“An outgoing intellectual, a quick thinker with a work-hard, play-hard mentality.”
Hometown: Massapequa, NY
Fun fact about yourself: I love sport fishing. I actually include shark fishing at the bottom of my resume. During an interview for a summer internship, the first thing the interviewer asked me was about was shark fishing. After a short discussion explaining what it is, the interviewer informed me about a personal obsession with sharks. I ended up receiving an offer.
Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Miami, Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, Minor in English
Where did you work before enrolling in business school? I managed a scrap metal recycling facility in Jamaica, Queens called T&T Scrap. I started with the company as a logistics manager in its larger facility in Brooklyn. After six months in this role, I was promoted to managing and developing the company’s new business in Queens. I left the recycling industry in 2015 to pursue business school. During my transitional phase from the scrap yard to business school, I worked as a project manager at a small venture firm called Proton Enterprises.
Where did you intern during the summer of 2017? I interned at Fidelity Investments in the Financial Leadership Program in Boston.
Where will you be working after graduation? I will be working at PwC as a Senior Associate in the M&A Advisory practice called Delivering Deal Value (DDV).
Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I have served for the Graduate Management Association (GMA) both years in business school. I am the social chair for the class of 2018 and I organize events such as tailgates, happy hours, our winter formal, and end-of-semester parties. I have also received the Dean’s Scholarship both years and have been invited to join Beta Gamma Sigma honors society.
My community work includes tutoring children for Invest ‘N Kids (INK), an after-school program ran by Boston College graduate students in order to help underprivileged middle-schoolers with their homework. I am also a BC Ambassador, where I help the admissions team with recruiting both prospective and admitted students.
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of organizing the International Tailgate last year. MBA students cooked dishes from their respective countries and participated in a potluck-style tailgate, bringing along their country’s flag and an interesting fact about the food. Roughly half of our student body participated in the event and our class represented 12 countries from five different continents. I feel very strongly about the importance of an international presence in a student body. Learning about different customs and cultures really embodies the spirit of not only Boston College, but also business school in general. I am very proud to have organized such a successful event that allowed students to embrace their heritage and learn about others as well.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud of gaining the trust and confidence of my team at T&T Scrap after being promoted to manager in the Queens facility. Despite being just 23 years old and having only six months of experience in the industry, I was placed in charge of a group of 10-12 employees significantly older and more experienced than myself. As one could imagine, I was not greeted very warmly. However, by working hard, asking a lot of questions, and constantly focusing on the best interests of the company, I was able to gain my employees’ trust and confidence. I also became fluent in Spanish in order to communicate better with both employees and clients. We eventually all felt like family to each other and turned a struggling location into one of the busiest facilities in Queens.
Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite MBA professor was Bob Taggart. I was a student of Bob’s in both the core Finance class and the Corporate Finance class. Bob used an old school style of teaching but brought in new and relevant material. He also had a great sense of humor that lightened up what could be otherwise dry material. Bob’s presence outside the classroom is really what separated him in my mind. He and his wife attended a few of our tailgates and our winter formal as well. His passion for the program is second to none. I will definitely continue to stay in touch with him after graduation. Some of my other favorite professors include Tieying Yu, Mark Bradshaw, and Jon Kerbs.
What was your favorite MBA Course?My two favorite courses were both International Consulting Projects. The first was a project where we teamed up with a Chilean client who was considering an American market entrance. Our team worked with the client throughout the Spring 2017 semester and then visited Chile to pitch our final project. In the second project, three BC students teamed up with three students from a German university in Nuremberg to work on a strategic innovation project for a German financial institution. The BC students first visited Nuremberg in January to receive the project. Then, the client and the German students will visit at the end of April for our final presentation. Both of these classes have prepared me for my role at PwC, gaining valuable insights about working on diverse teams, managing client relationships, and conducting business internationally.
Why did you choose this business school? There were two main reasons I chose Boston College. I applied because I knew I wanted to be in the Boston area after graduation, and BC has a tightly knit alumni network with a well-respected reputation. Throughout the application process, my interactions with the admissions office, students, and alumni really sold me on the program. Everyone I met with was so honest and authentic. Students gave me genuine advice for my decision process and gave their opinions on the advantages and disadvantages of the program. I was also very impressed with BC’s admitted student day. Specifically, after hearing a speech from Marilyn Eckelman, associate dean of the program, I knew I wanted someone like her in my corner. As my career advisor, she has been my rock throughout the program, and I cannot thank her enough for her efforts to help me through this journey. Financial considerations and timing were also both big parts of my decision.
What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Try to show your true self on your application. There is no cookie cutter candidate for Boston College or any other business school for that matter. Everyone has his or her own story. Diversity of background, experience, age, and anything else is what makes business programs stronger. Also, I would strongly suggest going to any events that the admissions office holds, such as open houses, opportunities to meet with current students, etc. Admissions offices keep track of all those things when determining how interested a candidate is in the program.
What is the biggest myth about your school? I think the biggest myth about Boston College is that it has a “cult-like” alumni network in the Boston area. I have found that just like any other strong network, having a Boston College connection will definitely get someone to respond to your e-mail or phone call, or even land you an initial interview. However, I think that in order to land your dream job or any job for that matter, you really need to stand out as an individual who can bring a new perspective and a strong work ethic to a job.
What was your biggest regret in business school? My biggest regret in business school was not doing a better job of balancing my life outside of business school. At times, between the coursework, job search and extracurricular activities, the full-time program became entirely consuming. I definitely could have done a better job recognizing this and making a better effort to spend more time on the things most important to me. This was a great life lesson however, because I know I will have to work very hard to maintain this balance in my professional career as well.
Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admire Diego Cumming a tremendous amount. Natives of Mexico, Diego and his wife lived in Miami prior to Diego pursuing business school, but courageously moved to Boston without knowing anyone else here. In addition to all the demands of business school, Diego still found time to have his first child. I have the utmost respect for anyone who can balance all of these demands while simultaneously having their first kid. Besides being a great dad and husband, Diego has proven to be a great friend who has been there for me in both good times and bad.
Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My older brother J.R. most influenced my decision to pursue business school. J.R. is the oldest of five siblings and has acted as a third parent throughout my life. Specifically, he has mentored me since graduating college. When it became apparent that my job at T&T Scrap was in jeopardy, I discussed the idea of returning to school. I was torn between applying to law school and business school, but my brother (being a lawyer) urged me to pursue business instead. He noted that a business degree was more flexible and that my story shaped up better for business applications than law applications. J.R. believed business school would put me in the best position to succeed and allow me to more easily pivot from a blue-collar industry to the corporate world.
“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…working in the scrap metal industry somewhere in New York City. In November of 2015, after a year of steep declining metal markets, the owner of T&T Scrap decided to consolidate his businesses, closing down the facility I managed at the time. I was faced with the decision of becoming a salesman for the company, which was not very attractive in the bearish steel markets, or to move on from the industry and figure out my next move. I shook hands with my former boss and went on to purchase the GMAT book the next day.”
If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? I would keep some mandatory core classes for the second year of the MBA program. Our current curriculum requires second-year students to strictly take electives, mixing part-time MBA’s and undergraduates in the classes as well. As a result, the full-time MBA students do not spend as much time with their classmates in the second year as they do the first. The camaraderie built in the first year is definitely lost a little in the second year as many students also pursue part-time jobs or internships during their second-year studies.
What are the top two items on your bucket list? 1) Hiking up and skiing down Tuckerman’s Ravine. 2) Catching a marlin.
In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I would like my peers to remember me as an authentic person and a good friend who they can always count on to ask a favor.
What is your favorite movie about business? The Big Short was an excellent film on a topic that I also studied in my class on the financial crisis. I had two main takeaways from the film. One is that greed can be extremely powerful and you need to be aware and conscious of the ramifications that greed can cause in any system. On a more positive note, I also learned that sometimes everyone may think differently than you and be going against you, but if you are confident in yourself, you should persevere and stick with your gut.
What would your theme song be? “New York State of Mind” by Billy Joel
Favorite vacation spot: My favorite regular vacation spot is Lake Winnipesaukee, however, my two favorite vacations have been Maui and Costa Rica.
Hobbies? Fishing, hiking, camping, skiing, swimming, live music and playing basketball and ping-pong
What made James such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?
“Jimmy was an invaluable addition to the class of 2018 as he has that unique combination of high energy and the desire to make both a professional and personal impact, as well as to drive the Boston College MBA program to the next level. He is not only a man of great ideas but also a great listener. My many interactions with Jimmy were always rooted in his being prepared, and his ability to have a professional exchange was both impressive and energizing. Jimmy is a strong representative of an MBA student with goals. I am confident that he will continue to be a force in the BC grad programs as an alum who will represent his MBA and the Boston College community well.”
Associate Dean, Graduate Programs
Carroll School of Management at Boston College
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