Alumnus Moore from First Commonwealth Bank Speaks to Economics Students

Posted on 3/5/2018 2:27:54 PM

On February 28, 2018, Caleb Moore, a 2007 IUP alumnus with double majors in economics and finance, spoke to a classroom jam-packed with economics students. He opened the meeting by noting, “I wish I’d taken more advantage of guest speakers when I was here at IUP.”

Caleb Moore (left) and James Jozefowicz, professor of economics. Moore took Jozefowicz’s Introduction to Econometrics course during his undergraduate career at IUP.

Caleb is vice president of credit systems at First Commonwealth Bank in Indiana, Pennsylvania. His team of five highly skilled professionals calculates the Allowance for Loan and Lease Losses (ALLL), which is the largest estimate in the bank, as well as creating financial/forecast models and advanced reports, and leading various projects across the institution. Caleb assumed his current position in 2010. He previously held various analyst positions at S&T Bank, worked as a derivatives operations specialist at BNY Mellon, and conducted market research at TNS.

Having worked at organizations of different sizes, Caleb emphasized the advantages of operating in a different culture in a smaller organization. Although First Commonwealth Bank is a $7-billion financial institution, Caleb noted that he can walk right up to the CEO or president or COO of the bank and hold a conversation. He explained that such access to higher level management provides employees with the unique opportunity to demonstrate their talent and how they excel in their positions.

With regard to constructing a résumé, Caleb encouraged the students to find ways to stand out among the other applicants. To that end, he recommended offering quantitative information in order to provide insights to a potential employer. For example, Caleb suggested specifying the number of members in a group for which a student serves as an officer or identifying the amount of cash for which a student had responsibility. Caleb also advised students to “own the parts of their past,” whether that be a minimum wage job during college or a “blemish” on their transcript. As someone who worked his own way through IUP, Caleb explained that minimum wage jobs are nothing to be embarrassed by on your résumé.

When a student asked Caleb, “What can we work on most?” he underscored the importance of being humble and advised, “don’t act like you know it all.” Caleb explained that a potential employee should demonstrate a willingness and desire to learn and possess honesty, motivation, and intelligence. When another attendee asked what he would go back and tell his “college self” given his existing career experience, Caleb stressed the importance of networking if it is done with integrity.

In response to the question, “Would you say you use your economics or your finance background more in your current position?” Caleb acknowledged that his job is a “mixed bag” of using economics and finance, but he highlighted the importance of the multistage thinking skills specifically emphasized in economics coursework in problem-solving. Caleb noted “economics works everywhere” and said, “If I had to choose [between economics and finance], I’d lean toward economics.”

Caleb especially underlined the vital role that faculty in the IUP Department of Economics can play in starting off a student’s career. He stressed that students have four to five years to make an impression on their professors, and that students should take advantage of those opportunities. Caleb pointed out how he shares a long history with the faculty members in the Department of Economics, and how he knows that they only refer highly regarded students to him for internship and employment prospects.

Caleb said, “I would consider granting an interview to a candidate whose résumé was written on a napkin if the economics faculty recommended them!” However, he added that it would be up to the student to impress him during the interview. On that point, Caleb asked the group, “Are you trying to take every interview you can get?” He encouraged the students to acquire as much interviewing experience as possible in order to avoid “bombing” the one interview for the job they really want.

Once the first job is landed, Caleb advised the students to “kill it” to create more opportunities in the future. He warned that some new recruits do only what they are told, but then expect to be promoted presumably just on the basis of the length of their tenure. Caleb recommended that new employees go above and beyond what they are asked to do. He also encouraged students to specifically ask for a change if they are not thrilled with their position rather than remaining stuck indefinitely.

Currently, Caleb is president of the Indiana County YMCA and serves on the board of his church. Looking ahead, Caleb plans to complete his remaining semesters of the Executive MBA program offered by IUP. He praised the convenience of the Saturday-only program for a working professional and expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to learn not only from IUP faculty members, but also from the other students in his cohort. Caleb also noted that First Commonwealth Bank offers financial support to its employees for advanced study.

Photo: Caleb Moore (left) and James Jozefowicz, professor of economics. Moore took Jozefowicz’s Introduction to Econometrics course during his undergraduate career at IUP.