2019 MBAs To Watch: Christopher Costello, New York University (Stern)

Christopher Costello

New York University, Stern School of Business

“Boston, veteran, big sports guy, passionate about hanging out with friends, love you, mom.”

Hometown: Weymouth, MA

Fun fact about yourself: Played quarterback for NYU Stern’s 2018 MBA Flag Football National Championship team

Undergraduate School and Degree: United States Coast Guard Academy, BS in Business Management

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school?  Before enrolling in business school, I was a Coast Guard Lieutenant serving as a Team Leader at the Department of Homeland Security’s Maritime Security Response Team. The main objective of this job was to protect the United States from coastal threats and combat transnational organized crime in international waters.

Prior to this role, I served as a maritime law enforcement officer and deck watch officer onboard Coast Guard Cutter Sherman, a warship responsible for search and rescue and counter-narcotics patrols on the west coast of the U.S.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018?  Google, Mountain View, CA

Where will you be working after graduation? PricewaterhouseCoopers, Delivering Deal Value, Mergers & Acquisitions Consulting

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • President, Military Veterans Club
  • Vice President of Casing Initiatives, Management Consulting Association
  • Member, Stern Private Equity Club
  • Member, Stern Technology Association
  • Member, Fertitta Veterans Program

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? An extracurricular achievement I’m especially proud of is the charity drives I’ve helped coordinate as president of the Military Veterans Club. During my time at Stern, we raised over $20,000 for charities including Toys for Tots and the Rangers Lead the Way Foundation. Being able to give back and motivate my classmates to do the same has been an extremely fulfilling experience.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? The achievement I am most proud of in my professional career so far is becoming a Team Leader at the Maritime Security Response Team, my last job in the Coast Guard. The privilege of being a part of this exceptional unit had to be earned daily. Though I was in a leadership role and responsible for my team’s operations and professional development, I also gained so much through reverse mentorship. I learned a great deal about leadership, physical and mental perseverance, and adaptability from my experience there. Those experiences have and will continue to serve me well in the business world.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? I’ve been fortunate to have many outstanding and accomplished professors at NYU Stern, but Professor Richard Hendler, who taught my Business Law class, truly stands out. He’s passionate about teaching and cares about each student on an academic, professional and personal level. Additionally, Professor Hendler worked directly with Stern’s Military Veterans Club this year in promoting a dunk tank fundraiser that sent all proceeds to veteran families in need.

What was your favorite MBA Course? My favorite MBA course was Decision Models and Analytics with Professor David Juran. One of my biggest goals in coming to business school was to become stronger in data analysis and data-driven decision-making. Professor Juran does a great job of making sure each student comes away with tangible skills and a more analytical approach to problem-solving. Next year I’ll definitely use Solver and Crystal Ball to help draft my fantasy football team.

Why did you choose this business school? The relationships I built at Stern during the application process were a huge part of why I came to NYU. Veterans in the program reached out to me multiple times and personally hosted me in the city. Plus, there’s no place like New York City – I’ve loved living here for the past two years.

With the implementation of the Fertitta Veterans Program, which offers scholarship, academic and professional support to U.S. military veterans, NYU Stern has positioned itself to be the top full-time MBA program for veterans in the whole country. This program shows how much the administration values the veteran presence at Stern.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? My best advice to applicants is to really be able to articulate Why Stern? Become familiar with classes, clubs, employment reports, etc., and be able to speak to how these Stern-specific opportunities align with your personal and professional goals. Stern is a competitive program to get into, so be able to speak to what you might offer the Stern community. What do you want to bring to your class? How do you work in teams? How would you make the most of two years at the best MBA program in New York City?

What is the biggest myth about your school? Anyone who has read about applying to Stern might have heard that the MBAs are not tight-knit, but all of that is fake news! My class is super close. It’s been awesome getting to know my classmates, whether it was through case interview preparation or traveling to Australia on a Stern “Doing Business in…” course together. So many of my classmates have gone out of their way to help me academically and professionally. I’m proud to be a part of this class.

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? Excel shortcuts, or how to use Excel at all, really.

MBA Alumni often describe business school as transformative. Looking back over the past two years, how has business school been transformative for you? I think being successful in business school, for me at least, has a lot to do with adaptability and humility. Especially coming from a  “non-traditional” background, Stern has given me the business knowledge and skills to build a strong network in the industry of my choice.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Shaun Looney is my Military Veteran Club co-president, a former Army Ranger, and the epitome of professionalism, character, and tenacity. He leads by example in everything that he does and has worked really hard to help everyone in our club succeed in recruiting. I admire and look up to Shaun, and am thankful that we got to work together. More importantly, I’m thankful that we are great friends.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? While I had a few close friends and role models who helped me immensely in transitioning from the military directly to an MBA, I would say the overall biggest influence in deciding to continue my business education is my dad. Aside from my mom, he’s the hardest working person I know and inspires me to make the most of any opportunity through humility and work ethic. He’s taught me a lot about perseverance and entrepreneurship, and he’s always been there for me in anything I’ve wanted to pursue.

What is your favorite movie about business? The Big Short – It’s amazing how much can go wrong when smart people don’t ask questions. The lack of accountability for senior decision makers at major financial institutions during the financial crisis was also pretty remarkable. Most importantly, the movie was hilarious.

What was the goofiest MBA term or acronym you encountered – and what did it mean? Arbitrage – I am still not really sure what it means, but I say it a lot.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…continuing my Coast Guard career in its Deployable Specialized Forces community. While the decision to move on from military service was right for me, I really do miss working with the exceptional men and women that serve in our U.S. Coast Guard. Servant leadership, humility and leading from the front are all traits I learned through military service, and things I continue to lean on in the business community.”

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? I was fortunate enough to have my MBA paid for through NYU Stern’s Fertitta Veterans Program scholarship and GI Bill funding, so I would say my education is definitely worth more than what I paid. I would not be able to put a price on the network I have built at NYU Stern. I think most MBA students would agree, your classmates are the most valuable part of this experience. I have met some truly high caliber people through NYU Stern and made some lifelong friends.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  • Go to the World Cup, preferably with the U.S. playing
  • Create a scholarship fund at my high school or grade school

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? Chris always made me feel like one of the smarter people in the room.

Hobbies? Reading history/ classic literature, working out, golfing, tweeting good takes, and trying to get to one new country and national park every year.

What made Christopher such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?

“Chris has a natural charisma that brings people together. This was something I saw in his interactions with his classmates time-and-time again when I had him in my class. Dynamics between him and his peers would develop organically and always toward constructive work and strong, upbeat rapport. That kind of energy is invaluable to a classroom, especially for professional degrees like the MBA, which rely so heavily on learning not just from the professor, but from everyone present in the class.

I also had the pleasure of working with Chris on multiple Veteran support initiatives this year. As part of Stern’s Veteran Preview Weekend that Chris helped organize, I taught a Business Law class to transitioning military veterans interested in an MBA. This event helped simulate the classroom setting so that the prospective students could see the benefits of an MBA for our service members. Additionally, Chris asked me to participate in a fundraiser in which my students bid on who would get to dunk me in an outside water tank in November. While chilly, proceeds went to a great cause, and I am happy Chris asked me to do it. His leadership, initiative, and care for others is what sets Chris apart.”

Richard M. Hendler, Esq.

Clinical Professor of Law in Business

NYU Stern School of Business

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