Spring 2019 Northeastern Co-op Spotlight - Pete Camardo

As the Spring 2019 Northeastern co-op program with Stax Boston comes to an end, our final Q&A highlights Pete Camardo.

What is your major/background/hobbies/interests at Northeastern?

I’m a Finance major at Northeastern with minors in Economics and Information Science. Outside of my academics, I play for the club hockey team and am a mentor with an organization called DREAM. In DREAM, I work with a group of classmates to build relationships with kids from the neighborhoods surrounding Northeastern. I really enjoy being engaged with the community through DREAM and the organization does a great job of blending the otherwise very distinct communities of students and families in the area.

What were you hoping to gain through the Northeastern co-op experience?

My goal was to come away from the co-op experience with an idea of the sort of preferences I have for a role and for a company, and with a deep understanding of the business models and operational procedures of three distinct companies. I’ve had three really different co-op experiences and I’ve learned a so much from each one.

At Stax, what were your co-op responsibilities and what have you learned over the last six months?

At Stax, my responsibilities have been essentially the same as that of a first-year associate. I have been staffed on five project teams and have been assigned a broad array of tasks, ranging from primary research and survey design to financial modeling and deliverable building. I’ve learned a ton during my time at Stax, but I think the most important skill I’ve developed is the ability to research and understand a business from scratch. I’ve learned strategies on how to seek out the fundamental issues facing a business and the variety of angles from which to approach questioning those issues in order to understand a company and its surrounding ecosystem as fully as possible.

What has been your most memorable experience at Stax? What has been your favorite industry, product, or service to evaluate?

My favorite experience at Stax has been building a market-sizing model in the AdTech market, where the company we were evaluating was creating an entirely new market for itself and was the first mover into the space. Learning how to segment existing customers and prioritize product and end-market adjacencies in order to project what the size of a brand-new market could like five years down the road. It was an extremely challenging and rewarding experience and a lot of what I learned from the exercise has helped me in my project work since.

How has this experience compared with other co-op opportunities you have had?

This has been much different than my previous two co-ops, which were both at larger companies in the financial services industry. The pace of work surrounding PE deals is incredibly fast, and it forces you to move and think quickly. As a result, you have to learn to be comfortable with a level of uncertainty and prioritize the most critical elements of the work, which is definitely something that I’m really trying to improve on.

What advice would you give to an incoming co-op/intern?

My advice to an incoming intern would be to continually step back and understand the context of the work you are doing. Whether that’s when you are building a deck or doing secondary research, it’s always important to be moving towards an end goal, and for me, understanding context has been the most effective way to ensure I’m doing that. I think part of the intellectual challenge of this job is the constant shift in levels of thinking. Where you can be in a conversation about a specific product feature that gives a company a competitive advantage and immediately switch into a conversation about macro drivers that are creating a tailwind for that company’s customer base. The ability to dive deep into detail while thinking about the business at a high level is a critical skill for this job, and constantly reminding myself of context is how I’ve been able to develop that.

How has the Stax co-op experience helped guide your post-graduation careers goal/path?

Working in consulting has been a really challenging and rewarding experience, and I’m happy with the pace of learning that I feel exists here, so it’s something I’d like to continue post-graduation.

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