From Finance to Fashion: Jon Harari of WindowsWear

WindowsWear’s exclusive community of leading brands, vendors, designers, architects, and academic institutions worldwide includes members like Fendi, Harrods, Ralph Lauren, Tory Burch, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, as well as other leading brands, specialists, designers, architects, and academic institutions worldwide.

This online resource provides competitive research, information, insights, and trends of visual merchandising, retail design, window displays, product packaging, and more that global brands use to enhance and coordinate their brand’s physical and e-commerce environments.

Jon graduated with a degree in Business with a concentration in Finance. He chose finance because he felt it would give him the best skill set in understanding many types of businesses in different industries. He also computer programming classes because he was interested.

He had many experiences at IU — he joined Phi Kappa Psi, had a semester-long internship at Sun Microsystems in Silicon Valley, and served two years of Army ROTC so he could have some military training like the rest of his Israeli family.

“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,” Jon said.

He graduated magna cum laude from the Kelley School of Business Honors Program

“After graduating, I was an investment banking analyst at Lehman Brothers, and soon after — that’s where I discovered my interest in fashion,” he said.

Jon (and our career coaches, for that matter) want students to know how important it is to use LinkedIn. He wishes he connected with everyone he met post-graduation on LinkedIn.

“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,” he said. “Employers now are just actively searching LinkedIn and finding a person who looks like the right fit. Also, the more connections the better.”

Connect with Jon on LinkedIn

Before Jon entered the workforce, he wished someone told him how 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,” he said.

Read more about Jon’s experience receiving thank you notes from IU students.

As the CEO of his company, Jon has a variety of daily tasks, but he will do absolutely anything necessary for the company to achieve greatness. His favorite part of his job was creating his company from the ground up and making it a global, world-renowned brand.

He encourages students to 100% trust and follow their passions when they’re exploring different career paths. It’s Jon’s passion that lead him to switch from finance industry to fashion.

Read more about Jon’s journey to fashion

Of course, almost no student can leave IU without being able to say that a professor has impacted them in one way or another. For Jon, it was professor David Haeberle.

In 2004, even though IU was the #4 top undergraduate finance program in the United States, Jon said the school lacked interest from top Wall Street firms, like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Lehman Brothers.

Having a background in entrepreneurship, Professor David Haeberle was tapped to lead the Investment Banking Workshop at IU. This workshop was made up of the top 40 finance students, with the goal being these students get jobs and internships at Wall Street investment banks. The better the jobs, the better the program. But when David started, he didn’t have a 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,’” Jon said. “I thought it was very odd that the Professor in charge of the class knew nothing about the subject matter.”

At the time, Jon thought teaching was supposed to be a one-way street. The instructor has all the knowledge, and the student has none, so the goal was for the instructor to transfer it all to the student.

“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,” Jon said. “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.”

The workshop guests were experts that would discuss the industry, but at the same time, provide 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,” Jon said. “The first rule of business is to know your clients. 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.”

David also valued regularly getting students and alumni together because he knew networking is important and class could never teach you how to socialize.

Today, David has helped place over 600 students with jobs at top investment banks.

“His impact is amazing, just imagine one professor being able to have that much success in such a short amount of time,” Jon said. “David has made such a positive impact on my life that I have adopted the same approach in my classes.”

Jon is an adjunct professor of marketing at Baruch College. He’s invited over 100 different guest speakers to his classes to discuss 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,” he said. “Many of my students have received job and internship offers from my guest speakers as well.”

By Maureen Langley
Maureen Langley Designer & Marketing Coordinator