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Transformed by St. John’s, Alumna Enjoys Decades of Career Success

Monday, March 6, 2017

The daughter of a seamstress and a janitor, Augusta Sanfilippo ’85SVC, ’94MBA worked three jobs to put herself through SJU—where she had a life-changing experience when she happened upon the University’s computer lab.

“I remember it like it was yesterday,” Ms. Sanfilippo said. “It was the end of my sophomore year when I turned the corner in Marillac Hall and saw this beautiful state-of-the-art space. I fell in love.”

She immediately selected computer science as her major and spent the entire summer taking the relevant course work along with elective business classes.

The passion for technology that she discovered as an undergraduate ultimately led Ms. Sanfilippo to a position as the Global Head of Capital Markets Operations Technology at Citi, a subsidiary of Citigroup. Over the past three decades, she has gone on to build a successful career in the investment banking field at firms like J.P. Morgan and Credit Suisse. Yet she still makes time to give back by serving alma mater.

A Lifelong Commitment to Learning

As a member of the College of Professional Studies Advisory Board since 2009, Ms. Sanfilippo is able to bring her expertise in technology to the next generation of students. She has been particularly focused on lending guidance with respect to the importance of big data in the curriculum. “We’ve had huge conversations over the past few years around data,” she said. “Graduating with analytical skills is essential for today’s students.”

In her career, Ms. Sanfilippo provides strategic leadership and builds innovative global technology solutions. Her efforts have led to significant savings and processing efficiencies for the global operations areas, automating front to back trading flows and breaking down silos across organizations. But she says it was the “soft skills” she learned as a student at St. John’s that earned her a “seat at the table.”

“In my junior year, I had a marketing professor who taught us something very special,” she noted, “and it was how to read the Wall Street Journal.” The Journal seemed like an intimidating paper, according to the Ozone Park, NY, native. Learning how to digest it like a CEO was essential for her intellectual growth and career development. “The professor even taught us how to fold it.”

The New York Advantage

Ms. Sanfilippo cites St. John’s location as being at the core of her success. “You can attend an Ivy League school, but you may not have the ability to get to Manhattan on the subway every day like I did.”  After morning classes during her senior year, she gained invaluable business experience working five hours a day in the burgeoning technology industry. 

As a double alumna, Ms. Sanfilippo found SJU’s alumni network an invaluable professional resource. Leveraging the brand name recognition St. John’s enjoys in New York City and using the connections she was constantly making, she was once able to schedule 11 job interviews in one week.

“My then boyfriend, now husband, drove me around Manhattan because eight interviews were in one day,” she said. With four job offers in hand, Ms. Sanfilippo had a multitude of options and an even more promising career path. “That is the kind of opportunity St. John’s graduates can enjoy.”