Frank Mahoney ’05
Why did you choose to attend Syracuse University?
To start my search, I relied heavily on a trusted guidance counselor to well, provide guidance. I had a basic list of wants out of a university experience such as location, athletics, size, and programs offered, but what I found most attractive about SU was the level of diversity. Growing up in a suburb of New York City, I had a very diverse group of friends and family in demographics and mindset. SU promotes the diversity of the student body and staff like no other institution I considered.
Can you tell us about some of your more memorable experiences at SU? What has proved to be the most meaningful to you about your experience?
Freshman year living on the School of Management learning community floor set the tone for my four years at SU. Our group embraced each other right away, not only in the classroom but also through activities like a rope course and social events. I still remain close with many of the guys from my floor. My freshman year roommate was the best man in my wedding.
If I had to choose one experience as the most meaningful, it would be my semester abroad. When the opportunity to spend a semester in London came I knew it was something I couldn’t pass up. It was amazing how quickly our group became assimilated to the vibrant London lifestyle. We wanted to take part in everything London had to offer—from finding our flat, learning the Tube, traveling on weekends, becoming regulars at our neighborhood pub. Classes that semester forced us to be a part of the city, not to just study there. We were granted access to institutions like Lloyds of London, the London Stock Exchange, and the Bank of England. This is where I made the decision that I wanted a career in finance.
Why did you choose to live in Chicago?
I will be the first one to admit that I had never thought about living anywhere other than New York. I grew up there, most of the people I knew lived there, and I very much identify as a New Yorker. The first year after graduating from SU, I lived with two of my best friends from Syracuse. After a while, my girlfriend (another SU alum) and I began talking what our next steps would be and we discussed what it would be like to move to a different city. She had grown up in the suburbs of Chicago and was very close to her family. We both felt like we were in a position in our careers where we would leave on high note and were prepared for the next adventure. Fortunately, I was able to transfer to a new position within the same company, which helped with the transition. We have been here for a little more than seven years, and I couldn’t imagine not making that choice. Chicago is a progressive city with everything that I love—great architecture, an incredible food scene, and an abundant mix of cultures.
Tell us about the work you’re doing now.
I am entering my tenth year working at Morgan Stanley where I am a director of business strategy within the private wealth management division. My team is made up of specialists serving the world’s most prominent executives, entrepreneurs, families, and foundations with investment advice. I am in a unique position where I can incorporate a wide range of skills from project management and problem solving to analyzing financial products and the capital markets. I recently obtained the chartered alternative investments analyst designation, which gives me a deeper understanding of the investment solutions we offer our clients.
How do you stay involved with SU now? Why do you choose to be philanthropic with Syracuse and other non-profits?
I stay involved with SU in a variety of ways—reading the Whitman magazine, meeting with alumni relations personnel, following SU on social media, and keeping in touch with friends and professors. The SU Chicago alumni club also offers networking events and game-watching parties that are always a great way to engage.
Community is something that is very important to me. Giving back to SU each year is something I continue to do in order to help foster growth for the next generation of SU-community members. In addition to supporting Syracuse, I am a board member of a charity focused on Chicago Public Schools called Pilot Light (http://pilotlightchefs.org/). Inspired by Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move, Chefs Move to Schools” campaign, our mission is empowering children to make healthier choices by strategically integrating food and nutrition education within school standards, curriculum, and culture. It has been incredibly rewarding to not only work along side dedicated members of our group but to also experience the larger impact our efforts have on the students involved.
Why should other alumni attend SU events in Chicago? How will they benefit from getting involved?
Other alumni should attend SU events in Chicago to help build the community. While living in NYC, I would run into fellow alumni on a weekly basis, where as in Chicago, that is not as common. Getting involved in Chicago events will help shape the future message and build upon the growing base of SU alums who live here.