Art Cherry, BS’76

Art Cherry first entered the financial world through his Northeastern co-op as an entry-level employee at New England Merchants National Bank. This experience became the foundation for a lifelong career in the financial-services industry.

Cherry, who was determined to gain exposure to all aspects of the banking business, stayed with the bank throughout his years at Northeastern. Looking back, he has no regrets. Not only did he learn the ins and outs of an industry that would one day become his livelihood, but he also met his wife of 31 years.

Cherry's first co-op required some careful counting. He worked in a windowless vault, filling bags with hundreds of millions of dollars. "I filled and shipped orders for corresponding banks," recalls Cherry, who worked at the bank 40 hours a week while going to school full time. He eventually earned a B.S. in Business Management from the College of Business Administration.

"It's rare that a graduate is offered a management position right out of college. Most graduates start their careers in an entry level position. With Northeastern's co-op program, I had the opportunity, while still in school, to work at ground level. Or in my case, below ground. When I finished the co-op program, I had an offer in management. I can't say enough about Northeastern's co-op program."

Cherry stayed with the bank for another six years after graduation and then went on to work for several companies, including Scudder, Stevens & Clark and Federated Investors. He capped his career by founding his own company within the financial-services industry.

Cherry urges current Northeastern students to see each co-op as a learning experience. While carefully balancing school and work, Cherry learned essential people skills that served him well throughout his life.  "I worked with people from all different backgrounds and nationalities, from all corners of the world."

His advice: "Learn every single day, from everyone. Really try to adapt to whatever cultures you come in contact with. The world is getting smaller, and a person's ability to adapt to other people and other cultures is paramount."