College of Business

CoB Alums, Students Continue to Connect


CoB Alum Jeff KowalskyJMU students know to hold the door open for other students.  This tradition does not stop at graduation, as exemplified by 2001 alumnus Jeff Kowalsky (pictured to the right) and 2011 alumnus Justin Quaglia (pictured below).  Kowalsky and Quaglia are stellar examples of JMU College of Business graduates who open a variety of doors for undergraduate students, providing countless opportunities for post-graduate success. 

Quaglia, an associate at Goldman Sachs, is one of the coordinators of the New York City Financial Industry Experiential Learning Tour, which students attend in the spring semester.  On the trip, JMU students meet high-level executives at various companies in NYC, both in informal dinner settings and more structured site trips.  Quaglia describes the trip as a benefit for students, the college, and alumni.  Students get access to networking opportunities and exposure to companies they normally would not receive, the College of Business showcases its talents, and alumni stay connected to each other and JMU.

 Kowalsky, a Senior Vice President at HSBC, participates in the NYC trip every year. He realizes how beneficial the program is to students, as he had nothing like it when he was at JMU.  As a student, he had to go to career fairs at Georgetown University and the University of Virginia to even have the chance to give his resume to Wall Street firms. Giving JMU undergraduates the opportunity to go to NYC and speak to a variety of companies provides the opportunity to have more awareness of what is available and a possible opportunity. He speaks of it as a “phenomenal networking experience I wish I had.”

CoB Alum Justin QuagliaMentor Program

Quaglia, along with two other alums, Matt Reustle (’09 – Goldman Sachs) and Jason Glass (’96 – CVC Growth Partners), coordinate a mentor program each year where they aim to find a couple of students who need an extra push, who have ambition, but not the confidence or resources necessary to achieve their career goals.  This past year, Quaglia met Jay Yang, who he says “just needed someone to lay the path out for him.”  Yang said that, “I knew I had the ambition and drive to succeed, but I didn’t really have the resources.”  The three alumni vetted Yang’s resume multiple times, spoke to him about networking tips and interviewing best practices, and helped Yang focus his career path, and eventually put him in touch with Kowalsky at HSBC.  Yang ended up with an internship at HSBC and is planning to work with them in New York upon graduation. 

Kowalsky and Quaglia both stay involved with JMU and help out current students because of the help and advice they received when they were undergraduates. Quaglia said, “I can’t tell you how many alumni help me out. They always just told me to pay it forward.” Yang plans to continue on the tradition of opening doors for students, saying, “ultimately when it comes down to it I would never be in the position I am in today if it weren’t for them, so I want to do the same for others.”

By Colleen Lyons, Communication Studies ‘16

Published: Monday, December 1, 2014

Last Updated: Monday, August 8, 2016

Back to Top

Related Articles