#WhitmanWatch: Faiz Khan

Around 4 p.m. on September 6, 2018 Faiz Khan walked out of an office building in New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood and into an Uber bound for LaGuardia Airport.

As soon as he sat down in the Uber, he began frantically sending thank you emails to everyone he spoke with. The car was weaving in-and-out of New York City traffic and the gravity of his experience that day overtook him. Nausea began to set in and he had to roll down the window to get some air. Khan had just finished interviewing for his dream internship in Sales & Trading at Citigroup, one of the world’s premier investment banks. For the next 24 hours, he anxiously awaited the call that would determine his future.

But, like many other students, Khan didn’t always know which industry he wanted to work in. An ambitious kid from South Brunswick, New Jersey, Khan came to Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management with an open mind and a hunger to discover his passion.

“When I came to Whitman, I knew that I wanted to take advantage of every opportunity that became available to me as soon as I stepped foot on campus,” he said.

Khan put his goal into practice during his first year by attending every career fair and networking event. On his own, he began connecting with alumni through LinkedIn, the online professional network. Every week Khan would send between 30 to 50 cold messages to Syracuse University alumni.

While talking to alumni, Khan said his biggest question was “What do you do in a day?” This helped him get a better understanding of whether he could see himself in that person’s job or industry.

During his time at Whitman, Khan became close with Professor of Practice John Petosa, the Adams house master through the Whitman School’s Goodman IMPRESS Program. Petosa advised Khan to read the news every day, so he started reading The Wall Street Journal and discovered a passion for finance.

“I was absolutely fascinated by the fact that I could take small pieces of information from around the world and weave an intricate web of knowledge,” Khan said.

The summers after Khan’s first year and sophomore year he interned at L’Oréal and General Electric in corporate finance roles. He quickly figured out that the corporate environment was too slow for him and he yearned for something more fast-paced.

Some of the most impactful Syracuse University alumni Khan has connected with are Giuseppe Castelli ’16, Matteo Nadalutti ’18 and Gary Graves ’17. Castelli, Nadalutti and Graves all interned in Sales & Trading at Citigroup, the investment bank Khan would eventually set his sights on working at. After graduation, all three started working full-time at Citigroup.

During Khan’s second semester at Syracuse University, he joined the professional business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi, where he met Graves. Khan eventually rose to become president of DSP during his junior year, which he said was the most challenging position he’s ever held.

“Immediately I was surrounded by people much older than I was with much more experience that were willing to guide me,” he added. One of those people was Graves. According to Khan, it would’ve taken him much longer to figure out what he wanted to if it weren’t for him.

Graves introduced Khan to Sales & Trading, one of the key functions of an investment bank, and he quickly realized it was the fast-paced environment he was looking for.

Once Khan determined he wanted to do Sales & Trading, he started working with Castelli, Nadalutti and Graves to prepare himself for the future interview with Citi that would land him in an Uber sending thank you emails.

Another important figure during Khan’s time at Whitman was Michael LaMarche, who served as the assistant director of career education in Whitman before becoming the director of career services, assessment and student success for all of Syracuse University. LaMarche worked closely with finance majors at Whitman and helped Khan through his decision to pursue Sales & Trading as well.

After Khan’s interview for the Sales & Trading internship Citi, his mentors — Castelli, Nadalutti and Graves — all knew he got the offer, but they couldn’t say anything. The next 24 hours Khan restlessly awaited the decision.

Early the next morning, Khan received a call from Peter Bliven, who was a managing director at Citigroup at the time. Bliven told Khan that the position was his if he wanted it. Khan said he accepted on spot and that it was “the happiest Friday.” Khan will be returning to Citi after graduation as a full-time Sales & Trading analyst.

According to Khan, if it weren’t for the knowledge passed down to him by those who came before him, he wouldn’t have been able to get where he is today. In the future, Khan plans on paying it forward and helping out up and coming students. He said he will always answer an email or call from a Syracuse University student.

“I’ve always been a big proponent of being very generous with your knowledge,” he added. “It would be a disservice to not do it.”

Daniel Strauss