Please introduce yourself, the year you graduated, and what was your major when you graduated?
My name is Kenny Hernandez and I graduated from Syracuse University in 2010 from the Martin J. Whitman School of Management, majoring in finance. I was born and raised in Manhattan and grew up as the youngest of five boys in a single parent household. I am the first in my immediate family to receive a Bachelor’s degree.
What was your Syracuse University experience like when you attended?
My Syracuse University experience was everything that I could have asked for when I decided to pursue my undergraduate degree there. I was able to not only make life long bonds with Syracuse University staff and students, but also develop my leadership skills in the various student groups I was a part of. During my time at SU I was a proud brother of Lambda Sigma Upsilon Latino Fraternity Incorporated, I was on the executive board of the NALFO Greek Council, a member of the RAICES Dance Troupe, and a member of Student Leadership Institute. I was also awarded the Irma Almirall-Padamsee La Fuerza Community Enhancement Award, serving as recognition for my work in the Syracuse community and the Syracuse University campus.
During my time at SU I did my best to be an active member of the campus and community. I was always willing to lend a helping hand wherever needed and I tried to attend as many student-run events as possible to not only support my friends who organized those events, but to also to make the most out of time at Syracuse. Nevertheless, I had to make sure I struck an appropriate balance maintaining an active social/extracurricular life while still excelling academically. I interned at JP Morgan Chase & Co. within the Investment Bank for two summers before accepting a full-time offer in the fall of my senior year.
What did you do post-SU?
Since graduating from SU, I have been working full-time as an Account Manager in JP Morgan’s Prime Brokerage Group. I am responsible for managing the firm’s relationship with my deck of multi-billion dollar hedge fund clients. I also frequently go back up to Syracuse University to help with JP Morgan’s recruiting effort at SU. However, this summer I will be leaving JP Morgan to pursue my MBA at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
When I entered the workforce, I was committed to continuing my community involvement and subsequently became a mentor for New York Needs You, a highly selective, New York based fellowship program that seeks to pair high-achieving first generation college students with young professionals in a myriad of industries to help bridge the gap between the fellows and their peers who have parents who have college degrees. I also became the alumni adviser for my fraternity’s chapter at Syracuse University to provide support and guidance to the undergraduate members of the fraternity. I am also a Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) MBA Prep Fellow, which has been very instrumental in my pursuit of an MBA. MLT is the premier career development institution that equips high potential African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans with the key ingredients that unlock their potential. Through these extracurricular activities, I have been able to really develop my career goals and develop an action plan to be able to set myself on the best path to accomplish these goals.
What’s the best advice you would give to current students?
My advice to current students is simple: be the best you that you can be. Don’t let anyone tell you who you are or set limits to what you can do. You know yourself and what you are capable of. We too easily let others distract us from our personal goals and often let these distractions become barriers to our personal success. Do not let money drive you (great advice coming from the finance guy right?). Follow a career path that is in line with your passions and interest because you will be excited to come to work and grow professionally. This combination is essential to attain a high level of success in whatever industry piques your interest. And when you are a high performer in your industry, the money will come so don’t be in a rush to chase money in your young careers.
Through it all, don’t forget to have fun. Life is short and your time will be better spent if you are enjoying your life instead of being a Debbie Downer. Surround yourself with people who complement you and make you better. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh and whom you genuinely like to be around. Never settle for anything less than what you deserve and each of you deserve GREATNESS.
What do you think about LANSU Scholarship?
I think the LANSU Scholarship is a great way to bring Latino SU undergraduates and alumni closer and really affect change in the Syracuse community. It is a way for alumni to really pay it forward and help the next generation at Syracuse University students. It is a great gesture showing that alumni are committed to helping every undergraduate attain the success they are all capable of attaining. There are many Latino alumni scattered all across the globe and it is a great initiative to make us one strong, united force.