Alumni #TakeoverTuesday: Mike Caggiano, PMBA, 2016

Did you know that we have an alumni network of more than 37,000+ people across the world that is constantly growing? This alumni network is a diverse group of professionals with a wide variety of ages, backgrounds, and interests, each with a story and an experience to share.

We hope that you’ll join us each month as an alum takes over our social media for the day to give you a glimpse into a day in the life! Kicking this series off is the one, the only: Mike Caggiano.  Mike sits on the Alumni Outreach Committee for the David Eccles School of Business, and it was his idea to get these takeovers off the ground. He graduated in 2016 with his PMBA before starting a career at Dell. We are so grateful for all of his great ideas and his passion to stay involved with the Eccles School community after graduation. Enjoy his #TakeoverTuesday!

  1. What was your first job?
    My first job was in the Global Services Leadership Development Program. It was a rotation program where you spent two years in four, six-month rotations. It was with a company called EMC, which was acquired by Dell roughly two years ago. That’s how I got into Dell.
  2. What is the best job you ever had?
    The best job I’ve ever had was working in Transitions for my current company. Transitions are 90-day projects setting up new clients. They were very intense engagements, but, because of their length, you were doing something new regularly.
  3. What is a book you read recently? What was the best part?
    I just finished Gordie Howe’s biography. I’m a big hockey fan so it was interesting reading about what the early years of the NHL were like. I am currently reading the Tattooist of Auschwitz.
  4. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
    Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s still hard for me, but I would definitely get hung up on things that in the grand scheme of things weren’t that big of a deal.
  5. What accomplishment are you most proud of?
    I’d say finishing my master’s degree while working and still being able to travel (something that I love doing). Undergrad seemed difficult at the time but pales in comparison to going to school while working full-time during the day.

6. In what way were you most impacted during your time at the Eccles School?
I’d say I was most impacted by the people in the program. I’m from the Northeast, so I have the mindset that everything needs to be done yesterday. It helped to get different perspectives and work with people from different backgrounds.

7. Describe yourself in one or two words.
High expectations

8. What is the best business advice you have received?
Don’t focus on jobs focus on experiences. I had a Senior Vice President tell me that when I was in the rotation program, and I’ve found that it has held true. What he meant was, don’t focus on having to have a certain job title; focus on gaining specific experiences, and the job titles will come. Expanding on that is to tell EVERYONE what you want to do. Make sure people know what you’re interested in doing so when things open up, you’re already on their short list of people to talk to.

9. What is something you learned at the Eccles School that you will never forget?

In our first class, Teams, they were drilling into us to “talk about the process” before jumping right into the work. Meaning, spend a few minutes to get organized and on the same page with everyone and it’ll help in the long run. Me wanting to run at 10mph all the time thought this was a waste of time. Fast forward 6 months and I caught myself starting a group meeting with “Before we get going, let’s talk about the process first”. I still keep in touch with my group and they still like to give me a hard time.

10. What is the best way to start the day?

In whatever way works for you….but be honest if it’s working and be willing to make a change. I’m not one for snooze. I like to jump out of bed and get going on whatever it is I need to get done. For others it’s working out or having a good breakfast. Find out what works for you, but be honest with yourself if it is working or if it’s comfortable.

11. What did you want to be when you grew up?

Honestly, I had no idea. I would have loved to play a sport professionally but knew that wasn’t realistic. I more or less went about it through process of elimination…getting rid of what I didn’t like. Not a very romantic story, but it’s the truth. I kinda fell into IT.

12. Who was your most influential professor at the Eccles School?

I can’t remember her name but she taught a communications class and we had to tell stories in of the classes. And it’s funny to think about how that translates to the business world but I find myself telling the stories of the projects and initiatives I’m responsible for and still draw on a few of the tips whenever I have to try and influence a group.

13. What is the best business decision you have made?

The single best business decision I’ve made to date is coming out of undergrad, working for a company they had a good tuition reimbursement program. I was very specific on this in interviews when speaking with different companies. I think this is often an overlooked bonus. I paid $3,000 out of pocket for my Masters. Over the two years, it translates to an additional roughly $30k per year in my pocket. It has made planning for the future much easier for me.

14. If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning a medal for?

Arguing. The movie ‘My Cousin Vinny’ comes to mind. If you haven’t seen it, you should. I come from a very loving, but very loud and opinionated Italian family.

15. What job do you think you would be really good at if you weren’t doing what you are now?

Something travel related. I love finding new places to go or new things to do.

16. What song do you have completely memorized?

Pretty much anything Billy Joel.

17. What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?

Something that scares the crap out of them. It’s someone recent but Will Smith has put out a few talks with the take line of ‘The best things are on the other side of fear’ and it is so true. With that said, you need to make sure you don’t cross into being reckless.

18. What is your favorite memory at the U?

Favorite memory with the U would be the international trip to South Korea. We went to Samsung and spoke with their leadership about the importance of working at a cheabol in Korean culture. We then went to a startup incubator to see how that trend was starting to be challenged in a society that historically didn’t challenge the status quo.

19. What is something you thought you knew about the world but it turns out it was different?

I’ve been wrong far too many times to claim I know anything of substance.

20. If your life were a movie, what would the title be? Who would play you?

My family would probably say “The Gypsie” because I’ve moved so many times and travel frequently. I am terrible with actors. Maybe John Krasinski?

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