Within the Two-Year Full-Time MBA program, Cornell Johnson offers students the opportunity to manage the school’s endowment, a powerful real-world experience that Joel Falcon found invaluable to his future career in private wealth management. In this edition of Real Humans: Alumni, Falcon describes how his desire to become a financier fueled his education at Cornell Johnson.
Joel Falcon, Cornell Johnson MBA ’22, Banker, Senior Associate at J.P. Morgan Private Bank
Hometown: New York, NY
Undergraduate Institution and Major: City College of New York-CUNY; Major: Psychology
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year and Concentration (if applicable): Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Concentration: Investment Research and Asset Management
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 4.5 Years in the College Access Counseling & Non-Profit Industry
Post-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 7 Months, Private Wealth Management (JP Morgan Private Bank)
Why did you choose to attend business school?
I chose to attend business school because during my time as a college access counselor, my passion for finance and financial literacy education grew. I wanted to build a stronger financial knowledge in investments to merge that with my career in education. After discussing it with friends, family, and colleagues, I found out that my best option was to apply and attend business school.
Why Johnson? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
The reason why I chose Johnson was because of their Investment Research and Asset Management Immersion, small class size, and the strength and support of the Johnson Network. I remember going to many MBA events and always ending up at the Johnson table with current students and alumni willing to support me and give me advice during the application process. Johnson students’ passion for impact and giving back to the community was also big factor in choosing the school.
What about your MBA experience prepared you for your current career?
I would say being an Analyst and then Portfolio Manager for the Cayuga Fund prepared me for my current career. In the Cayuga Fund, we are managing live money from our endowment, and the same process that we use for selecting investments and producing reports for our quarterly and annual meetings are in tune with the research and reporting I currently do in my job today.
What was your internship during business school? How did that inform your post-MBA career choice?
My internship during business school was at Citi’s Consumer Banking Summer Associate Program, working in the Global Marketing Team focused on Sponsorships & Entertainment, Arts & Culture, and Global Experiential Properties. I got to work on multiple projects supporting many of Citi’s marketing sponsorships, and it gave me an inside look at understanding marketing for clients, which is a skill I was able to transfer in my role in Private Wealth Management.
Why did you choose your current company?
What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to work? I chose to work at JPMorgan because of their strong commitment to Diversity & Inclusion, brand excellence as the World’s #1 Private Bank, and their collegiate culture of teamwork and support in Private Wealth Management.
How has COVID impacted your industry/career plans?
I don’t think COVID directly impacted my career plans. Private Wealth Management is considered a niche industry in Finance when compared to Investment Banking, Venture Capital, Private Equity & Equity Research, but you must be a mini expert in all things Finance, as clients want to know about markets and how to access and invest in them.
Advice to current MBA students:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of the job search?
One thing I would do absolutely do again as part of my job search is to continuously practice your pitch, review interview questions and always stay on top of the markets with quick research bullet points. Always be ready to give your opinion on the markets as it is a skillset in interviews and industry as well.
–One thing you would change or do differently?
One thing I would do differently is stay in touch with friends during the admission process that may have decided to enroll in a different program. Continuing to diversify your network is an excellent way to gain different perspectives on experiences and possible opportunities that you may not be immediately aware of.
–Were there any surprises regarding your current employer’s recruiting process?
Although one may feel that financial knowledge is the only thing required to work in Finance, being personable and authentic are skills that are just as important as you want to build trust with your colleagues and clients.
–What piece of advice do you wish you had been given during your MBA?
Be open to trying something different. Say hi to someone new and take the opportunity to travel if you can. Not all learning is done just in the classroom in the MBA program.