From Mentor to Colleague: Chad Lojewski ’95 Opens Career Doors for George Sidiropolous ’17
George Sidiropolous ’17 needed someone to believe in him. Sidiropolous was having little luck looking for an internship in finance until he met Chad Lojewski ’95. It led to Sidiropolous having an internship with Stifel, a full-service brokerage and investment banking firm with an office in Wilkes-Barre. Lojewski is first vice president of investments at the firm.
Now Sidiropolous is Lojewski’s first intern to transition to a full-time position with Stifel. Lojewski thinks of himself as Sidiropolous’s ‘coach,’ and provides him with advice and next steps in navigating the financial industry.
The pair first met at a mock interviewing event hosted by the personal and professional development program for juniors in the Jay S. Sidhu School of Business and Leadership. It was fate when the two met again at a student-alumni mentoring evening called Connecting the Dots.
Looking back to the early days in their professional relationship, Sidiropolous showed initiative and interest in Lojewski’s career in finance. That interest is what led Lojewski to offer him an internship.
“Where there’s an opportunity to help mold someone or pay it forward, that’s what I look forward to doing,” Lojewski says.
He has hosted many interns over his 22-year career and a primary goal is for them to gain real-life experience by talking with clients and becoming more personable.
“Talking with someone might be a simple thing, but I think in this world of social media and technology, it’s hard for students to talk to people,” says Lojewski.
Lojewski knows the value of the internship experience in his own career. He had an internship with FAO Schwartz as a student, and it helped him to realize that he did not want to work in retail. However, he learned that he enjoyed working with people. That internship, too, came from an alumni connection: Bill Miller ’81, who is still an executive in New York City and now a Wilkes trustee, provided the opportunity at FAO Schwartz.
When it was time for Sidiropolous’ internship to end, Lojewski lobbied for a full-time position for him at Stifel. “George has motivation; he wants to get registered and he wants to learn. I wanted to take on the responsibility as the mentor/teacher, if George wanted to learn the business. He did, so we needed to work something out for him. My branch manager and Stifel were supportive,” recalls Lojewski.
“I had to get through some barriers, but when you love what you want to do, the experience you get from an internship will help you in the long-term,” says Sidiropolous, who was the first in his family to graduate from college. He started with Stifel on Jan. 1, 2018, and looks forward to a great career with Lojewski as his mentor. Lojewski is also looking forward to watching his protégé move up through the ranks.
The two agree that so much of being a financial analyst is talking with and getting to know your client. When Lojewski speaks with business students at the high school or college level, they will sometimes ask very specific, finance-related questions. Lojewski notes that the job is really about life and not investing.
“So often, in school, we get caught up with the technical side of things, like PE ratios, and earnings per share,” says Sidiropolous, now a client service associate with Stifel. “When I speak with some of my former classmates, I explain to them that those things are only a portion of what we do.”
The two men agree that the opportunities that Wilkes University provides are unmatched.
“The opportunity to connect with alumni as students through mentoring events is so important,” says Sidiropolous.