Developing a Whitman Network on Wall Street

Jeff Schor

Director, Equity Derivatives Sales at Credit Suisse

  • Corporate Partner

I’ve developed a real personal connection with the Whitman Career Center team. For me, this mentoring relationship has developed into something that is a great joy.

When he graduated from Syracuse University with an economics degree, Jeff Schor ’87 (A&S) followed the example of many of his Zeta Psi fraternity brothers and headed to Wall Street. “This was long before students did summer internships to line up jobs,” he recalls. “It was more about who you knew.”

Schor got his start in retail brokerage at Merrill Lynch, cold calling individuals to entice them to invest in the stock market. “I started in July 1987 and the stock market crashed in October — Black Monday,” he says. “Even though I’m an outgoing person, the rejection was disheartening.”

Through a friend, Schor moved to PaineWebber working on the institutional side of the markets, initially in fixed income, and by 1992, as an assistant on the equity derivatives desk. Over the last 30 years, he’s built his career in that arena, serving as director of equity derivatives sales for Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and currently, Credit Suisse.

“The innovation in the field has kept it interesting,” Schor says. “Every couple of years there’s a new product or a new way to trade derivatives, so my own personal learning and educating sophisticated institutional clients keeps things fresh.”

During the course of his career, Schor has seen equity derivatives expand from a niche field to the mainstream. “In the early years, it was only hedge funds that traded derivatives but today, everybody trades derivatives: insurance companies, mutual funds and even university endowments.”

Having achieved a level of success in his own career, Schor is passionate about paying it forward and helping young Syracuse University graduates get their start on Wall Street. For more than a dozen years, he has partnered with the Whitman School of Management in hiring, providing internships and mentoring students.

It all began in 2010 when a former colleague who was a Whitman grad asked Schor if he would be willing to serve as a resource to Whitman students. Schor made a visit to the School, where he met Fernando Diz, Martin J. Whitman Professor of Finance and director of the Ballentine Investment Institute, and learned about the Orange Value Fund, a selective two-year analyst program for undergraduate students that currently manages more than $5.5M in assets. “I was very impressed with the students involved, who were real go-getters,” he says. 

Schor began hosting students through the Whitman on Wall Street program, allowing students to see trades conducted in real time. “I’ve hosted hundreds of students through this program through the years,” he says.

In addition to hiring Whitman students for internships and jobs, Schor has spent countless hours mentoring students on issues ranging from career choice to assessing job offers. “I think it’s important for students to have an advocate who can help them in the process of career development,” he says. “If a student tells me they want to be an investment banker, they need to understand they’re going to work 20 hours a day until they’re 30 years old. They’re not going to continue the social experience they’ve had at Syracuse University. I want students to understand the choices they’re making.”

Like himself, Schor says Syracuse students have a certain aggressiveness and hunger. “They can go up against any Ivy League grad with their preparation,” he says. “Not one time out of a hundred kids I’ve helped get interviews has someone at the firm come back to me with anything but positive feedback.”

In helping Whitman students get their start, Schor says he’s proud to have contributed to the development of a Whitman network on Wall Street. “As each of these student’s I’ve helped moves forward, they become an ambassador to the students coming behind them,” says Schor, whose daughter Emma Schor ’25 is currently a student at the Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics. 

Even though he didn’t study at Whitman himself, Schor says his relationship with the School has evolved into much more than a corporate partnership. “I’ve developed a real personal connection with the Whitman Career Center team,” he says. “For me, this mentoring relationship has developed into something that is a great joy.”


 By Renée Gearhart Levy

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  • Corporate Partner