The Robert Toigo Foundation

September 18, 2007 10:40 ET

Toigo Foundation Launches National Campaign to Inspire Undergrads, Young Professionals to "Change the Face of Finance"

OAKLAND, Calif.--(COLLEGIATE PRESSWIRE)--Sept. 18, 2007--Committed to change the face of finance by educating young minorities about career possibilities within the field of finance, the Robert Toigo Foundation today launched a national campaign including coast-to-coast collegiate events, young professional networking forums, and a new Ready-For-Finance (http://ready-for-finance.com/) website with finance job listings, career resources, and MBA application advice.

The national outreach campaign, dubbed ToigoTalks™, is an extension of the Foundation's nearly 20-year effort to inspire and support young professionals of color as they earn their MBAs and pursue careers in finance. The Toigo network of minority professionals currently includes 600+ MBA graduates at all levels of leadership within the finance industry and hundreds of mentors, as well as 200+
sponsor firms in all areas of the finance industry.

"For too long, a career in finance has remained out of reach for many minorities. The Toigo Foundation's mission is to change that by educating today's youth and young professionals about the incredible range of career possibilities that exist within the field," said Toigo President, Nancy Sims. "With the launch of the Ready-For-Finance website, coupled with our on-campus workshops and networking events for young professionals, we hope to reach thousands of young minorities who might not otherwise have considered finance as a viable career path."

National Outreach Aimed at Educating Minorities About Finance Careers

Reaching and educating young minorities just as their career planning is taking shape is at the heart of the ToigoTalks campaign. Toigo's Fall 2007 "Careers on Wall Street" workshop schedule includes sessions at colleges and universities nationwide, each selected for their strong graduation rates and because the schools were not on the radar of most finance firms' recruiting activities.

"Students of color are more likely to pursue careers in medicine and law than business and finance. Limited role models and lack of clarity about what finance professionals do contribute to this trend. Delivering career information in-person and online -- where students know to go -- will help address that void," said Suzzette Turnbull, Director of Pre-MBA Programming at Toigo.

Today, minority MBAs represent only 6% to 7% of students enrolled in the nation's top 30 programs, compared with 12% and 13% at top law and medical schools, respectively.(a) In a recent poll of Toigo alums of Hispanic descent, two-thirds indicated they had either no interaction or limited interaction with a business role model while growing up.

Reaching Students, Young Professionals Online

A core component of the Toigo Foundation's outreach efforts is online, in order to deliver the message to the web-savvy next generation of business leaders. The new site's features include:

-- Job Bank featuring full-time, summer and academic internships at finance firms nationwide

-- Career Coaches providing weekly advice and Q&As for undergraduates starting their career and for young professionals navigating the early years in the workforce

-- Ask the Expert monthly webinar series currently sponsored by JPMorgan Chase provides in-depth advice on topics ranging from securing a job on Wall Street to learning how to navigate the industry

-- Career Map helps identify potential finance career paths based on the student or young professional's personality strengths

-- Resources and tips on resume writing, interviewing, salary negotiation, finance industry careers, the MBA application process, grants and fellowships

The Foundation is currently seeking funding to underwrite a Spanish-language version of its Ready-For-Finance website.

Supporting Young Professionals on Wall Street

In addition to its undergraduate outreach, this week marks Toigo's first "MBA Catapult: Launch Your Finance Career" event for young professionals considering applying for an MBA and pursuing a career in finance. Held at NASDAQ headquarters in New York on September 20th, the event will feature representatives from top Wall Street firms, MBA programs and student testing and funding organizations. More than 200 pre-MBAs are scheduled to attend.

"Finance firms want to employ a workforce that reflects the markets they serve -- but to date, talented minorities within the field of finance have been in short supply," noted Sims. "We are looking forward to partnering with finance firms as part of our ToigoTalks outreach efforts to undergraduates and young professionals, just as we have in the MBA graduate arena for the past 18 years," noted Sims.

About The Robert Toigo Foundation

Based in Oakland, Calif., the Robert Toigo Foundation (www.toigofoundation.org) is the premier organization supporting the ongoing advancement of exceptional minority MBA students and graduates committed to careers in finance. The Foundation provides merit-based awards, leadership training, life-long career services, mentoring and coaching to minority MBA students and graduates. Through its ToigoTalks™ initiatives, Toigo's outreach extends to college undergraduates and young professionals in an effort to expand the talent pool, or pipeline, of young professionals committed to careers in finance. Toigo's current alumni network of minority professionals numbers 600 strong working in all areas of finance and all levels of leadership. As a partner to industry, the Foundation publishes thought leadership surveys and reports, and hosts forums to promote a more productive and inclusive workplace environment where all talented
professionals can thrive.

(a) Source: BusinessWeek, "B-School Boot Camp for Minorities" - June 2006