Jon Harari is the CEO of WindowsWear. He is an Indiana University alumnus who graduated in 2004 with a B.S. in Business (Kelley Honors Program) and a concentration in Finance.
What do you wish someone would have told you as you prepared to enter the workforce?
The smallest recognition of a thank you can achieve a tremendous amount of good. Sending a thank you letter is a small act, but it has a big impact.
Read my experience receiving Thank You letters from Indiana University students: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/thank-you-letters-jon-harari
What piece of advice would you like to share with students currently looking for internships or full time jobs?
Have a powerful and up-to-date LinkedIn profile. It used to be that employers put out a job description and waited for candidates to apply. Employers now are just actively searching LinkedIn and finding a person who looks like the right fit.
Describe your daily tasks and how they support your organization.
Doing absolutely anything necessary for the company to achieve greatness.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Creating a company from scratch and making it a global, world renowned brand.
What were your original career goals and major when you first arrived at IU? How did your career goals change over time during your time at IU?
I switched from finance to fashion. Read my story here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/jon-hararis-journey-from-finance-fashion-jon-harari
What has been your career path?
Check it out: http://jonharari.com/bio.
What advice do you have for students exploring different career paths?
100% trust and follow your passion.
What is one thing that you wish you had done differently in your first job after graduation?
Made sure to add everyone I met to LinkedIn.
What surprised you most about the transition from college to full-time work?
The real-world is all practical, not theoretical.
Reflecting on your time at IU, what memories come to mind?
I graduated with a degree in Business with a concentration in Finance. I chose finance because I felt it would give me the best skill set in understanding many different types of business within different industries. I also liked computer programming, and I took many programming classes in college – I also did a semester-long internship at Sun Microsystems in Silicon Valley in California. I also served two years of Army ROTC at Indiana University to provide me with some military training like the rest my family had (my family is Israeli). I also wanted to have a lot of fun in school, so I also joined a fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi. Out of everything the school offered, the most important thing for me to achieve was to get good grades in order to give me the most opportunities, and I graduated top of my class from Kelley School of Business Honors Program, magna cum laude, with a GPA of 3.83. After graduating, I was an investment banking analyst at Lehman Brothers, and soon after that’s where I discovered my interest in fashion.
Did you have a favorite class or professor during your time at IU?
In 2004, even though Indiana University was the #4 top undergraduate finance program in the U.S., the school lacked interest from top Wall Street firms, like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Lehman Brothers, among others. At the time, those top banks did not recruit from Indiana University. Having a strong background in entrepreneurship, Professor David Haeberle was tapped to lead the Investment Banking Workshop at Indiana University. The Investment Banking Workshop comprised of the top 40 finance students of Indiana University, with the goal of each of those students getting jobs and internships at top Wall Street investment banks. The better the jobs, the better the program.
When David started, he had no background in investment banking. I remember the first thing he said at our first Investment Banking Workshop meeting – he said “I was just got hired to head the Investment Banking Workshop, but I want to let you know that I know nothing about investment banking, but I know we’re all going to learn about it together.” I thought it was very odd that the Professor in charge of the class knew nothing about the subject matter. I also thought it was odd that he said “we’re all going to learn about it together.” To me teaching was supposed to be a 1-way street, the instructor has all the knowledge, you have none of it, and goal of school was for them to transfer it all to you. I thought it was odd for him to tell me that I was going to be involved in helping him learn the subject matter.
But, David’s approach was brilliant. I didn’t realize it at the time, but instead of having us learn from a textbook, he invited guest speakers and we learned from them. He invited all the alumni from previous years that worked at investment banks to share their experiences and network with the students. It was the smartest thing he could have ever done. He invited experts to discuss the industry, and at the same time, provided opportunities for students to network and get jobs and internships from them. While we were learning about investment banking from the alumni, he was learning more about them as well.
The first rule of business is to know your clients, and since David’s clients consisted of the alumni and the students, he created a program where he would stand to learn the most from all of them. He also valued regularly getting the students and alumni together for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. David knew that networking was extremely important, and that class could ever teach you how to socialize and network, you just have to learn how to do it.
The Investment Banking Workshop is now huge and has a tremendous global alumni database. David has helped place over 600 students with jobs at top investment banks around the world. His impact is amazing, just imagine one professor being able to have that much success in such a short amount of time.
David has made such a positive impact on my life that I have adopted the same approach in my classes. I’m an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at Baruch College, and I’m currently in my 6th semester teaching at Baruch College. I have invited over 100 different guest speakers to my classes to discuss topics like marketing, public relations, business communications, customer relationship management, and online reputation management. My classes are very fun and interactive, and the students and speakers value the networking opportunities. Many of my students have received job and internship offers from my guest speakers as well.
Here’s a picture of a guest speaker from one of my classes: https://twitter.com/jonharari/status/877172260880220162
Connect with Jon on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonharari/