Anthony Scaramucci Speaks at MC

by MEGAN DREHER & PETE JANNYEditor in Chief & Asst. Sports Editor

On Wednesday, April 10, members of the Manhattan College community gathered in Hayden 100 to hear businessman Anthony Scaramucci speak about his career experiences in finance and politics. Nicknamed the “The Mooch,” Scaramucci is the founder of SkyBridge, a global investment firm based in New York City, and is a former White House Director of Communications under the current administration. Student Body President Jaycie Cooper and Raymond Castello had the pleasure of moderating the panel in which Scaramucci touched on a wide-range of topics involving his financial and political experiences. After about an hour of discussion, the event wrapped up with a Q&A session between Scaramucci and audience members. Although attendees were still able to buy tickets at the door, those who pre-ordered their tickets were gifted a copy of one of Scaramucci’s books called “Trump-the Blue-Collar President.”

Cooper recalled her pride in having the privilege to host and moderate an event such as this.

“Over the last four years I’ve done my best to put on events for students I thought would be interesting and generate a substantial amount of people. This was one of the bigger audiences I had for an event. I also want to point out that I was surprised how willing he was to come to the school and volunteer his time. He was not paid and it was pretty special that he stayed about an hour after the event answering questions, signing books and giving out his card to students.”

While hosting a guest with such a political presence in the public sphere, Cooper and Castello wanted to ensure that Scaramucci was being presented as more than just a political entity.

“Before the event, I never took Scaramucci too seriously. After doing a little bit of research, I found he is a pretty complex guy and has an entire life separate from politics. We made sure to show the audience this other side of him with the questions that me and Raymond wrote,” said Cooper.

Scaramucci started off the panel talking about his experiences growing up in Long Island in a blue collar household of modest means. Scaramucci credited his father’s work ethic as a construction worker for instilling within him the determination to be successful. Scaramucci set the bar high in the classroom on his way to earning a B.A. in economics from Tufts University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

It didn’t take Scaramucci long to realize just how different the wall street culture was from anything else he had previously encountered in his life. He had no choice but to accept the reality that his experiences coming from a middle class family had put him at a disadvantage against those who were bred around luxury and privilege. One memory in particular served as a wake up call to Scaramucci. While interviewing for a position at Goldman Sachs out of college, he was called out for the way he was dressed. He referred to the incident as  “one of the most embarrassing moments” of his life. In spite of his mistake, Goldman was admittedly impressed by Scaramucci’s wit and ended up hiring him anyways.

He then transitioned into talking about the trajectory of his business career.

He recounted his early days at Goldman Sachs in which he worked in their Investment Banking division in 1989. Just as he was beginning to find his niche at Goldman, Scaramucci was confronted by adversity. After just one year with the firm, he was fired due to the onset of a real estate crisis. The ensuing days were filled with great anguish for Scaramucci due the uncertainty of what lied ahead.

Little did he know that his first lay-off would be the prelude to a successful second stint with Goldman.

Ironically enough, Scaramucci was re-hired by Goldman on March 27th, 1991 to work in Private Wealth Management; only a month after his firing from the corporation. He asserts that his role in Wealth Management was a better fit for him anyway than his previous assignment in the Investment Banking Division

Scaramucci’s run at Goldman Sachs came to a close in 1996 when he and a close friend founded Oscar Capital Management. According to Scaramucci, the process of starting his company was anything but easy. As it turns out, this monumental step in Scaramucci’s career was only the beginning of his rise in the financial industry. In 2001, he opted to sell Oscar Capital Management to investment firm Neuberger Berman shortly after the September 11th attacks.

Scaramucci further enhanced his status in the financial sector when in 2005 he founded SkyBridge Capital, a global alternative investment firm. From there, he continued to receive special recognition for his business expertise, earning the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2011 and placing eighty-fifth in “Worth Magazine’s Power 100: The 100 Most Powerful People in Global Finance” in 2016.

The obvious elephant in the room surrounding Scaramucci’s career was his infamous tenure as White House Communications Director under President Trump. The businessman-turned-politician expressed regret for the backstabbing comments he made about Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon that led to his firing on July 27, 2017 after only eleven days on the job. According to Scaramucci, his willingness to forgive himself for that costly mistake has helped heal the inner pain that has come from it.

For freshman business student Sam Thompson, the way Scaramucci tries to turn every negative situation into a positive one is worthy of respect.

“I liked his advice on don’t burn your bridges even when you get fired and how it’s important to keep good relationships,” said Thompson.

Aside from discussing his financial and political endeavors, Scaramucci gave out general life advice. He encouraged every student to aim for a job that excites them, instead of simply picking the most financially attractive one. As someone who has been scrutinized many times before, Scaramucci stressed the importance of keeping a positive attitude in the face of adversity.

Thompson figured that a man of Scaramucci’s ilk would be a great source for advice on how to be successful.

“I wanted to know if he had any advice just on the real world and being successful,” said Thompson on why he chose to attend the panel.

Like Thompson, Freshman business student Stephen Petrosino tried to absorb any tips that could potentially give him a leg up in the real world.

“I figured he would have good advice to share because of his success in business,” said Petrosino. “It was interesting how he was able to overcome all his difficult situations and just forgive.”

Cooper also commented on the advice that Scaramucci had to offer.

“[He] shared some pretty insightful lessons on failure and advice on how to overcome dark moments in life. While I may not agree with his politics I think it’s important for people to hear how others with different perspectives and viewpoints think, and this interview did a great job of showing that. Of course I found him to be witty but most importantly, I surprised by his level of candidacy, authenticity and open-mindedness, especially in regards to the questions that were asked.”

Scaramucci’s relationship with President Trump dates back twenty years to a time when neither of them could have ever envisioned themselves taking a stab at politics. Scaramucci did not shy away from divulging his unvarnished thoughts on the president’s performance and his prospects for winning again in 2020. Scaramucci’s confidence in the President has yet to fully waver but doesn’t appear to be as high as it used to be. One major recommendation that Scaramucci offered to the President was to dial back his support for separating families at the southern border. Scaramucci also has concerns over the President’s behavior on Twitter.

Looking ahead, Scaramucci believes Trump is the early favorite to win in 2020 thanks in large part to the good health of the economy under his administration. Scaramucci issued a caveat to democrats in the room that 2020 won’t go their way if the left-wing party continues to  “move further left.” In contrast, Scaramucci believes Trump supporters may be in for a scary 2020 election cycle if a recession arrives before then.

“It was a reminder to be open-minded about Trump,” said Thompson of Scaramucci’s assessment of the President.