2021 Best & Brightest Business Major: Matthew Iaconis, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Foisie)

Matthew Iaconis

Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Foisie Business School

“I am an analytical, humorous, and easy-going person who is passionate about learning new things.”

Fun fact about yourself: I got the chance to meet and play catch with Tom Brady at Gillette Stadium in high school.

Hometown: North Attleboro, MA

High School: North Attleboro High School

Major: Management Information Systems

Minor: Data Science & Computer Science

Favorite Business Course: My favorite business course was Creating Value Through Innovation (BUS 3010). This course was very interesting to me as we learned about various ways to create value through strategies from incremental change to revolutionary innovation. We also learned a lot about the implementation of information systems in business operations, which aligns with my major and career possibilities. Professor Jim Ryan really helped bring the course information together and the structure of the course helped us learn very effectively. The final project allowed us to present proposed innovations to real-world businesses in order to provide more value to the firm. I gained a lot of knowledge and experience from this course and enjoyed learning the material the whole time, and I think that it will help me significantly in my career.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honor Society
  • VP Member Development, Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, 2020
  • Senior Class Gift Committee Member
  • Finalist for President’s IQP Award, Winner TBA March 5, 2021
  • Dean’s List: Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Intern with the Digital Marketing Team for Santander Bank in Dorchester, MA (summer 2018 and summer 2019)
  • Summer 2020 IT internship with TJX Companies canceled due to COVID-19

Where will you be working after graduation? Engineer I, TJX Companies

What company do you admire most? Although I have not yet had the opportunity to begin working there, I also really admire TJX for their unique strategy within their industry, as well as their employee relations and handling of the COVID-19 crisis. TJX has created a strong, tight-knit company culture and have been more than understanding to their employees (both current and future). They have been able to achieve economic and social success through such difficult times.

Who is your favorite professor? I have been lucky to have many great professors throughout my time at WPI, especially in my business curriculum. One of my favorite professors, however, was Professor Edward Gonsalves. I have taken two courses with Professor Gonsalves and his passion for the course curriculum and his relevant real-world experience has always been clearly evident in the class and made learning easier and more enjoyable. He has also incorporated some unique teaching methods, like the use of a simulated competitive business environment that we were able to work on with a group throughout the length of the course. This helped to put the course concepts to use in a “real-world” situation. His passion for the subject matter and ability to relate to and communicate with the class has made learning a more seamless endeavor.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? I would tell them that business is a great background for any career or major interest you might have. No matter what discipline you are interested in, most people will come out of college working for a business, so having that experience and understanding those concepts will be extremely beneficial. I would also say to broaden your college experience to include a few other topics of interest as well to see where you really think you could take your valuable knowledge after graduating.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? One thing that has pleasantly surprised me about a business curriculum is the balance that WPI and the Foisie Business School (FBS) have achieved between technical skills, social business lessons, general business concepts, and real-world project and groupwork experience. Before beginning my path through the FBS, I had an idea of business curriculum consisting overwhelmingly of simply textbook and conceptual learning. However, every business class and professor I have taken have introduced more technical skills, groupwork, and opportunities to apply the course concepts to real-world projects. These opportunities have been very helpful to fully understand the curriculum and apply my knowledge outside the classroom. This has helped me get the best education possible over the past four years.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? One thing I might change is to be more outgoing in my business classes earlier in my college career. I learned from experience over the past few years that it’s worthwhile to take advantage of every opportunity to volunteer to practice presenting, publicly speaking, and getting comments and critiques from both faculty and peers. It took me until a few years into my time at WPI to realize this lesson and “come out of my shell” enough to take advantage of these opportunities more than what was required by the class. Practicing, getting feedback, and building strong relationships with classmates and professors are some of the most valuable aspects of classes I have taken, and I do wish I would have fully realized this earlier.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of my completion of my Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP) in my junior year and the recognition it has gotten. I am very much a “home body”. Although I was overjoyed at the opportunity to complete my IQP in London, England last year, the logistics of moving to another country, even for a short 7-week term, brought a lot of internal conflict and anxiety. Looking back on a truly unbelievable experience, I am very proud of myself for overcoming the challenges I faced to not only enjoy my time, but work well with my team members, advisors, andsponsors to produce a project that is currently under consideration as a top five finalist for the annual President’s IQP Award.

Which classmate do you most admire? One classmate I really admire is Chris Hagerman, a Civil Engineer who graduated in the class of 2020. Chris is one of my closest friends I’ve made at school. The more I got to know him, the more I appreciated how hard he worked and how involved he made himself both on and off campus. He held multiple positions in our fraternity including being on the Executive Board, serving as president of ASCE at WPI, and being an active Big Brother for Big Brothers Big Sisters – just to name a few of his major involvements. Despite his busy workload of extracurriculars, Chris performed very well in his difficult engineering classes, yet always seemed so calm and stress-free. I admire now how he was able to organize all of his responsibilities and get his work accomplished while keeping a well put-together demeanor and leaving time for personal hobbies and spending time with friends.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would most importantly want to thank my parents for my success. They have always supported me in my decisions and encouraged me to set high standards and strive to achieve my goals. Whether it be academics, sports, personal issues, or anything in between, my parents have helped me through my struggles and allowed me to get where I am today. They are my strongest support system through highs and lows, and have set amazing examples of hard work, dedication to passions, modesty, compassion, and graciousness. Without them, I would not have my work ethic with high standards and goals, let alone be where I am today. I will forever be thankful for the countless times they have given me the advice, the gentle nudge, or the words of encouragement I needed to continue on my path and try to achieve my goals.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? One item on my professional bucket list is to rise in my career to a position where I can lead and inspire others. I know that there is nothing wrong with working for and underneath someone else, especially out of college, but I aspire to rise higher and become one of the leaders myself. I’m determined to put in the work and gather the knowledge and expertise necessary to do this in my career, and I believe that I can accomplish this goal.

Another item on my bucket list is to start my own company. I’m not completely sure where I want to direct my focus in this case, but I think that may be the point. I know that this is something I want to do and accomplish in my professional life. Once I find the right experiences and passion, then I hope to be able to make it happen.

What are your hobbies? In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, staying active however I can, reading, meditating, or killing time with video games or television.

What made Matthew such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“Matthew will graduate with a B.S. in Management Information Systems (MIS) and two minors (Data Science and Computer Science). These academic programs are demanding and time-consuming; however, Matthew has been able to tackle them with ease. As his professor and MIS capstone advisor, I was particularly impressed with his exceptional performance and dedication to self-learning and using state-of-the-art technologies to solve real-world problems. Matthew and a team of two other students are developing a business intelligence solution for sports analytics and management. Given that in the beginning of the project, the team was not much familiar with visual analytics technologies, Matthew took the lead and learned how to develop digital dashboards effectively and systematically. He is a great listener and learner as he sought the project sponsor’s feedback and my advice on a regular basis to improve the project output continuously and properly. In summary, Matthew’s strong analytical skills and leadership abilities along with his hard work have made him a stellar student and I am confident he will be successful in any role he takes in the future.”

Nima Kordzadeh, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Information Systems & Data Science
Robert A. Foisie School of Business
Worcester Polytechnic Institute



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