On February 3, 1980, only a few weeks after graduating from Baruch College, Vince Masi began an entry-level job at IBM. Fast forward 40 years and Mr. Masi is still at IBM—a four-decade-long career that he describes as anything but boring.
“Though IBM is one company,” explains Masi, “it comprises several unique businesses, all with different missions and deliverables. So it’s not as if I’ve been working the same job every day for 40 years. It’s been exciting, constantly changing, and challenging.”
Indeed, change has been the hallmark of his IBM career. The alumnus estimates that he changed roles every 18 months during his first two decades at Big Blue and, since becoming an executive, he’s continued to take on new roles every two or three years. His areas of responsibility have encompassed functions from accounting to finance, and everything in between, culminating in his most recent position, vice president for global accounting and controls.
“What’s amazing is that I’m still learning every day,” says Masi, who also serves as treasurer of the Baruch College Fund, the fundraising arm of the College. In his current role at IBM, about 1,500 people report to him (“not directly,” he laughs). Responsibilities include oversight of far-flung accounting centers in Kuala Lumpur, Bratislava, and Buenos Aires. “Everything has become much more global than when I started.”
In fact, the Brooklyn native’s career has taken him all across the world, including to Australia, Hong Kong, Germany, France, and Brazil.
Sticking with a company for 40 years is something today’s aspiring professionals should consider. For starters, Masi says, you can build a reputation that leads to continued advancement. With that in mind, he advises today’s students
to think differently about their first job interviews.
“You should always ask the interviewer, ‘Two years from now, what opportunities will be presented?’” Masi notes. “‘And what about five years? Or 10?’ You should leave the interview not only with a sense of that job, but with a sense of what opportunities will be there for you down the road. And if there aren’t many, that first job might not be the right fit.”