Q: Why did you decide to enroll at Northeastern University's D'Amore-McKim School of Business?
A: I was so confident that Northeastern was the university for me that I applied early decision, and I haven't looked back since. Choosing D'Amore-McKim was an easy choice because of the International Business and co-op programs. Having the opportunity to do an expatriate year with a partner school truly distinguishes our International Business program from other universities and was a major factor in my decision. I knew that the International Business major combined with co-op would give me a wealth of real-world experiences upon graduation, and thus far that has proven true. In addition, I was drawn to all the great aspects of Northeastern like the location, campus, and great people.
Q: What is your major and what are your concentrations?
A: My major is International Business and I have a concentration in Marketing. I also have a minor in Spanish.
Q: How has your Spanish minor complemented your studies?
A: My Spanish minor has been such a great complement to my studies because it has helped me to have a more interdisciplinary education in college and has served in practical ways. My Spanish minor was a perfect decision for studying abroad in Spain and fit well with my International Business studies. However, it has also been amazing to help switch up my course load from strictly business classes and use a different type of thinking. My Spanish classes have required me to completely switch my brain and think critically, and many of those aspects have been a complement to my business studies.
Q: Tell us about your co-op experience at Deloitte.
A: My co-op experience at Deloitte has been one of the most influential experiences in my college career. I interned with Deloitte in Spring of 2019 and 2021 for my first and third co-ops, respectively. In these co-ops I worked in Audit & Assurance during the busy season for our external audit clients.
In my first experience, I worked with four different clients around the Boston area and saw a variety of industries and company sizes. After my first co-op I was able to experience “Deloitte University,” which is their training facility in Texas. This facility is breathtaking, and for three days I got to learn more about the company, audit, and leadership which was amazing.
In my most recent experience, I stayed with one client for the duration of the co-op, which allowed me to really form a connection with my team and take on work typical of an entry-level associate. I was happy to see what a short amount of time on an audit looks like, as well as getting to really dive in deep and learn about the client and industry.
Audit is a very fascinating profession and requires determination, a hard-work ethic, and critical analysis. Working during busy season is not easy, but it taught me how to push through to the finish line, communicate effectively, and what my true priorities are in life. My co-ops at Deloitte have truly been the best preparation for a full-time career that I could have asked for.
Q: Tell us about your co-op experience at Liberty Seguros. What was the international experience like on co-op?
A: Working at Liberty Segruos, a Spain-based subsidiary of Liberty Mutual, was extremely different from my co-ops at Deloitte. This co-op was in Madrid and I worked in capital and risk management, which dealt with financial planning, accounting, and year-end reporting. My job was primarily in Spanish, and I learned so much about the insurance industry and the backside of reporting in a short time. Whereas my other co-ops were client-facing, this role was in-house and gave me the opportunity to see how those two areas of business differ.
Working at a global co-op in a non-native language was something that tested my strength greatly. My time was filled with highs and lows; there were moments where I felt like I was in the wrong place and others where my smile couldn't be contained. My coworkers were some of the greatest people I have ever met and were super patient with me and made such an effort to integrate the team. Oftentimes after working in another language, I would go home mentally exhausted, but I saw a huge improvement in my conversational fluency and my understanding.
Unfortunately, this co-op ended up only being eight weeks due to the pandemic, but in that time I learned so much about who I was as a person and worker. It was incredible to see how comfortable I felt in such a short time, and I often think about what it could have been like had I stayed the entire time.
Q: What was it like living and working abroad? How did this experience enhance your cultural agility and understanding of international business?
A: Living and working abroad was absolutely life-changing and something I will never forget. As mentioned in my previous answer, it is really a test of strength to be an expatriate. In my international business classes, we spent a good amount of time talking through expatriation and culture shock and I didn't realize how similar my experiences were to those of a textbook. When I first arrived, I thought I had made a mistake, but having an amazing network of other Northeastern students by my side really helped the transition.
In my first semester in Madrid in fall 2019, I studied at Universidad Pontificia Comillas-ICADE. Taking classes in another language and working with students from Spain, Ireland, France, Germany, and Italy taught me about so many other cultures and how to bridge cultural gaps. After this experience I am now able to look at business problems with a world-view and see how potential solutions affect not only the United States, but the world.
My favorite story to show my progress abroad was coming back to Spain after winter break. In January I returned back to Spain for the second semester and got off the plane, went right to the metro, and navigated to my apartment. While this is not significant, it was such a contrast from my initial arrival in August. In this time, I just smiled because of how I was able to make Madrid my temporary home and become comfortable with living abroad.
International business is something that can be studied, but I believe that living and working abroad was the cornerstone of my education and brought the textbook to life.
Q: You had to leave Seguros early due to the pandemic. Tell us what that was like.
A: The best way I can describe what it was like leaving Spain during the pandemic is that on Monday morning I was in-person at work and Friday night I was going to bed in my childhood bedroom. In the 5-day span there was so much confusion, chaos, and lack of information because everyone was in a situation they had never seen before. When President Trump announced a travel ban, every expatriate and tourist scrambled to find tickets home. The airline seats were going so quickly that if you didn't book within a couple seconds, the seat was already gone. The flight home was scary and everyone was confused on what landing in JFK would be like. It's odd to think that on that flight no one was wearing a mask and how different life is now.
While I wasn't the only one scrambling to get home in March of 2020, trying to get home from a different country amplified the struggle. I know it is not unique that my 2020 didn't go as planned, but it was heartbreaking to leave such an amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with little closure. I haven't been back to Spain since then, but now that I am fully vaccinated and it is open to tourists, I am hoping to return sometime in 2021 for a trip.
Q: What is the biggest takeaway you have from your co-op experiences so far?
A: The biggest takeaway from my co-op experience, and something that I would have balked at three years ago, is that there is just as much worth in finding what you don't like as what you do like. I originally was a dual concentration in accounting and marketing, but after working in accounting and finance roles, I realized that my passion lay in marketing. It was scary to come to this realization in my fourth year at school. but I knew that I needed to seize the opportunity and follow what I am passionate about before it's too late. In my co-op experiences, I learned that I love client-facing work and how to work both in an office and virtually. I also learned about grit, professionalism, and attention to detail which are all skills I can use in any career.
Although I will not be starting my career in accounting like I had planned, I will never regret my co-op experiences. Having knowledge about SEC reporting, income statements, and balance sheets is so important for a long-term career in business and helped me become a person who can analyze numbers but also has a creative side. I think so many people get discouraged if they don't find the “perfect co-op,” but I have learned that working hard, building relationships, and soaking in all you can is the most valuable part of any co-op.
Q: Tell us about your involvement with Delta Sigma Pi.
A: I have been involved with Delta Sigma Pi since my first semester on campus and it is now almost synonymous with my university experience. Delta Sigma Pi is a professional co-ed fraternity that is for business and economic majors. We host events internally and on-campus in all different areas such as community service, professional events, and faculty appreciation events. Our four pillars are community service, professionalism, scholarship, and brotherhood, which is displayed by the events we host and the community we have formed. I am so thankful because DSP has given me my best friends and the people I turn to when I need personal and professional advice.
Beyond being a member, I have been heavily involved with the executive committee for six semesters and served in four roles. In my first year, I became the Vice President of Community Service, in my second year I served as Vice President of Finance, and in my fourth year I served as the Vice President. Even when I was abroad, I still made sure to be involved and worked remotely on whatever I could help with from Spain. In my fifth year, I am taking on the President role and am so excited to use all my experience to lead an amazing executive committee and take our organization to the next level.
Q: Tell us about founding and leading Out in Business. What has that experience been like during the pandemic?
A: Founding Out in Business has been such a pleasure, and although it has required hard-work, I couldn't be more proud of the progress we made. The idea for Out in Business was brought to me by my friend Brian Miller, who was also talking with Sabrina Pangione, and Max Rampulla, all friends of mine. We started conversations in February of 2020 and then when the worst of the pandemic hit, we went full steam ahead during quarantine. All four of us put in countless hours to get the club off the ground, and in the past year have grown to over 50 members. This past year was not easy because all of our programming was virtual, and we didn't have any built-in connections before COVID-19. However, we successfully pushed through and can't wait to see everyone in person and hold community meetings to build the club even more.
My co-founders and I started this club to address the lack of an LGBTQIA+ space in the business school and I have been overcome with emotion at the outpouring of support and affirmation we have received. Having these conversations of what it means to be out in business are so hard and often not talked about, but we are pushing for recognition and comfortability in all spaces on campus and on co-op. Our club still has much more progress to make in terms of diversity and membership, but I am so happy with what we have and can't wait to make it even better.
Q: Why is club and organization membership so important for students?
A: Being so involved with clubs and organizations on campus has been one of the most important things I have done at Northeastern and something I couldn't imagine my experience without. Joining a club is one of the best ways to meet people and build friendships and there is basically a club for every interest. I have made some of my best friends in clubs, and it has kept me connected to the Northeastern community whether I am abroad, home for the summer, or just on winter break. In addition to friendships, business clubs help you expand your network of people, some of whom may be your future colleagues.
The other important aspect about club membership is the opportunity to lead a group of people. Joining a club and being on the executive board helps you learn how you lead, how you want to be led, and effective methods of time management and delegation. In the future as our careers progress, we will all be expected to be leaders and bosses in the workplace without any prior experience, which can seem daunting. However, leading a club has many transferable skills that apply to the real world, and it has taught me so much about my leadership style and the ways in which I tackle a project. Being involved in a club helped me learn about working in a group and managing time and expectations even before I started my first co-op, helping me become a better worker.
I can't even begin to think about what my Northeastern experience would look like without being so heavily involved on campus and I recommend it to any student, especially if it is your first year.
Q: Tell us about your experience with the PAC Mentor Program. Why did you want to get involved?
A: Serving as a PAC mentor in the Fall 2020 semester was an amazing experience because it was the first time this program had ever existed and was very valuable to those who participated. I co-led a group of eight first year students who identified within the LGBTQIA+ community and helped them navigate the first semester through check-ins, workshops, and community building. The first semester in college can be one of the hardest times for a person, especially during a pandemic. I wanted to get involved because I felt that I was finally ready to give back and share my knowledge and experience with others. Things that have become second nature, like class registration, can seem difficult and hard to navigate without help. I wanted to be able to pass that knowledge to other people and share my experiences to help others. Seeing all of my mentees flourish in the semester was super rewarding and I am happy I participated in this program, which allowed me to meet so many amazing people.
Q: What will you be sharing with our community this week during your takeover?
A: This week I am so excited to share pictures from my last four years including my time abroad, student involvement, and all the amazing memories I have had at Northeastern!