A Master Class in Success from Raymond J. McGuire

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Alongside several entertainment moguls, Jay-Z chose one person to lead New York City as mayor in 2021: Raymond J. McGuire. Following a momentous campaign, McGuire transitioned his vast leadership experience and multifaceted expertise to global financial advisory and asset management leader, Lazard, where he now serves as president.

On April 4, McGuire shared his expertise and strategies for success in the business world with a full house of Lehman students and alumni in his master class, “What It Takes to Be Successful in Business.” The talk was moderated by Dene Hurley, dean of the Lehman College School of Business.

Watch Ray McGuire’s master class

McGuire spoke candidly about failures and career setbacks he experienced, and explained how he used these as learning experiences in a highly competitive job market where good grades and strong skills are no guarantee. “You gotta have game” to get recognition, he said. “Invest in yourself—you cannot take this for granted.”

A good start is to be well informed, McGuire advised. If students can spend enough time with a Drake song to remember the lyrics, he said, they can reserve time daily for reading and digesting news from multiple sources.

Asked about diversity in the business world, he looked out at the audience. ”The best team looks a lot like who’s in this room, he said. “Diverse, curious, hungry, wanting to win—that, to me, is the definition of inclusion.”

McGuire’s distinguished career includes prominent leadership roles at top financial firms, notably a 13-year term as Citigroup’s Global Head of Corporate and Investment Banking—the longest tenure for this position in the history of Wall Street.

“We are honored to have an industry leader like Raymond McGuire share his invaluable insights with our students,” said Lehman President Fernando Delgado. “Interactions such as these help bridge the gap between the classroom and the real world and give access to a population of students that usually would not come face to face with global leaders like President McGuire.”

The impact of McGuire’s visit to Lehman was mutual. "I could not have been more inspired and hopeful having spent an afternoon with some of the most insightful, talented, and ambitious students of the next generation," he said of his visit.