Rutgers MBA student Evan Gerbino

Graduating MBA student achieved goal of a new career in corporate finance

As an MBA student at Rutgers Business School, Evan Gerbino learned a lot of things, including how to tell his story during an interview. And if a career can be told in chapters, Gerbino has a great opening.

After working in sales for years – selling luxury bridal gowns to be specific – he entered the Rutgers MBA Program as a career-changer.

“I wanted to work in finance and my entire background was basically sales,” he said. “I realized no one was really going to take me seriously despite the skills I had. 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 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.”

His 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 also go through 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. While the pandemic restricted normal social activities, Gerbino set up virtual networking meetings and happy hours for the class.

MBA graduating student Evan Gerbino with finance professor Lisa Kaplowitz.
Lisa Kaplowitz, professor of professional practice in finance, poses with MBA Evan Gerbino at graduation.

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, 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. After leaving, Gerbino took a short-lived 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 his taking a job the flagship store for Pronovias, the international bridal gown designer. The other passenger was the assistant manager at Pronovias.

Rutgers MBA students Marsha Fils and Evan Gerbino celebrating at the MBA Awards Dinner.
Evan Gerbino poses with MBA student Marsha Fils. The two became close friends during their two years as classmates in the Rutgers MBA Program.

Gerbino started as a receptionist and then moved into sales and worked his way onto the 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, Gerbino 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.”

- Susan Todd

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