On December 12, Fordham University Gabelli School of Business will host a SuitUp “Battle of the Boroughs” competition, challenging high school students from all five boroughs to create a product or service that celebrates community in New York City. While the day-long competition is set to be a fun experience for the students, its larger goal is to introduce high schoolers to finance and the possibility of a career in the financial services sector, ultimately diversifying the field.
The competing Staten Island school is Integration Charter School Network.
The competition will take place from 9am – 2pm on Fordham’s Lincoln Center Campus. Final judging will take place from 1:15 – 2:00 p.m.
You can find full information below.
Fordham Foundry and SuitUp Partner in Battle of the Boroughs Competition Designed to Diversify Financial Services Talent Pipeline at the Earliest Stages
With the support of prominent financial services partners, NYC high school students will compete across the boroughs to create a product or service that celebrates community in Post-Pandemic New York City
New York, NY— On December 12, 2023, 9:00 – 2:00 p.m., hundreds of NYC high school students, from across the boroughs, will descend upon the Fordham University Gabelli School of Business, at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus. They will participate in the SuitUp “Battle of the Boroughs” competition, which will focus on diversifying the talent pipeline in the financial services sector by engaging students in an exercise that will introduce them to the world of finance, while simultaneously creating a product or service that celebrates a sense of community in New York City.
Schools that will compete include: St. Jean Baptiste High School (Manhattan), Murray Hill Academy (Manhattan), Fordham University Liberty Partnerships (Bronx), Williamsburg Charter High School (Brooklyn), South Brooklyn Community High School (Brooklyn), KIPP NYC (Bronx), Integration Charter School Network (Staten Island), and John Adams High School (Queens).
SuitUp, a nonprofit entity that strives to increase career readiness for all students through innovative business plan competitions, has partnered with the Fordham Foundry, Fordham University’s hub for innovation and entrepreneurship within the Fordham University Gabelli School of Business, a thought leader in business education for the future and in the areas of social and corporate responsibility, to encourage more students—especially those from underrepresented communities—to consider careers in financial services.
SuitUp also has enlisted corporate partners including: Allspring Global Investments, Apollo Global Management, Ares Management, Brown Brothers Harriman, Goldman Sachs, HAP Capital, Insight Partners, Santander Bank, and Global Atlantic Financial Group, whose executives will serve as coaches and judges for the contest. Students from across the City’s diverse school districts will participate in this friendly competition, designed to open their eyes to the possibilities of positive change through business.
This year, Valerie Vazquez, first deputy commissioner, NYC Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, will attend the event to watch these future business leaders develop new ideas that can help to unify the City through shared business interests. Finals judges are: Al Bartosic, executive director, Fordham Foundry; Michelle Cadore, owner & cofounder, Da Spot NYC; and Charles Zhou, Corporate & Investment Banking, Santander Bank.
The financial services talent pipeline shows a lack of representation of people of color and those who come from low socioeconomic backgrounds. In 2021, 86% of executive positions were held by white men (acc to SHRM), and Black CEOs still account for less than 2% of companies in the S&P 500 in 2023 (Forbes). Many financial services companies still lack the strategies needed to further diversity in the industry, and the talent pipeline is just not there at the collegiate level or lower.
Coached by a participating financial services sponsor, the student “CEOs” participating in the competition will develop a product or service they sense will celebrate community in Post-Pandemic New York City. Each idea must include a profit margin, a 3-year financial model, and a list of KPIs to measure success. The winning team from each borough will go “head to head” in a true battle of the boroughs final. Through the experience, financial services professionals will come together to make a commitment to furthering diversity in their industry as a whole. Students will walk away from the experience with a greater understanding of the financial services industry and the business world, as well as the confidence that they, too, can be CEOs someday.
The competition will take place on December 12, 9:00 – 2:00 p.m. in the Fordham University Law School Building. Final judging will take place from 1:15 – 2:00 p.m.
About the Fordham Foundry
The Fordham Foundry is Fordham University’ hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. The Foundry grew out of Fordham University’s effort to provide entrepreneurial students with a beyond-the-classroom support structure for their businesses. Recognizing that great business ideas don’t emerge only from business schools, the Foundry is open to students, alumni, parents, and friends of all Fordham University’s nine schools and colleges, especially those from liberal arts backgrounds.
The Foundry’s mission is to provide momentum and substance to the entrepreneurial spirit within the Fordham community by providing, mentorship, funding, community, and events. In order to stay engaged with entrepreneurial minds of Fordham’s community, the Foundry hosts weekly roundtable, with pizza of course, featuring discussions on current events in the world of entrepreneurship and presentations led by the Foundry’s ever-growing network of entrepreneurs in the field. With resources, mentorship, and community students and alumni looking to dip their toes in the waters of entrepreneurship need to look no farther than the Foundry
About the Fordham University Gabelli School of Business
Founded in 1920, the mission of the Fordham University Gabelli School of Business is to inspire and empower positive global change, developing students into compassionate business leaders and supporting faculty members and students in the ongoing generation of new knowledge. The Gabelli School has become a driver of social innovation by equipping graduates to be business leaders who understand and meet the need for sustainability in business and who are able to harness the power of social responsibility for both financial success and societal impact. Through its many graduate and undergraduate degree programs and a diverse range of faculty research initiatives, the Gabelli School of Business works collectively to redesign business as a sustainable force for prosperity.
SuitUp is a 501(c)(3) education non-profit that increases career readiness for all students through innovative business plan competitions. SuitUp’s vision is to align the incentives of schools and corporations to ensure that all students have the access and awareness to pursue the college and career of their choosing. The organization envisions a world in which all companies have a corporate executive that can call themselves a SuitUp alum. Since its founding in 2014, SuitUp has completed 600 competitions, served over 14,000 students and engaged 10,000+ corporate volunteers across the country and beyond.
All Images: SuitUp Competition banner. Image Credit – SuitUp