Rock the Street, Wall Street Thrives at Baruch

Maddy Goldstein, Editor-in-Chief

Baruch’s chapter of Rock the Street, Wall Street (RTSWS), has had an exciting and active semester, with its members participating in a wide variety of financial learning experiences since September. Baruch’s 21 members span all grades, and are led by Student CEOs and Baruch seniors, Maddy Goldstein and Sally Zhao, along with faculty advisor Ms. Benowitz. RTSWS is a national financial and investment literacy organization designed to equip girls with the tools to succeed financially and potentially pursue careers in finance. The organization is currently in 51 high schools across 26 cities in the United States and Canada, and brings in female financial professionals to host lectures, workshops, and coaching sessions. Student CEOs help ensure the success of the cohort by serving as liaisons between the school and RTSWS staff.

I have been a member of RTSWS since ninth grade, and have been proud to serve as the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 Student CEO for Baruch along with Sally. Our members show up each week excited and ready to learn, and this made the experience productive and valuable. Baruch’s program is run by female financial professionals from Broadridge Financial Solutions, and the information and knowledge they shared with us was invaluable.

RTSWS was founded in 2013 by Maura Cunningham, who began her career at Merrill Lynch on Wall Street. After 25 years in finance, Maura shifted her focus to helping to close the gender-based wage, wealth and opportunity gap that exists in the United States. RTSWS aims to do so by educating girls on finance and investments, and encouraging their pursuit of careers in the financial field. In fact, RTSWS alumnae are five times more likely to pursue college degrees in finance, economics or related fields. The organization has been recognized by The White House, Catalyst, Nasdaq, the Women’s Bond Club of New York and The Today Show.

In November, we had the opportunity to visit our program volunteers in their place of work, Broadridge Financial Solutions. We heard from financial professionals who provided meaningful insight into the firm and financial services field. We even got to meet the president of Broadridge, Chris Perry! We had an amazing time on our trip, and we’re excited to see what’s in store for our spring session.

RTSWS emphasizes the “M” in STEM, or math. As a student who has, at times, been a bit hesitant about math, I wasn’t sure at first that this club was something I would enjoy. However, the math that we focus on has real world applicability, which makes it feel interesting and relevant. For example, we learned how to understand and manage a budget, which will be increasingly important to us as we go off to college. In the fall, our sessions took place as a big group. We learned general financial terms, and about concepts related to financial literacy. We also talked about careers in the finance field, and developed a basic understanding of savings and investments.

During the spring session, members are paired with Broadridge mentors in a small group setting. In past years, I really enjoyed getting to know my two mentors, who are experienced and enthusiastic financial professionals. I appreciated the time they devoted to the program, on a completely volunteer basis. Last semester, we participated in activities focused on resume writing, interview skills, self-advocating, building a LinkedIn profile, and expanding our networks. The small group format was extremely beneficial, in that it allowed us to focus on our interests and made it easier to ask questions. Thanks to the comments of my mentors, my resume was in great shape for the college application process.

Some of the specific skills that I took away from the program were in relation to career building. I learned that even though this field has not been as accessible to women as other fields, there are many opportunities which a young woman with interest and determination can pursue. While I’m not sure at this point in my life whether I want to pursue a career in the financial sector, I feel more confident in my understanding of basic financial concepts, from how to read a budget to the different investment asset classes. We look forward to welcoming a new cohort in February and hope you will consider participating in Rock the Street, Wall Street!