Berkeley Today Stories
Alumnus Channels Passion for Helping People Into Career Success
Transparency, integrity, and a passion for helping people - those are the traits that enabled Miguelangel Burdier to grow his business as an advisor with New York Life Insurance Company in New York City. Within three years of signing on with the company, Mr. Burdier, a 2003 graduate of Berkeley College and a first-generation college graduate, established Burdier Capital, a financial and insurance service practice. Two years later, he was appointed Partner in the Greater New York Office of New York Life. Below, Mr. Burdier shares his thoughts on career success and the college experience.
When and why did you enter the financial industry?
My first interview with New York Life Insurance Company was in 2008 right before the market crashed. While other people were bailing out of the industry, I was walking in. I knew this was an industry that would never go away. People will always need help with their finances and I saw this as an opportunity for me to make a positive impact on people’s lives.
After I came to New York Life Insurance Company, there was a research study showing that very few Latinos in the United States had a financial advisor. Not because they didn’t want one, but because they didn’t know whom to go to for help, and they didn’t trust other people with their money. I thought of my mom who came to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic when she was 16. Nobody in my profession ever spoke with her about finances. I made a commitment then to serve and work with the Latino community, educating them on how to save for a college education and for retirement.
You graduated from Berkeley College with a degree in Business Administration – Management. Did your degree help you when you entered the financial services industry?
Absolutely! When you work as an agent for New York Life Insurance Company you are not an employee – you are working for yourself. I drew on my management skills to grow my practice. Time management was extremely important. I had to schedule meetings with my clients and also allow time for marketing my business.
Marketing was a challenge because I didn’t have a storefront office. Although my building was centrally located across from Grand Central Station and just five blocks from Times Square, my office was on the 15th floor. I marketed my business by conducting workshops in the community, meeting parents in schools to present how to teach their children regarding savings, and accepting invitations from clients to go to their workplace to speak about saving for retirement.
What tips can you offer college graduates interested in entering your field?
What I discovered as an advisor is that people do business with you when they know that you really care about them. Your presentations have to be clear and transparent. That’s how you earn people’s trust. Once people know that you have their best interest at heart they will refer friends and family. When I started out as an advisor, I got most of my clients through word of mouth.
What advice would you offer current Berkeley College students?
The first thing is to understand why you are in college. Set a goal and then remain committed. Life will always happen – good and bad things will come your way – but you have to stay firm and walk in a straight line to accomplish your goal.
At Berkeley College, I always appreciated the strong focus on career preparation. Berkeley College has been preparing students for careers for 85 years and has a good system in place. Students should follow this system and learn as much as they can from the required internship experience. These internships offer another view of life, especially on the corporate side.
It’s also important to be in communication with your professors. I am still in contact with Management Professor Chris Christiansen. He remains one of my mentors in life.
Career success is a product of individual achievement and will vary from person to person.