The mentorship Craig Henry '11 received from Anthony Castellanos '84 proved essential to Henry's academic and professional success.

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The Value of Alumni Mentorship

Aug. 13, 2014

At the KPMG offices in Midtown Manhattan, Anthony Castellanos '84 (right) congratulates Craig Henry '11 on his successful academic and career trajectory.

Craig Henry '11 was in his senior year of undergraduate studies when he met Anthony Castellanos '84—global accounts lead partner and market development  leader at KPMG, one of the largest and most respected audit, tax, and advisory firms in the world—through the Alumni Mentorship Program at the Magner Career Center.

Castellanos, who received his bachelor's degree in accounting at Brooklyn College, felt it his duty to provide mentorship to students at the college, an institution that he says gave him a solid academic foundation, and a community in which he learned important interpersonal and organizational skills.

"I feel pretty fortunate. There were a number of people at the college who went out of their way to help me when I was a student, without whom, it's likely I would not be sitting in the position I occupy today," Castellanos says. "Because of their advice and counsel, I applied for a job with the ‘Big 8' firms at the time and accepted an associate position at Price Waterhouse, where I eventually made partner in 1998, and have developed a very rewarding career now with KPMG for the past 9 years.  I think it's imperative for me to repay that by utilizing my experience to likewise guide others."

Henry, who obtained his bachelor's degree in finance and business management and accounting from Brooklyn College, and who is currently enrolled in the college's master's program in economics, demonstrated to Castellanos both academic acumen and diligence, and was able to obtain an internship with KPMG. He says the experience proved to be invaluable.

"I had the opportunity to work with a group of about 25 auditors on one of the firm's largest clients," says Henry. "I was assigned to a specific area in auditing and it was an amazing opportunity to experience firsthand what it would be like to work as first-year associate for the company."

For the past decade, the Magner Career Center has been helping students to navigate their academic and career paths. One of the ways they do that is by putting students in touch with an expansive network of alumni professionals from a broad range of industries. The center also has access to over 2,000 internship opportunities—48 percent of which are paid.

"To give our students a competitive edge, we establish lasting relationships with our alumni and utilize their expertise in helping to prepare our students for the marketplace through our Alumni Mentorship Program," says Natalia Guarin-Klein, interim director of the center. "Our alumni get to witness the caliber of our students and are reminded of the college's continuing commitment to providing access to the same affordable, quality education they received.

"These alumni also help establish a recruiting relationship between the college and their companies. Best of all, students in the program receive inside information on how to succeed at a particular company or in a particular field," she adds.

Castellanos is currently working with the Brooklyn College Foundation to establish a scholarship that will help students like Henry to achieve their academic and career goals. Henry, who will receive his master's degree this fall, recently accepted an offer from KPMG and will begin working with them in 2015.

The Brooklyn College School of Business is among the top five colleges in the nation—and number one in New York—from which black students earn bachelor's degrees in accounting.


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