CFO, The American Organic Tobacco Company
Favorite class at VSB and why?
It’s a tie between Mergers & Acquisitions with Gerard Olson, and Policy & Corporate Strategy. M&A class was the most informative, fast-paced, and relevant class for my chosen career track. On top of that, I have fond memories of learning business principles and philosophical arguments from Dr. Olson. Five stars all around. Corporate Strategy helped me understand the political and interpersonal dynamics in business, which are absolutely relevant in today’s business environment, and the case studies concerning corporate intelligence gathering, product launch, and competitive dynamics were simply invaluable to me.
Most important thing you learned?
It is critical to have a fundamental understanding of the key philosophical questions surrounding business decisions, and then to know where your principles and ethics stand firm in order to make your own reasoned decisions when you are given (or take) the responsibility to lead.
Favorite Villanova memory?
At Villanova: Intramural soccer and attending Wildcats games at the Pavilion. I find that explaining how deeply we bond together as a whole school during basketball season is very challenging—it's a very profound feeling.
Outside campus: Showing up my first day on my study abroad in Shanghai, when I discovered that the Chinese family I was meant to live with spoke no English, and I spoke almost no Mandarin.
What are you currently reading?
Influence, by Robert Cialdini. Cialdini is one of the classic writers on sales, persuasion and interpersonal relationships. Excellent book—no matter who you are, you will gain a lot of value from Influence.