Multi-faceted business education leads to a career in investor relations

As managing director of investor relations and business development at WestCap, a private equity growth technology startup, Jennifer Wilcox (née Ricciardi) draws on her graduate studies in economics at Fordham to create strategic partnerships with its customers.

“What I love most about my role is educating people,” says Wilcox, who earned a master’s degree from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 2005. “I take concepts from very complicated investments and I make them understandable for our investors, by educating on our strategies, our perspectives on the markets and the impact of the markets on our sector and our investments.

Fordham’s impact at every stage of the career path

After earning a bachelor’s degree in economics and Spanish studies from Fordham College at Rose Hill in 1997, Wilcox joined the Federal Reserve Bank of New York as an analyst – an opportunity she seized when a Fed recruiter went to campus. In 2000, she landed another job at a Fordham event, this time as an analyst in Societe Generale’s investment banking unit, Cowen, thanks to an alumni networking night.

Two years later, Wilcox took stock of his career options, feeling somewhat conflicted over whether to stay on the finance side or focus on economic policy. She contacted one of her old Fordham teachers, Darryl McLeod, Ph.D., to ask about the master’s program in economics, and he encouraged her to apply. At the same time, Wilcox also started a job at a hedge fund, Ore Hill Partners. While working full-time as an analyst, she completed her education at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, supplementing her economics coursework with finance electives at Fordham’s Gabelli School of Business.

This combination set the stage for Wilcox to move into investor relations, a role that requires a deep understanding of investment strategies and a high degree of marketing skills. In 2009, she obtained such a position at GSO Capital Partners (now Blackstone Credit), the credit investment arm of the Blackstone Group.

“I knew about marketing and investor relations because I worked at a hedge fund on the investment side,” says Wilcox, “but Blackstone recruited me because they liked my financial experience and I could talk to investors about investments. that the company was doing in an educated way.

“The theoretical courses that I took throughout my master’s degree provided a solid foundation for understanding the drivers of markets from a macro perspective and the decisions companies make to manage their businesses from a macro perspective. mic,” she adds.

Now with WestCap since September 2021, Wilcox brings all of his experience to help the startup grow by establishing investor relations best practices, expanding the company’s institutional investor base, and crafting business development strategies. .

The importance of networking and mentoring

In addition to his successful career, Wilcox also serves as a mentor to alumni through Fordham’s Alumni Relations Office, helping current students write their CVs, providing career advice and guiding them through the processes. networking and job interviews.

This desire to help others is something Wilcox demonstrated as a student, when she volunteered as a mentor at local schools in the Bronx. In fact, she says that along with access to internships in New York, the opportunity to engage with the nearby community was one of the things that first attracted her to Fordham as a student of first cycle.

“All of these volunteer opportunities that were offered and being in such a diverse community…was a very influential part of my experience,” says Wilcox.

She also found a strong sense of community on campus, where she made strong friendships in addition to gaining professional skills and knowledge. When talking to current students, Wilcox tells them her best advice is to network with alumni, faculty, and other students.

“Be persistent and don’t let those ties fade,” she says. “Fordham has an extremely strong alumni network who are ready to help others further their careers. Along with the knowledge gained during your studies, this is the most important aspect of going to graduate school. , regardless of career path.

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