses in the Syracuse community. Syracuse is a dynamic, exciting place to be. There is a talented and diverse group of people who live, work and play here. The excitement in the air is palpable…this town is changing for the better and I am thrilled to be a part of that change.

To me, Whitman’s best attribute is its ability to prepare students for so much more than business. Yes, I learned about business, but I also learned about leadership, innovation and giving back. And I’ll always be grateful. Thanks, Whitman!

Ryan Suser
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