“I wanted to work in finance and my entire background was basically sales. I realized no one was really going to take me seriously despite the skills I had,” Gerbino said. “I thought it was necessary to get an MBA to back up the fact that I had the capability to work in a finance job.”
During the two-year program that coincided with a history-making pandemic, he demonstrated a knack for resourcefulness and emerged as a class leader.
He said his advanced financial management class with Professor Lisa Kaplowitz reinforced his ambition to work in finance, and his work with the Office of Career Management (and “a lot” of interviews) helped him to refine the skills he needed to compete for corporate finance jobs.
“I know how to story tell, and I was already pretty good at interviewing,” Gerbino said. “What I didn’t understand was the kind of story I should be telling.”
The ability to frame his story led to a summer internship and then a full-time job. “It’s the reason I was able to get my foot in the door,” he said.
In June, Gerbino will begin working full-time as a senior financial analyst at Quest Diagnostics. He will be part of the company’s Financial Leadership Development Program.
Dean Vera, assistant dean of graduate career management, considers Gerbino an “extreme career changer.” Gerbino engaged immediately with the Office of Career Management, Vera said.
What made Gerbino stand out, Vera said, wasn’t only his academic performance and determination, but also his willingness to help others. When the pandemic restricted normal social activities, Gerbino set up virtual networking meetings and happy hours for the class.
Those traits were also recognized by others. Among other awards, Gerbino received the dean’s Distinguished Leadership Award. The award is given annually to one graduate student and an undergraduate student from each of the school’s campuses in Newark and New Brunswick. As one of the 2022 recipients, Gerbino becomes part of the school’s history: His name will be engraved on the Rutgers Business School bell, which is used at convocation and displayed at other formal ceremonies.
Gerbino’s undergraduate education at the U.S. Naval Academy ended abruptly with shoulder injuries after three and a half years. He quickly took a full-time job as a conference services associate. Then one day, he was traveling to work on the train when he struck up a conversation with another passenger that led to a job at the flagship store for Pronovias, the international bridal gown designer. The other passenger was the assistant manager at Pronovias.
Gerbino started as a receptionist and moved into sales before working his way onto the Pronovias management team. Meanwhile, he finished his undergraduate degree at Thomas Edison State University.
At Rutgers, he pursued a concentration in finance and entrepreneurship. During his internship at Quest, he led a team of finance, sales, and IT employees on a project to build a better account tracking system. The move to a cleaner, more automated system ended up saving the company 3,000 man-hours a year, he said.
He continued working for Quest part-time during his second year of MBA studies. Now, he’s ready to demonstrate more of what he can do. “I’m excited,” he said. “It wasn’t easy trying to apply for finance jobs with a bridal gown background and trying to convince people I do numbers.”
SOURCE Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick