Syracuse UniversityWashington, DC

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    Jim Rosenheim ’64

    Jim Rosenheim ’64

    Q: Tell us about your career path and where you are today.

    A: After my SU graduation, I attended law school for two years, found it not to my liking, and did an MBA at American University. I went to graduate school at night while working in the family jewelry business during the day in order to pay for school. When I completed my MBA in 1968, interest rates were 20% and there were no jobs in my major, real estate. I asked to stay working in the family business with the idea of pursuing a commercial real estate career when the market turned, but once I was fully into the business, I chose to stay and make it my career. I am currently CEO of Tiny Jewel Box. The business has evolved into one of America’s best-known independent retail brands having been awarded numerous awards within the jewelry industry.

    Q: How did your SU experience prepare you for your career?

    A: I was a political science major at Syracuse with a minor in art history. I took a wide variety of courses outside the Maxwell School to broaden my general knowledge and to fulfill the educational requirement of the University. The art history courses gave me particular knowledge applicable to my career. They taught me about the evolution of culture and style, which is highly applicable to the understanding of the stylistic changes in jewelry through the ages. More importantly, I learned that the one constant in life and business is change. In the world of today it has allowed me to embrace change, stay current with those changes, and adapt the direction of my business to stay relevant. Also, the broad education I received has allowed me to interact with my clients on many different levels and subjects, not just jewelry. This is most important in dealing with educated and well-traveled individuals.

    Q: Looking back, what SU experiences have been the most meaningful to you?

    A: Learning to meet and deal with a wide variety of individuals and many different circumstances has prepared me for the many challenges I have faced in my business career and in life for the past 50+ years since my graduation.

    Q: Why do you feel that it is important to remain connected to the alumni network and the University?

    A: I must admit that over the years I have lost touch with most of the people that I knew at SU. I think this is a loss, as I have watched my son, Matthew (also an SU grad), enjoy the relationships he made while at college.

    Q: What advice would you give students? 

    A: College is one of the major steppingstones in life. Try to take full advantage of all the opportunities offered to you—academically, culturally, socially, etc. College is a time for real growth. Embrace the differences in people and circumstances around you, even if you are unsure of yourself. It is a great preparation to the variety of experiences and circumstances that you are sure to face in life.

    Matthew Rosenheim ’92

    Matthew Rosenheim ’92

    Q: Tell us about your career path and where you are today.

    A: After graduating from SU, I went on to study for my Gemological degree at the Gemological Institute of America. My plan was to work in the diamond industry in New York prior to returning to work. That plan changed when my family decided to acquire a building and do a major expansion. I moved back to Washington, DC, to work in the family business. I played many roles in the business over the years, and now I own the business and run the day-to-day activities of the business. We have just recently gone through another significant expansion adding over 8,000 square feet to our existing footprint, which puts the size of our operation over 20,000 square feet. Expansion has occurred across all areas of our business from product categories to our own in-house manufacturing and watch making facilities.

    Q: How did your SU experience prepare you for your career?

    A: When I went to Syracuse, I knew that I both cared about and enjoyed my family business. However, I wasn’t fully committed and really wanted the opportunity to explore other areas of interest and career paths through my studies. While I chose to study political science (a natural area of interest for a kid who grew up in DC where national politics are our local politics), it didn’t turn out to be my career path. What I loved about my SU education was the flexibility it provided. I was allowed to take classes in art and art history, business and management, as well as an amazing array of classes in my major. While my major didn’t end up relating directly to my career path, being able to understand and converse intelligently with major political players (who made up an important part of our client base) over a broad array of topics was a huge advantage in relationship building, and it continues to be very valuable today.

    Q: Looking back, what SU experiences have been the most meaningful to you?

    A: I studied abroad at SU in Florence. The program was amazing and completely opened my eyes to the world, and it made things seem possible that previously seemed unattainable or at least very far-fetched. The program inspired me and built resilience in learning how to live and navigate in a foreign country where my language skills were very limited.

    Additionally, my involvement in my fraternity continues to resonate in terms of the contacts and relationships I made and still maintain. A case in point occurred just recently. Unfortunately, a close fraternity brother is currently very sick with cancer. We had a large gathering outside of New York where people flew in from all over the country to show support, something that was amazing in and of itself. As I looked around the room, I realized that I had leaned on those people over the years in many different ways. Many I had conducted business with; one had worked for me as an attorney in another state. One referred me to resources to help care for an ailing family member. The tentacles of my SU network were and continue to be far-reaching and meaningful.

    Q: Why do you feel that it is important to remain connected to the alumni network and the University?

    A: The alumni network here in Washington is very strong, as is the case in many other cities. When you have a group of people with shared experiences and a common passion, it’s just natural to want to engage and help those people. The walls are broken down so much more easily than other circumstances. We all want to help open the door for one another and to see the University and its alumni do well and succeed in life. Helping just perpetuates the success of a place we all hold dear.

    Q: What advice would you give students? 

    A: Put yourself in situations outside your comfort zone because this is where lots of growth occurs. Take advantage of the great opportunities Syracuse provides to engage with SU students and alumni, and don’t be shy to ask them to share experiences, knowledge, and connections. Create unique experiences for yourself that will help guide your future development.

    Q: How did being an Orange legacy impact your Syracuse experience, and how have you continued to stay involved as an alum?

    A: Being a legacy helped created a strong initial emotional connection to Syracuse and also created a common bond with my father and eventual business partner. I think I used my dad’s college experiences he shared with me to help guide my own path. When my Dad, who hadn’t studied abroad but really thought it would be a great experience for me, discussed the option with me, I was initially reluctant to leave campus. He reached out to a former classmate of his from Syracuse he knew and was still in touch with who had studied in Florence. This person took the time to speak with me about the amazing experience she had, and it really helped convince me to take the leap and go to Florence. She also wrote me a great letter of recommendation that I’m sure helped as well! There’s that great alumni network at work again!