Alumnus Pushes Boundaries, Broadens Student Experience through NYC Network
Jeff Lipkin, ’92, looks back on his education at Whitman — then known as the School of Management — and appreciates the solid foundation and opportunities he received as an undergraduate accounting major. He is proud to be a part of such a strong alumni network that exists both through the Whitman School and the University as a whole, but he also sees even greater opportunities to utilize this alumni base, particularly in nearby New York City, to the benefit of current Whitman students.
“Going into college, I really had no idea what I wanted to do, just the inclination that I wanted to study business,” said Lipkin, who today is the chief financial officer of Harry’s Inc., a global men’s care company based in New York City. “Syracuse put me on the right path. Leaving, I had a good sense of what I wanted to do next, and it not only changed the way I was as a person but also got me much more focused on what my career could look like.”
Experience along with his love of all things Orange, sparked a desire in Lipkin to reconnect with his alma mater over the past few years (his wife, Jayme, was also an accounting major in the Class of ’92) and use his alumni and business connections to help current students develop that same sort of career vision and opportunity.
“The ability to bring a real-world view to students is just as valuable sometimes as a classroom experience,” he said, noting that he sees a powerful model for the Whitman School where every alumnus can give back in some way, whether it be money, time or experience — all with the intention of continuing to build on the program’s success.
Lipkin is especially eager to continue leveraging the huge New York City alumni base to the benefit of Whitman students. His contributions have included coordinating networking opportunities, setting up company visits, providing career advice, opening doors to internships and job opportunities — particularly at early high-growth companies in the city — and even speaking to classes and judging entrepreneurial competitions on campus.
“The requirements for students are far different from when I came out of school,” said Lipkin. “It used to be very linear, but today employers want a much broader background, which ultimately makes for a much richer experience for our students.”
“We see that in our own company,” he added. “Harry’s is always pushing the boundaries, and those who have succeeded in our company are those who have come to us with that broader experience — they like to collaborate, innovate and improve always in anything they do. Pushing the boundaries and giving Whitman students unique and real-world opportunities through alumni connections prepares them for this kind of success.”
The benefits are not one-sided, however. “I learn a lot, too, through these experiences,” said Lipkin, noting that it’s important to him as a company leader to understand those who will soon be a part of the workforce.
Lipkin is quick to say that this idea of leveraging the alumni network is not unique to him. “There are a lot of people who graduated with me who feel the same way. We want students to continue to have the experience be as good as what we had – and even better.”
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