Stillman Alumnus Hank D’Alessandro ‘85 Shares Valuable Advice

By Francis Ahmed,
Stillman News Writer

On Nov. 17, Hank D’Alessandro ’85, Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, joined the Gerald P. Buccino ’63 Center for Leadership Development to host a Resume and Interview Skills workshop. D’Alessandro began by sharing his background, then he dove right into interview tips and concluded his talk with some resume advice to keep in mind.

He often talks about the importance of prioritizing and grinding through your work. “It’s amazing how much time people waste,” D’Alessandro exclaimed in a talk to the freshmen Leadership class earlier in the year. At Seton Hall University (SHU), he studied Accounting in undergraduate school in the Stillman School of Business and went on to work for KPMG shortly after graduation. From there, he attended Cornell University for his MBA. He worked at Chase for about five years until he moved on to Morgan Stanley. Today, D’Alessandro is a highly successful Managing Director and loyal Seton Hall alumnus.

At the workshop, he started with humble beginnings. He joked about how he was impressed with the current prestige of Seton Hall students. He relayed that if seventeen-year-old Hank had to compete with current SHU students, he may not have been accepted into the school.

His advice was straightforward and thorough, promoting success in the best ways he knows. Not surprisingly, he suggests practicing communication skills to make conversations feel comfortable. One can do so by holding mock interviews with friends or signing up for one at the Career Center located in Bayley Hall. Students should think of questions to ask, dress appropriately and master the art of a proper handshake with good eye contact. In every interview, it is imperative to answer three key questions: Why that industry? Why that particular firm? Why you?

If the interviewer does not ask these questions, it is the student’s job to weave those answers into the conversation. The student could use a closing remark like, “I know you met a lot of candidates today but I just wanted to leave you with why I’m different…”

With his advice, it is evident that a student must demonstrate knowledge of the company, industry, what they want and what they have to offer. It is also a good idea to weave into the conversation any connections one may have. An example would be a relationship with an alumnus who is at that firm.

If a student has a hiccup and feels the interview not going well, D’Alessandro says to always remember that “You’re always in the fight.” Students are reminded to stay focused and do their best to steer the conversation into a positive direction. When it is all is said and done, never forget to send thank you emails.

If students want to differentiate themselves, they could send a physical thank you note. It is a small, easy touch that is memorable because it is becoming more and more rare.

In terms of the resume, keep it simple and readable. Human resources and interviewers are looking through a million resumes so it is important for students to highlight what differentiates themselves and make it easy to read. Every resume is different and everyone has a different suggestion on how to improve one. Because this is a subjective document, the guidelines for it are very general and simple: make it appealing and get the message across.

Employers want to know key things like what your positions were, when were you there and what did you do. Buzz words are good, but they are not the “make all”. Once a resume looks appealing, then someone will begin reading. If students have good experiences and easy to find information, they will retain the employer’s attention and spark interest as he or she works through it.

Throughout this process of making a resume, applying and interviewing, it is important to understand, “Attitude determines altitude. You must always be positive and professional because no one ever benefitted from being negative,” as D’Alessandro stated.

In the end, D’Alessandro made it a point to remind the students that Seton Hall is a great school that has provided everyone with the proper resources.

It is on the students to now leverage those resources by applying to their desired firms and nailing interviews with the tips he suggests.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, December 8th print edition.

Contact Francis at
francis.ahmed@student.shu.edu

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