School of Business: Former SEC chair discusses career paths

A former Securities and Exchange Commission leader injected humor into her remarks about the uncertain job market awaiting School of Business graduates at the school’s undergraduate ceremony on Friday afternoon.

Former SEC chairman Cynthia Glassman delivered the keynote address in the Smith Center, imparting wisdom to more than 400 degree candidates. She served as an SEC commissioner between 2002 and 2006, and was the acting chairman for part of 2005. She also served as a U.S. undersecretary of commerce from 2006 until earlier this year.

“This is a very scary time to be going out into the real world. The silver lining is that there’s a good chance that this is the worst job market that you will encounter during your working life,” Glassman said, drawing laughter from the audience.

Glassman discussed the importance of ethics in business, learning from negative job experiences and advised graduates to build a financial cushion to fall back on.

She also used examples of cases she saw in her position with the SEC to illustrate how employees can easily fall into participating in fraud.

“The lesson I took from those cases is that you should align yourself with people of integrity,” Glassman said.

Glassman advised students to not be taken in by get-rich-quick schemes, to save their money and invest it well, to consider public service at some point in their career and to keep learning, no matter what career path they choose.

“It’s okay if you don’t have a plan and if you do have one, it’s okay to change course,” she said.

Graduate David Jones said Glassman was wise and informative in her address to the graduates.

“[Glassman’s] credentials were amazing,” Jones said. “It was good to hear from someone who’d been through all the experiences she had in the business world.”

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