How Henry Cataldo, MBA ’16, Made a Career Shift by Pursuing an MBA

Henry Cataldo, MBA ’16, was looking to shift directions in his career and knew an MBA would help in his transition. Read on to see what Henry discovered during his MBA and why at first, he thought the BC Alumni network seemed a little like marketing propaganda…

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?

Personally, the MBA was very much a pivot point to a new career direction. After graduating from Bentley University, where I majored in economics and finance, I moved into an investment banking role at Provident Healthcare Partners. At Provident I worked with CEOs, management teams and shareholders to evaluate relevant M&A activity. It was a tremendous growth opportunity, but over time I became increasingly interested in building a skill set to solve organizational problems and guide competitive strategy. I decided to try and transition to management consulting, and to do that, I knew I needed an MBA.

Why Boston College?

Boston College had the resources I needed to make the shift to a new career—the faculty is world class, and their research and thought leadership are second to none. Also, Boston College offered me the unique opportunity to structure my own curriculum. Other schools had nice packaged specialties, but I was interested in getting a broader view. At BC I was able to blend coursework across areas like brand management and strategic pricing analysis—topics that aren’t necessarily under the umbrella of “core curriculum,” but that absolutely added to my development as a future consultant.

Boston College’s strong reputation was another factor in my decision. Coming in, I knew that BC was very well respected on a national level. When I had an opportunity to travel to London and Beijing for my global immersion classes, it became clear the BC brand is strong globally as well.

What were those global immersion classes all about?

These are courses that take you overseas to engage in the hands-on application of what you’ve been learning in the classroom, by working with real-world clients to achieve a given set of objectives. For my first trip I spent about a week in London, visiting over a dozen financial institutions like Goldman Sachs and Fidelity Investments. At each institution we sat down with BC alumni and other executives to talk about financial markets, currency fluctuation, risk management, and other topics. It was tremendously rewarding and enriching.

For my trip to Beijing we focused on one client, a consulting firm for Chinese multinational organizations, and tackled a particular set of challenges facing their clients. It was unbelievably rewarding to be in a Chinese boardroom, making an international business presentation.

What were some other highlights of your experience at BC?

The Management Practice Experience class, which pairs student teams with businesses facing a variety of challenges, was a great lesson in learning how to adapt. For my project, we worked with a dental insurance provider to find ways to more efficiently market their services to underprivileged populations. Our team had limited relevant experience, so we had to be very deliberate in pulling ideas from different classes in a short timeframe to give the client something they could use. To be completely over your head and still manage to develop a viable solution is a real confidence booster—and it gives you a much better understanding of your strengths.

Have you been involved in student activities?

Yes, I was the president of the Consulting Club as well as a Board Fellow through the Net Impact organization. The Consulting Club was a good way to differentiate myself, sharpen my skills, and have an impact on the MBA program. The Net Impact program was a great opportunity to engage with community organizations. For one project, we worked with a startup nonprofit that was looking to expand its potable water development efforts in Ghana. It was very rewarding to help a nonprofit have a “real world” impact.

How did your BC education prepare you for a consulting career?

The administration and the career development office do a great job of taking the temperature of what employers are looking for and building that into the curriculum. My BC education prepared me to ask the right questions, and to cultivate both hard and soft skills that employers are looking for.

BC also allowed me to tailor my specialization. Finance was always the underpinning of my program, but I was also able to take courses in data science, corporate strategy, operations and other areas. A flexible course load gave me a better understanding of the lenses professionals look through, and it makes me better equipped to ask the right questions.

What’s next for you?

I have a job lined up as a senior consultant in the Boston office of a management consulting firm with offices across the country. I initially became aware of the position through BC’s online recruiting portal, where employers who are interested in hiring BC graduates post job openings.

Was BC helpful in your job search?

Yes—the career development program at BC is tremendous. I had a dedicated career advisor who was encouraging, readily available, and supportive of my networking efforts. BC alumni take care of each other as well. When I started reaching out to members of the alumni network as part of my job search, the vast majority of the people I contacted got back to me, whether it was to set up a meeting, connect me with someone they knew, or at worst say “I’m busy right now, but let’s set something up for the end of the month.” The alumni network seemed a little like marketing propaganda at first, but when you go through the program you see that it’s really true.