2024 Best & Brightest Business Major: Nicolette Manfredi, St. John’s University (Tobin)

Nicolette Manfredi

St. John’s University, Peter J. Tobin College of Business (Staten Island Campus)

“Juggling work, school, and family like a circus act, my dedication can power small cities.”

Fun fact about yourself: My favorite hobby is sewing. I love to create small gifts for my family and friends, and I have just recently started sewing my own clothes.

Hometown: Staten Island, New York

High School: Tottenville High School

Major: Accounting

Minor: Finance

Favorite Business Course: Business Entities and Combinations

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College: Beta Alpha Psi- President (2023-2024), Treasurer (2022-2023), NSLS- SNT Facilitator, Bulls and Bears Stock Investment Club, Women in Business, Italian Club, Honors program, and Nursing Home volunteer, assistant, and performer.

Where have you interned during your college career?

Grant Thornton LLP- Iselin, NJ Office- Tax Intern

Staten Island Dance and Arts Center- Staten Island, NY- dance teacher, class assistant, accountant

Where will you be working after graduation? Grant Thornton LLP-  Tax Associate

Who is your favorite business professor? Dr. Benjamin Silliman is my favorite professor because he makes lectures understandable, interesting, and makes sure to include everyone. His classes are very hands on with many examples to make sure we all understand the topic. He has been there from the start of my academic career at St. John’s University. He pushed me to pursue a career in tax. He also acted as a mentor when I did not think I was good enough in such a competitive field. He is one of the best accounting professors at St. John’s and it was an honor to take his classes.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The biggest lesson I learned is you need to analyze situations to decide if you should take a risk or play it safe. The risks you take can directly impact the benefits and losses. This is important because not only does it apply to a business aspect or financial decisions, but it directly impacts all decisions in life. It is important to identify risk, analyze the outcomes and the likelihood of those outcomes, and find a way to manage your risks. High risk usually means high reward but there could be more loss and low risk usually means low reward but less loss. In everyday life, this can be implemented when you are making investment decisions, or you are deciding which job you are going to take. In business, management must continuously monitor their risk and find a balance to grow.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? If I could give any piece of advice, it would be to network. This means getting involved in campus organizations and attending events with professionals. Getting a 4.0 GPA can only get you so far if you have no idea where to start when you are looking for a job. Joining organizations at my university allowed me to meet hundreds of accounting professionals from the Big 4 firms, mid-size firms, and even local firms. This set me up for my future when I had multiple firms recruiting me at once. I was able to take my experiences from networking and choose a path that benefitted me most. Without networking experiences, it is hard to stand out in a crowd of thousands of business majors.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? Majoring in accounting allowed me to take courses in all fields of business. I was surprised how much each field relates to each other. They all require a basic understanding of the economy and how it runs. The decisions made in one field will directly impact the rest of the fields. For example, a marketing strategy can affect the sales that are made, which affects profits, which can affect the financial statements. Finance and accounting both require the analysis of financial statements. Management oversees decisions made in marketing and finance. The main goal of business professionals is to make strategic decisions that will maximize efficiency to bring in profits.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? If I could do one thing differently I would have double majored. I would do this because I was ahead all four years of college. Coming into college during a pandemic, I was unaware of the options available to me, and it was harder to get in touch with advisement to find out my options. If I was aware of how ahead I was early on, I would have picked a second business major to major in so I could be more well-rounded.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of hosting my first event as President of Beta Alpha Psi- Kappa Zeta Chapter. It was a Professional Mixer and we had representatives from 5 major accounting firms in attendance.  I am proud of this because it is a huge event on our campus, and it takes a lot of planning. I organized the event by inviting representatives, students, and faculty, catering food, creating a script, and honoring our members. I watched my vision come to life the day of the event. The event raised around $300, which we were able to use to strengthen our chapter.

Which classmate do you most admire? I admire Samantha Belcastro the most. She sets her mind to something, and she does not give up until she achieves it. Our advisor told us that it was not a good idea to study abroad since we are in a rigorous 5-year program with a lot of prerequisites. If you missed one class, you would have to wait a year to take it again. However, Samantha took on the challenge and decided to study abroad. She went for a whole semester, took all the classes she needed and pushed ahead instead of falling behind. I admire her drive and how hardworking she is. She interns at a firm, balances a job and gets good grades during the academic year and during the summer.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would like to thank my mom because she made me who I am today. She raised me to never give up, which has pushed me to work hard and be the best student I can be. She supports me through every moment and is my number one fan. The sacrifices she made for me in her life inspired me to do whatever it takes to reach my goals. She always offers me advice and guidance when I face challenges. Whenever I have an important decision to make, we sit down together, weigh out the pros-and-cons, and discuss which option would benefit me the most. Instead of thinking about what would be best financially or socially, she thinks about what is best for me. My mom’s influence impacted me in numerous ways and contributed to all my achievements. It is only natural that I thank her for everything.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

I would like to travel to another country to work for a client. I would love to see how their businesses run and experience international accounting principles firsthand.

In the future, I want to open my own tax practice so I can work mostly on individual tax returns and small business tax returns.

What made Nicolette such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2024?

“Ms. Manfredi is more than a capable student, she is an enterprising young woman who knows herself and where she is going in life. I have taught Nicolette for five (5) financial accounting classes—and in each class, she is the star performer who nearly always has the answer and is prepared. Students who can help professors finish their sentences are individuals preparing to go places in their careers. Ms. Manfredi is not only exceptional for her academic abilities, but she has been an effective leader of Beta Alpha Psi (BAP), serving as treasurer, and now our chapter’s last president. Keeping the organization from languishing, Nicolette continues to infuse the BAP with fresh ideas and excitement before she and her fellow officers induct the final members into the organization in April. Nicolette is one of the best students I have taught in years. She is exceptional in so many areas and will make St. John’s proud as a graduate and eventually as a CPA. She is one to watch for in the future.”

Dr. Benjamin Rue Silliman
Chair and Professor
Department of Accountancy
Treasurer, Faculty Association at St. John’s University
Faculty Advisor, Beta Alpha Psi, Kappa Zeta Chapter


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