THE RABBI AND THE FINANCIER:
(They Both Live in Brooklyn)
BARUCH COLLEGE, NY, NY (5/30/2002) They both live in the borough of Brooklyn, and both achieved a perfect 4.0 grade point average. Otherwise, the two Valedictorians who will speak for the Baruch College Class of 2002 couldnt be more different.
Yaron Gutman is a worldly 29-year-old Israeli businessman who owns a successful restaurant in Jerusalem and served 3 years in the Israeli army before coming to Baruch to learn how to operate bigger and more complicated businesses. A finance major currently living in Brooklyn, Yaron wanted to learn capitalist theory to complement his practical knowledge and his long-since acquired street smarts.
Harry Schwartz, age 23, has charted quite a different course. Harry is studying to be a rabbi, pursuing the highest calling to which one can aspire as a member of one of Brooklyns several ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities. Harry, who majored in Computer Information Systems (CIS), is the eldest in a large family of children. Like many members of his community, he lives in a somewhat sheltered world. While pursuing his BBA at Baruch, he simultaneously attended a yeshiva to keep up with his religious studies.
I loved the idea of being in Manhattan . . . there are so many different kinds of people here that nobody feels out of place, he says of the city and of Baruch. But for all his attraction to the diversity of the Baruch student body, outside the classroom Harry spent little time with his fellow students. He joined no clubs and took no part in extra-curricular activities. I had a really tough schedule . . . I was sleeping only 4 hours a night, says the young man with the faraway smile.
A graduate of the Baruch Honors Program, Harry thinks he will go on to do graduate work in computer scienceperhaps at MIT. I would love to teach. I love sharing knowledge, says Harry. Beyond that, his aspirations include marriage and a family in the not-too-distant future.
For Harry Schwartz, Baruch was an amazing place, an experience of the world. Because there is so much of the world represented here,so many different cultures and worldviews, because of thatmore than the books--I have a much richer worldview that I had prior to coming here, he says.
Oddly enough, Yaron the restaurateur voices similar sentiments. I came here for one reason: to study. But while I was here, I made friends from India, Trinidad, Sweden, Malaysia, he says, sounding amazed at his luck. I went to Korea on a study-abroad program. I learned about Korean food: I was inspired by a friend I made here.
Despite being several years older than the typical Baruch undergraduate, Yaron took an active role in the extracurricular life of the College. He is most proud of the work he did feeding the homeless. As coordinator of the Baruch outreach program, run under the auspices of the Colleges Golden Key Honor Society, Yaron says, We enlarged the program by hundreds of students.
Yaron plans to proceed directly to an MBA program, keeping to the entrepreneurial track. He has applied to Stanford, Harvard and Wharton and says he has no first choice among the three top business schools. Though still seduced by the epicurean lifehe speaks reverently of the wine and gourmet culture of Napa Valleyhis business plans have changed. He has become interested in the burgeoning field of technology and medical care (e.g., developments like the use of lasers in the treatment of cancer). Im more interested in making a difference in the lives of other people than I am in making millions, he says.
Zane Berzins (212.802.2881)
Vince Passaro (212 802-2916)