Millennial Graduate from Berkeley College Chooses Career in Growing Financial Services Field

Contact: Ilene Greenfield
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Berkeley College

At 29 years of age, Avi Harkishun (AH) of South Richmond Hill in Queens, NY, is well on his way to achieving his career goal of building a company in the financial industry. He graduated in 2018, having earned his Associate in Applied Science and Bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration – Financial Services at Berkeley College in New York City, a place some consider the financial capital of the world. Along the way, he maintained high grades, sought meaningful internships and worked at jobs that gave him relevant experience. Today he is an Investment Advisor Representative with Primerica, Inc., a distributer of financial services to middle-income families in North America. 

We asked him about his college experience, career choice and advice he would offer college students.

What influenced you to select this major and this field for your career?

AH: At the beginning, I wanted to have the feeling that people in this field command – respect. Then I noticed how much I enjoyed working in it because I get to help people achieve their financial goals and attain financial independence. The feeling of making such an impact in someone’s life made me feel good about myself and gave me a sense of purpose. It also is a lucrative field.

How did Berkeley College prepare you for success?

AH: As with many careers today, the demand for highly skilled candidates in their respective fields has proliferated. The financial services career demands such knowledgeable candidates. Berkeley College empowered me with the knowledge and skills necessary to be competent when advising my clients and constructing financial plans. I feel more prepared for success in the financial industry than I have ever been before due to the rigorous education I received from well-experienced and accomplished professors at Berkeley College. 

Is there a most memorable moment or instructor you would cite that stood out for you?

AH: One semester I was unable to receive financial aid due to government policies. I sent an email to the Campus Operating Officer who responded promptly and got back to me in a week with an institutional grant solution that worked. 

Two finance instructors, Dr. Joanne Snider and Professor Robert Alvarez, have both been helpful with taking the time to answer questions regarding my career path and academic choices. They are my mentors as I learn more about financial solutions to serve clients better. What I respect the most about these two professors is the way they sincerely care about their students’ success. They emphasize making ethical choices and doing no harm to anyone.

What advice would you offer today’s college-age students, especially those considering entering this field?

AH: Students need to be good at researching this or any other career field. The classes they take in college should align with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in this field. Research successful people in this field and see what they have done academically and in their careers to get where they are today. If possible, try to duplicate what they have done.

Experience in your chosen field is very important. Try to do internships while in college to gain the necessary experience, apply what you have learned thus far, and acquire additional knowledge and skills. Lastly, networking is a key factor. Get mentors while you are in college.

A great source of mentors could be your professors. Build a great relationship with your professors while in college. 

For more details about median salary and other characteristics of professional financial advisors click here.

A leader in providing career-focused education since 1931, Berkeley College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and enrolls more than 7,100 students – including more than 440 international students – in its Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Associate’s degree and Certificate programs. Students can study in more than 20 career fields. Berkeley College is comprised of the Larry L. Luing School of Business®, the School of Professional Studies, the School of Health Studies and the School of Liberal Arts. The School of Graduate Studies offers an MBA in Management online and in Woodland Park, NJ.


Berkeley College has three New York campuses – Midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn and White Plains. In New Jersey there are four campuses – Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge and Woodland Park. Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. For five consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans. The website address is


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