Merrill Lynch VP offers expertise to students


Kurt Stein climbed to the pinnacle of Wall Street and claimed the position of Merrill Lynch vice president six years ago. Now, he said he is thankful for his lot in life, and he's reaching back down to help students climb.

"I want to give back to students. It's fun to give back," Stein said during a meeting Tuesday in the Janice H. Levin Building on Livingston campus where he met students interested in signing up for a networking program, J-Biz: The Career Network for Jews at Rutgers.

During the meeting, Stein highly recommended a career in stock brokerage, but also cautioned that starting too early is like hitting the brakes.

"Start when you're 30," he said. "If you start younger, no one is going to take you seriously."

But then, he said, upon reaching the age condition, the students should call everyone and start doing business.

He also said he thinks people in their 20s should take it easy, especially because the economy is churning slowly now.

"Do things when you're young that you're sure of," he said. "When you're young, there's no need to go crazy on Wall Street."

He also noted that Wall Street is a place where everything is unsure, even for rich folks.

"It's not a risk-free environment out there," he said, adding he knows a Bear Sterns employee who lost everything he had after the subprime mortgage crisis that shook Wall Street.

Although he warned students about the perils of life on Wall Street, Kurt said he is helping J-biz throughout the semester and will set up meetings for the students with people who have successful business careers.

J-biz originated this semester with a group of interested students at the University, and their collaboration with Rutgers Jewish Experience. 

"This is a brand-new organization," said Amy Leshner, a Rutgers College senior. "We're helping students get internships in fields of business."

In addition, J-biz hopes to offer internships to students in the pre-medicine field. But since this is the organization's first semester at the University, the students decided to take it one step at a time, Leshner said.

"We have to start somewhere," Leshner said.

Although J-biz is a networking tool, it also links together career goals with Judaism, Leshner said.

 "It's a really good way to integrate Jewish learning with my career goals," Leshner said.

The program will go on for the duration of the semester, and at the end, students will be placed into internships, Leshner said.


Michelle Walbaum

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