When Pasquale “Pat” Nuzzo immigrated to Boston from Italy, he was just a boy and spoke not a word of English. His father worked construction and his mother was a homemaker. “Education was paramount to my dad,” says Nuzzo. “He always said that: ‘Hard work is great, but hard work coupled with education is even better.’”
Nuzzo—who earned a Master of Science in Finance from Brandeis International Business School (IBS) in 2000—heeded his father’s advice. He has worked at some of the leading financial services companies in the world including Bank of America, Citizens Bank, and State Street. Today Nuzzo is a senior vice president at Capital One based in New York City. At Capital One, he oversees the bank’s Treasury Management revenue and liquidity management functions across all lines of business, runs a suite of commercial products, and handles pricing for a $30 billion commercial deposit portfolio.
Why did you decide to go to business school? As I progressed in my career, I could see that the environment was changing. It was the late 90s and the financial world was becoming more technical, more complex, and more global. China was beginning to emerge and India was bursting onto the scene. I needed more training to get to that next level.
Why did you choose Brandeis? The more research I did, the more I knew Brandeis was ‘it.’ It was the school’s global perspective and international curriculum that sold me. I liked the faculty mix too. Brandeis strikes a good balance between academics and practitioners who explain how to put all that brainpower into action.
What do you remember most about your Brandeis days? My classmates took academics seriously so it made for a stimulating atmosphere. I remember very engaging conversations—both inside and outside the classroom. In terms of how Brandeis taught economics, there was a desire for real-world practicality: students wanted to know what went on behind the scenes and faculty wanted to take the mystique out of what was happening on the global stage.
How do you use your Brandeis education today? I came out of Brandeis with a deep understanding of global economics. Pricing is a great example. At Brandeis I learned why things are priced the way they are, how the market affects prices, how the Fed’s decisions on interest rates impacts prices, and how all these factors tie together. I draw on these lessons every day.
How has financial services changed over the last decade? It’s changed in two big ways. First, everything is interconnected. Events happening halfway around the world are going to have an impact on your business whether you want them to or not. We saw this play out during the liquidity crisis a few years ago. The second big change is the electronification of banking. Paper is disappearing and even simple services are now done over the Internet. It’s an exciting development that brings about new efficiencies, but also new concerns about privacy and security.
What’s your best advice for people who want a career in financial services? Whether you know your career path early on or are less decided, every role and assignment along the way will provide insight and experience to draw from. Look for roles in strong companies with strong leaders. I have been lucky enough to work for a lot of great people who have mentored me throughout my career.