Goodman gift sets stage for competitive edge
The motive behind the $200,000 gift from Barry Goodman '79 (at left in photo with School of Management Dean Upinder Dhillon) to Binghamton University is not complicated.
“I think giving is very important,” he said. “It’s a responsibility every individual has. We are all part of this world, and we should leave it having made it a better place.”
Goodman, an executive vice president at Millburn Ridgefield Corporation, is investing in the School of Management’s Career Placement Center to help students assess their employment goals earlier in their college careers, thereby providing them with greater professional opportunities. And providing greater opportunity is what it’s all about for Goodman.
“I come from relatively humble roots,” he said. “The first 12 years of my life I lived in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn. It was a great place to grow up. My grandparents lived on the first floor of our apartment building, we lived on the third floor and my two best friends lived in the building. The schoolyard was around the corner. My mom taught me how to dream and my dad taught me the value of hard work.
“If not for the public education system, I never would have had the opportunity to demonstrate what I could do in the financial sector. I think it would be arrogant for anyone to suggest that they got to where they are in life without any help.”
To help Binghamton students, Goodman wants to develop a program that freshmen and sophomores can use to identify their passions, strengths and weaknesses. Too often, he said, students don’t find these core passions and competencies until they’re well into their majors.
“As a result, it’s not until later on in their college career that they start to focus,” Goodman said. “And quite often this puts our students at somewhat of a disadvantage in that a lot of other universities have early intervention programs.”
To accomplish his goal of enabling students to follow a more focused career path and to identify their ideal working environment, Goodman sat down with Dhillon, who understood Goodman’s concerns.
“He’s right, the school cannot have a very strong reputation for excellence if we are not successful in placing our students at the very best firms in the world,” Dhillon said. “And as part of placement, we need to provide students with the skill set to be successful in the job-search process.”
To advance placement opportunities, Goodman wants to make aptitude tests available to students to help them identify their strengths and interests. Goodman argues that knowing these things earlier in college will set students on the right path sooner, thus allowing them to select courses and majors that best match their career aspirations.
Internships at an earlier stage in college are part of the strategy. Goodman hopes to develop a richer internship program by dedicating resources to locating global internship opportunities.
“One of the best ways to get a job is to start as an intern,” Goodman said. “Work your way up. Be known as a very reliable, responsible individual so when the time comes to graduate, there might be a job offer. Or at least you might have an inside track to an entry-level position since you understand the company and its culture.”
In addition, Goodman’s grant will help the placement center refine students’ interviewing skills by having them mock-interview in front of a camera. Professionals then review the footage and give feedback on style, thoroughness and overall performance.
Goodman’s forethought wasn’t a surprise because seven years earlier he had noticed a gap in the curriculum and suggested strategies to address the problem, then provided funding.
Goodman’s six-figure gift seeded the University’s first entrepreneurship program. “If you look at Barry Goodman’s gifts to the University, he typically has a vision and wants to really implement that vision,” Dean Dhillon said.
“I don’t want to just throw money at the problem,” Goodman said. “I want to construct a solution to the problem.”
Over the next five years the University hopes to leverage Goodman’s gift to raise $1 million for the School of Management’s Career Placement Center.
Read more about alumni donors making an impact on their alma mater.