Past and present in the business world

Past and present in the business world


The Lehigh men's lacrosse family is a tight-knit community. Every player over the program's 100-plus year history shares something in common, representing Lehigh University's lacrosse team in intercollegiate competition.

The connection goes beyond simply the lacrosse field and in the case of rising senior Tripp Telesco, into the working world.

Telesco is in the midst of a rewarding internship experience this summer with The Canell Group at Morgan Stanley in New York City. That name may ring a bell for Lehigh fans because the leaders of the group, Neil and Jay Canell, are alumni of the Lehigh Lacrosse program (class of 1989).

"We are financial advisors, managing money for high net worth individuals and institutional accounts," said Neil. "We love to help families save for the future, building a foundation for years to come."

Telesco's father and family have been clients of Neil and Jay for quite some time. Early last year, Tripp's father reached out to Neil and asked if they hire interns. Neil was immediately intrigued by Tripp, who is a Supply Chain Management major within Lehigh's well-renowned business school.

"We love hiring interns from Lehigh," said Neil. "We love to give back to people who are going through what we went through at Lehigh, specifically the lacrosse players. In past years, we've hired a lot of college athletes representing many sports".

"I called Neil and asked if there were any opportunities this summer," said Tripp. "He said absolutely; let me talk to some people and I'll get back to you. He got back to me right away and it's worked out perfectly. I love where I am right now. The team is a group of great, hardworking people. It's a fun and productive working environment."

Telesco is working with the 12-person group, which features four senior brokers (two of which are Neil and Jay) managing more than one billion dollars. The Canells have consistently been ranked among the top brokers in the country. Tripp is gaining valuable experience within the finance realm.

"Much of the time, I help out with investment plans," he said. "While attending various meetings, clients and prospects will go over all their interests, assets, relationships and goals. They'll talk about everything they want from a financial advisor. Our job is to get all that information and put it into a comprehensive investment plan."

The investment framework outlines certain areas like an individual's assets, how much should be invested in equities, how much should be invested in fixed income, how much should be held in cash and whether a 401K or an IRA is an alternative option. Starting a college savings account for children could also be on the table.

"We accumulate all the data in order to generate one comprehensive document. The information is then presented to the client or prospect in the initial meeting," said Telesco. "Based on that, a potential client can decide whether or not to use The Canell Group's financial advisors to manage their money. Clients can get an overall picture of their asset allocation while meeting with the team."

Neil and Jay's path to Morgan Stanley wasn't typical. The International Relations majors at Lehigh ended up in this field due in large part to the suggestion of their father.

"When we were in college, we certainly didn't know we were going to do this," said Jay. "To be honest, at the point when we graduated, we didn't necessarily know exactly what a financial advisor really does for a living.

"Our industry knowledge basically evolved after college," Jay continued. "Our father knew that we were pretty good in sales as we successfully ran a few small businesses in college and directly after we graduated. He made a comment to us stating if we were going to be involved in sales, we might as well sell financial products. We had a few friends who were in the business, doing very well, and they all suggested we get involved."

Neil and Jay know the challenges of breaking into the business world, especially today, so they always remember where they came from.

"I was in their position and didn't have that opportunity where people were reaching out and offering to help," said Neil. "I decided if I can make someone else's introduction to their early career easier, why not? And why not do it for Lehigh students?"

"If one is able to manage the daily grind of academics and athletics that comes along with being a Lehigh student-athlete, it shows their organizational skills and their ability to multi-task," said Jay. "Additionally, being a member of a team shows one's ability to work with others as well as compete at a high level. It's not surprising to me that there are many athletes in the financial services sector, especially in sales, who have succeeded."

Telesco is just the latest example of a Lehigh student who has balanced the demands of academics and athletics. In fact, another summer intern for The Canell Group this summer is Brian Vail, a rising senior on Lehigh's men's soccer team.

"Finance isn't my major, but I've always had an interest in the industry," said Telesco. "I thought this summer would be a great opportunity for me to learn about the finance world through a financial internship. Honestly, I like it a lot more than I thought I would. If given the opportunity, I could definitely see myself working in this industry one day."

At this point in a student's career, exploring opportunities and learning about the different areas of business is beneficial. Just look at the Canells, who began as International Relations majors, but ended up as extremely successful businessmen. At this point in Telesco's career, he's looking to learn about all areas of business.

"I am going into my senior year with an open mind," said Telesco. "Even if I don't go into finance, just having a good knowledge and background in that area will help me in the future. At the very least, if and when I have my own financial advisors one day, I'll know what to expect and what I'm looking for."

The Canells have helped the current Lehigh men's lacrosse program in other ways, as well. For the past few years, they have hosted the current juniors and seniors as part of a Lehigh Lacrosse career development day. The Canell Group at Morgan Stanley has been one of three stops on the tour, which has also included visits to highly successful alumni at Citibank and SL Green. While visiting the Canells, Neil and Jay have spent time explaining to the players what they do on a daily basis, answer questions on how they became so successful and the path they took to the top of the industry.

The current Mountain Hawks are always very appreciative of the insight provided by the Canells.

"The Canells also gave us the rundown of how much Lehigh has helped them get to where they are right now," said Telesco.

Despite not majoring in business at Lehigh, their education still played a significant role in the Canells breaking into the business world.

"Obviously, the name Lehigh opens doors," said Jay. "People are always very impressed with the Lehigh students. It's always had a great name in the business community. We hope that an experience like the one we offer will help open doors for our interns."

"People ask me where I'm interning this summer. When I say Morgan Stanley, they are taken aback and usually quite impressed," said Telesco. "I take great pride in working for Morgan Stanley. It's a very prestigious company to be associated with."

Telesco has enjoyed success in his role. Success in the business world starts with the basics, things like being teachable and a team player.

"For someone who's been so successful on the lacrosse field, Tripp is humble," said Jay. "He's not someone who expects just because he's been an All-American, it should carry over here in the business community. He is polite, hard-working and very respectful. He's done a great job with everything we've asked of him."

"Tripp is a great kid," said Neil. "He comes from a family of athletes. All of his brothers and sisters are great athletes. He's a really mild-mannered, nice kid off the field, and obviously a fierce competitor on the field. It's great to have the opportunity to teach someone the business and continue to watch him grow as an athlete."

While he's enjoying success in the business world this summer, Telesco is finding time to prepare for the upcoming 2016 season.

"The first week or two, it was extremely difficult to find time to work out," said Telesco, who is commuting from home in New Jersey to New York City. "I take the bus every day. I get up around 6 a.m. and get back home around 6:30 p.m. By the end of the day, I'm pretty tired."

Time management skills learned at Lehigh have extended to the working world.

"Time management isn't only when you're at school," said Telesco. "I've adapted and made sure to find time to do my workouts. I try to go to the gym when I get home every day; that's what works for me. Getting my workouts in is very important, in hopes it will help me become successful once the season rolls around."

Telesco's story is the latest example of how Lehigh develops student-athletes.

"We are students first, athletes second," he said. "I think Lehigh does an excellent job at holding their student-athletes accountable for being students. I love the work environment at Lehigh and think it's essential for us to apply ourselves in the classroom."

Telesco and the Mountain Hawks are serious about their athletics as well. Lehigh looks to get back to Patriot League Championship contention after a 2015 season which started slowly, but ended with five wins over the final six regular season games.

"Looking back to last year, Coach Cassese thought we were too complacent at times and I totally agree," said Telesco. "We had an end-of-year meeting and agreed that when we come back in the fall, we're going to train harder than ever. We need to put ourselves in a position to be successful this spring."

While Lehigh has risen in the lacrosse world over the past few years, alumni like Neil and Jay are proud of what players like Tripp have accomplished. The Canells still take great pride in the program's success.

"When I went to Lehigh, we didn't give any scholarships," said Neil. "It was very tough to compete with the schools that were giving scholarships and recruiting All-Americans. It's great to see we finally cracked the top 20 and reached as high as #4 in the country in 2012. You finally can walk into lacrosse stores and see Lehigh apparel hanging on the walls."

Most importantly to the Canells and with everyone involved with the program, Lehigh men's lacrosse has its priorities in the right place.

"Coach Cassese has done such a great job, showing that most importantly, a school like Lehigh not only is a great lacrosse school, but first and foremost, a great academic school," said Jay. "I'm proud to not only see that Lehigh has turned out to have such a great academic reputation, but to also see these kids excel on the field as well."

Telesco is one of those student-athletes who understands his role as a student first and athlete second, while finding a way to succeed in both areas.

"The majority of us are only going to be athletes until we graduate, then for the rest of our lives, we'll be in the working world," said Telesco. "Lehigh prepares its students to be successful in the future."
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