Nico Falco originally wanted to become a forensic accountant with the FBI.
To help him achieve this dream career, Falco turned to College of DuPage, where he thought he could build closer relationships with his professors than at a four-year school.
“I was seeking mentorship on a more personal level, and that’s exactly what I found,” he said. “I attribute a large portion of my success today and in the future to Professor Maureen McBeth and her mentorship. I truly believe that she goes out of her way, above and beyond, to make sure that her students succeed much further than in the classroom. She is a main contributor to the confidence I have in my abilities today, whether it was helping me land my first internship as a sophomore, which is what really started my journey, or the countless—and I really emphasize countless—office hours; whether it was critiquing my resume or working on case competitions or even just regular advice.”
In addition to gaining a foundation in accounting, Falco also loved the diverse student presence on campus, which allowed him to meet students from around the globe and learn about their unique cultures.
“To this day, I have a group of friends—some of my best friends—who were all born in the Middle East and came to the United States with their families,” he said. “We would meet at the COD Learning Commons or the Library every single day and have discussion after discussion. I got a chance to learn firsthand about their faith in Islam, about Ramadan and Eid, and their overall culture,” he said. “I will never forget the days that I fasted with them and was able to enjoy a meal (Iftar) to break the fast with their friends and families, all while studying accounting.
“You can’t possibly try to understand the societal barriers of bias without being able to look at the world from a different perspective. COD gave me the ability to learn and really try to understand different perspectives from around the world. I take this with me every single day, and I can connect with new friends and colleagues on a different level than I could before. That’s priceless.”
After finishing his coursework at COD, Falco transferred to Northern Illinois University, where he received multiple scholarships during his pursuit of a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy and a minor in Data Analytics. He then followed this with a Master of Accounting Science, also from NIU. While there, he was a member and officer of various student organizations and a graduate assistant.
He also interned at both RSM and Deloitte, with both offering him full-time positions. Falco accepted Deloitte’s offer, moved to Chicago and started his career. This included being selected as one of 20 analysts nationwide to participate in the inaugural Controls, Compliance and Finance Rotational Program within Deloitte’s Risk & Financial Advisory practice.
Although he originally wanted to become an FBI agent, Falco is now looking at a new opportunity. His short-term goal is to pivot into his new mergers and acquisition role at High Street Insurance Partners.
“I consider myself a pioneer, excited about the unknown and what could be, someone who is proactive about challenging the status quo,” he said. “I am excited about this position because I can make a direct impact that will help High Street strive toward growth and toward progress. I can’t yet tell you how this will alter my career trajectory, but that’s the fun part—the journey. Beyond that is honestly unknown, and isn’t that exciting? I can really end up anywhere or doing something I don’t even know about yet. It’s thrilling.”
College of DuPage has faculty that truly cares about their students’ success in and out of the classroom. That’s why I chose COD!
Falco also wants to be a mentor, much like McBeth was to him.
“I want to help, in any way possible, the younger generation, because I would not be here today if it wasn’t for the countless number of complete strangers who helped and guided me. People are welcome to reach out to me on LinkedIn for advice or just to connect. I would really appreciate that.”
As for COD, he has three pieces of advice for prospective students.
“First, talk to everyone! Network at every chance given, and I cannot emphasize that enough,” Falco said. “You never know who you are going to meet or bump into. It’s a smaller world than you think, and there is a good chance that you might be able to help one another.
“Second, pick up a book and read. There is most likely not a single problem that you have that hasn’t already been had by someone else, and there is a book or article on that problem. Reading can also provide perspective, which is crucial, on all sorts of different topics.
“Most importantly, have an extreme amount of belief in yourself and your potential. No matter who you are, your background, your age, your goals and especially no matter where you start, you have the absolute potential to completely change your life. But only you can do it.
“Just know that College of DuPage has faculty that truly cares about their students’ success in and out of the classroom. That’s why I chose COD! And I can’t think of a better place where I could have started.”