By Tracey Jackson – Career Advisor / Empl0yee Relations Manager – Tulane University

For many seniors, the reality check has finally come! Senior year is a reality check because it is filled with many transitions.

Derrick Strozier - Tulane University

Derrick Strozier

Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana

Major: Double major in Finance and Business Management

Hometown: Orlando, Florida

Employer/Location:  Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, New Orleans, Louisiana

Job Title:  Financial Advisor


A day after graduating from Tulane in May of 2014, I was fortunate enough to continue my career as a football player when the New Orleans Saints signed me as an undrafted rookie free agent.  Although my time with the Saints didn’t last as long as I would’ve liked, I learned a great deal and developed some great relationships on the team and in the community, just as I did in college.  Little did I know, those same connections would later play a key role in providing me an opportunity to network and open new doors that ultimately led me to land my dream job. Unlike many of the guys I came into the NFL with, I had a backup plan.  With a BSM in finance and business management I knew there were tons of career opportunities out there for me, I just didn’t know exactly which one I would enjoy the most.


Once I began to brainstorm, I knew that deep down in my heart whatever career path I chose I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others.  Then that’s when it dawned on me.  My experience in the NFL opened my eyes up to a world I never saw prior to being signed by the Saints.  Never before in my life have I been around so many individuals that close to me who made millions of dollars.  Unfortunately not all of these guys were making the best decisions with their money.  I want to enable individuals such as these professional athletes, who make a great deal of money to invest it wisely to ensure that their future financial situation is just as stable, if not more, than their current financial situation.


After doing vast research on the industry, I began to develop a list of the top-tier wealth management firms I’d like to work for and made an effort to get in touch with the HR department of each.  It was tough just to get an interview over the phone but I didn’t give up.  Networking was the key, so I began to reach out to my former AD at Tulane as well as to multiple successful alumni.  These very short emails turned into long discussions by phone, which led to even more contacts, which led to lunch meetings with these contacts, and eventually I was in a position where I’d made so many new connections that I knew at least one employee who was in an upper-level, managerial role and worked at the top 3 firms on my list. Lo and behold through that networking I was able to land an interview with Merrill Lynch in the New Orleans, Louisiana area.


By the time I had that interview, I had already spoken with and developed personal relationships with multiple senior advisors in the office, the director of the office (whom I had my interview with), as well as some clients who he used to manage that played in the NFL for the Saints.  I was given an offer shortly after the interview.  Now I have the opportunity to do something I have a passion for, make a difference in the lives of others, and use my educational background in finance as well as the relationships I’ve built through football to make a living.  It’s really a blessing.


In conclusion, to make a long story short, as I’m sure it has been stressed and emphasized more than anything; networking really is one of the most simple, yet valuable tools we have at our discretion.  Use it wisely and the possibilities are endless.  I am a great testimony to that fact.  Also, I want to say that once you have a plan, don’t deter from that just because things aren’t looking good for you at the time.  Keep your faith, work hard, and don’t settle.  Those are three things I recommend in achieving your goals and landing that dream job you’ve always wanted.
Tracey Jackson - Tulane Career Services


Tracey Jackson

Career Advisor/ Employer Relations Manager

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA


For many seniors, the reality check has finally come! Senior year is a reality check because it is filled with many transitions. Transitions that are known and unknown.  This year is filled with excitement and possibly life altering decisions.  There are resources, preparation and guidance that I offer the students to make this time of their lives exciting and smooth.


The career journey begins with first meeting with a career advisor to assess their career goals and expectations. This meeting might consist of directing the student to take a career assessment or it might mean directing students to research potential employers.  Students are directed to ask themselves questions such as:  What jobs or job titles are you most interested in?  Where do I want to live? What kind of life style do I want?


Creating the essential tools that are needed to network and job search are very important. Creating a resume, cover letter and business cards are the key elements needed. It is also very important to have a career advisor critique the documents to make sure they are great representation of the student.  This is a student’s opportunity to share with an employer what they have to offer.  Next prepare for interviews by participating in mock interviews and practicing answering typical questions ask by an employer.  Shine during your interviews and relax…put on your “game face”…smile!  A career advisor will provide information about dressing for success and making the first great impression.


Students are encouraged to attend on campus information sessions and career panels. Attending on campus information session may facilitate other career directions. Networking is essential to job search success. Students are directed and encouraged to attend networking events. Then students develop a 30-second elevator speech or what we like to call your own 30-second commercial that students can use in a variety of situations to introduce themselves and what they have to offer.   Students are encouraged to NETWORK! Network and do more networking with all the contacts they can develop.


It is also very important to attend career fair opportunities! A career fair is an event that will help a student to meet recruiters and ask questions about available opportunities. Next students are asked …what do your online presences look like? Manage your Google, Facebook and any social media. Make sure your online presence is very positive. Create a professional profile on and make sure that the information is appropriate and professional. Also make sure all photos are professional.  While a student is going through the process of the job search, there are opportunities provided for employers to host on-campus interviews, on-campus information sessions, employee of the day and more.


Finally DON’T GIVE UP!! Stay focus and Stay Connected!