Carl H. Lindner College of BusinessCarl H. Lindner College of BusinessUniversity of Cincinnati

Carl H. Lindner College of Business

Graduating Senior Takes UC's World-Class Programs on the Fast Track

MS-IS student gains experiential learning abroad, at home — even in his residence hall.

Youngstown native Dominic Varacalli says that the University of Cincinnati's business program was very appealing to him when he applied in the fall of 2007.

Dominic was not a typical applicant because at that point, he had already run his own Internet company for more than three years. Also, during his junior and senior years of high school, he was a full-time college student through a post-secondary enrollment program.

“UC would allow me to graduate in two years,” he says. “I wanted to sharpen my skills. During my freshman year at UC, I ran my small Internet company out of my dorm room while working on my bachelor's in business administration.”

As a child, Dominic had always loved building things and figuring out how they worked. So his original thought was that he would study architecture or engineering.

“Once I started my business in high school, I discovered that same love to pick things apart and make them more efficient is invaluable for solving problems in business,” he says. “I believe information systems (IS) allows me to use my passion to make life easier or better by using the technical knowledge necessary to succeed in business today.”

Besides being able to hone his entrepreneurial skills, Dominic says he chose UC because he wanted to be in a larger city and on an urban campus. “Cincinnati has more Fortune 500 companies per capita than any other city,” he notes.

“The business program at UC also has a well-developed Study Abroad program,” he adds.

During the summer of Dominic's freshman year he chose to study abroad in Nantes, France. He says that the experience taught him how to adapt to many different cultures, as well as the business environment in the European Union. Because he would be out in the world, he did decide to close his Internet company.

One of Dominic's favorite instructors in the College of Business was Assistant Professor Alex Lopes, the director of the master's of science in information systems (MS-IS) program.

“He takes a strong interest in his students beyond just what they are required to do for class,” says Dominic.

“Dominic is an extraordinary student, mature and professional beyond his years,” says Lopes. “I first met him during his junior year, when he was taking my Web development course.”

During Dominic's senior year, Lopes encouraged him to apply to the MS-IS program.

“This nudge was all I needed to take my GMAT and apply,” says Dominic. “I was accepted to the MS-IS program over this past summer and I am currently finishing my undergraduate degree in information systems while simultaneously starting my master's program in information systems.”

“During our interaction, it was easy to see that he has enormous potential and I invited him to apply to the MS-IS,” Lopes says. “He joined the program in fall 2009, and because of his business background, he will be graduating from the MS-IS in December 2010.”

“In the graduate program, Dominic assumed a variety of roles as a teaching assistant and performed exemplary in these tasks and in all his classes,” Lopes says. “After his first 45 days in the program, Dominic had already accepted an offer to join Citibank full time in June 2010 as part of their Technology Leadership Program. It is quite amazing to see someone so young accomplish so much, but we always knew we had someone special in Dominic.”

“I will finish all of my course work in June 2010 and then I will co-op with Citi for two quarters,” Dominic says. “Citibank's full-time offer will count toward my co-op with the Master's Program. I graduate in December 2010.”

With Dominic's worldly outlook, Citi is a good fit.

“Citi is the largest bank with a huge global network, which is a big strength with the world's economy moving global. I'm a natural problem-solver and am excited for the challenge,” he says. “Citi is committed to leveraging their global network and a large part of that integration involves their IT, which is what I look forward to.”

Lopes also motivated Dominic to try out for the case competition. Dominic became one of three students representing UC in the regional case competition in November 2009 hosted by Oakland University and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

The UC team won and will now go on to compete against teams from around the world at the second International Case Competition on the Strategic Value of IT Management, held in Las Vegas, May 16–18, 2010. There are 12 teams representing the whole world, including India, Scandinavia and New Zealand.

Dominic encourages other students to choose a career that they would look forward to doing, to follow their passion.

“Consider the thing you enjoy doing and investigate a major that will help you sharpen those skills,” he says. "If there is something you love doing enough that you will do it for free, that is where your passion lies. You will enjoy your education and your future job when you tap into that.”

Dominic's commitment and passion go beyond his academic life. Throughout his years at UC he has also been committed to the community by volunteering many hours mentoring students at Crossroads Church.

“Get involved in the community,” he encourages incoming students. “I am humbled by all the blessings I have received through my experiences at UC.