Paul Aversano offers students a look at “reality”
Corporate leader says giving back makes for a fulfilling career
Paul Aversano ’93 was a sophomore in college when he learned about the importance of professional connections to help kick start his career.
“I remember thinking to myself, ‘I need real work experience,’” says Aversano, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the School of Management (SOM) and is managing director of Alvarez & Marsal, a global professional services and mergers & acquisitions firm.
Aversano, who oversees the firm’s global transaction advisory group, hosted 24 SOM students from the Dean’s Mentoring Program last spring to give them a look at what will soon be their reality.
“I began the visit by telling them, ‘I am reality,’ in the sense that as a practitioner and an alumnus I can teach students about what real employers expect and what the industry is looking for,” he says.
Hannah Hersch ’17, a master’s student studying accounting and 2016-17 president of the DMP, says they benefitted from Paul’s presentation on balance, leadership and grit.
The DMP is structured so that several underclassman and transfer-student mentees are assigned an upperclassmen mentor.
“I love seeing the growth within our students through the program. From meeting the freshmen and sophomores to seeing them graduate from the program, they become stronger, more confident students and professionals,” she says. “Each mentor truly wants to give back to the mentees and they become connections that the students will have throughout their time at Binghamton and beyond. And alumni outreach like our visit to Alvarez and Marsal further emphasize the strength the Binghamton network.”
Re-connecting with Binghamton
Aversano began his accounting career as an intern at a boutique accounting firm in New York City, then worked at Arthur Andersen for 10 years until the firm’s collapse in 2002. Aversano joined Alvarez & Marsal in 2006 after several years as a partner at EY.
At Alvarez & Marsal, Aversano was named head of the new global transaction advisory group. For the past 11 years, he has grown his team from one to more than 250 associates worldwide.
Aversano says professional success has allowed him to create a niche for developing and empowering young talent. “I am making sure Binghamton is the focus school when it comes to campus recruitment at Alvarez & Marsal,” he says.
As the firm explores more opportunities to hire Binghamton students, Aversano says he looks specifically for two traits among potential employees:.“I believe the two most important things to being a good employee are having a positive attitude and a willingness to learn.”
Binghamton students typically possess a drive and work ethic that makes them desirable, he adds.
“Alumni of Binghamton, and of the SUNY network in general, are willing to embrace challenges and have grit,” says Aversano, who was the first person in his family to graduate college. “I tell the Binghamton students who visit my firm, ‘There will always be someone who is smarter than you or someone who went to a more prestigious school than you. But never let someone else outwork you.’”
Aversano has always had a passion for giving back, especially in youth services. He is on the board of directors for Youth INC (Improving Nonprofits for Children), a philanthropy model and program that links New York City’s financial leaders with nonprofits that serve youth.
“At this point in my career, my satisfaction is much less about the salary or material things. Now, my favorite time at work is when I get to promote people,” he says. “What matters to me most are relationships and experiences. The lasting value is being able to give back and to help others: It has brought a new level of satisfaction to my professional and personal life.”