Name: Mark Kessler
Title: Senior Financial Analyst
Q: What is your role at Comcast? Name, title and what your role is at Comcast?
A: As a Senior Financial Analyst with Comcast in the Procurement group, my role entails analyzing company financials, tracking the P&L on a monthly basis and creating custom reports detailing our spend with specific companies or groups within Comcast.
Q: What is one unexpected thing that has happened to you in your career that has led to a positive change?
A: I guess you could say that moving back to Philadelphia from New York was both unexpected and very positive. New York is a great place for the young professional, with a great deal to do and many opportunities to network. For me though, I could never feel at home there, as I am a Philly guy through and through. My experience in New York really allowed me to grow and learn how to be a professional. Being at AIG when they went through their turmoil was definitely an eye opening experience, but it was when I moved back to Philly and started a job with Comcast where I really found my footing. There is so much to do in Philadelphia and, yet, at the same time, it is so livable, and of course there is always the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Sixers (even in a bad season). Perhaps it is why one of the world’s leading international companies, Comcast, founded in Philadelphia, has remained in Philadelphia. I am happy to be back in Philadelphia, the leading city in the country, with Comcast, the leading telecommunications company in the world.
Q: How did you transition from the financial services industry (Goldman Sachs and AIG) to the telecommunications industry (Comcast)?
A: Actually the transition, while significant, is not as extensive as it might otherwise seem. Certainly, in moving from financial services and investment banking to telecommunications, I have had a whole new learning experience with respect to the telecommunications industry, the corporate culture at Comcast and issues unique to that industry and to Comcast. On the other hand, the main foundation for what I did at both Goldman and AIG and what I do at Comcast is financial analysis, utilizing finance based principles. In addition, Goldman Sachs, AIG and Comcast compete, in a sense, for the best and the brightest.
Q: What advice would you give YPNers who are looking to transition to a new industry?
A: Once again, transitioning to a new industry does not necessarily mean not relying upon the same principles and knowledge base. It does very much mean learning and being dedicated to learn a new industry and a new company, and showing those around you that you are dedicated to learning that industry. That means not being afraid to ask questions and seek advice from those with whom you work, and it also means a fair amount of reading and research outside of work about your new industry.
Q: When friends or colleagues come to the Philadelphia area to live or visit, what places, foods or entertainment do you recommend?
A: Well as a sports fanatic I would be remiss if I did not suggest that you take in a game at the sports complex. There is really nothing else like it, having all four teams playing in one area and the new Philly Live! Complex is an amazing place to take in a game. I am also a sucker for Chickie’s and Pete’s and a trip down to Passyunk for a cheesesteak at Pat’s or Geno’s, as well as Jim’s on South Street. If you are looking to spend a little though, my favorite restaurant at the moment is Osteria.
Q: What is your experience with YPN?
A: My YPN experience is relatively new, and it includes some introductory meetings with staff and with other members and some networking events. I very much look forward to getting more involved in YPN sponsored events.
Q: How has YPN affected you as a professional?
A: I think that any organization, but particularly one dedicated to business like YPN’s parent, the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, will help me grow both within the Comcast corporate culture and in the more general Philadelphia business community. I have met other young business people, making me more confident and secure that I do have a future in the Philadelphia business world. Although I do have confidence in my networking skills, meeting other young business people who have similar interests and who are also looking to get ahead in this community has sharpened those networking skills.
Q: What do you like most about what YPN has to offer?
A: Although I am fortunate to have a number of friends both at Comcast and outside Comcast, we are all looking to expand our relationships and our networks. It is fun and interesting to learn about what my peers do in other industries and comparing some of the issues and challenges we all face in our work places. We are very fortunate that Philadelphia offers a plethora of organizations available to young members of the business community, but I truly believe that given the leadership that has come out of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, YPN offers the greatest opportunities.