Learning never stops for alumnus Nick Fiorina

For Penn State alumnus Nick Fiorina, learning is an infinite process. From Penn State New Kensington to PNC Financial Services, Fiorina has found that solid study habits are essential for successful career aspirations.

Fiorina, assistant vice president and program development consultant for PNC, parlayed what he learned from University professors and what he learned from business colleagues to earn the position for which he aspired since joining the organization in 2004. His campus-to-corporation strategy can serve as a guide for today’s students.

“The education you receive in the classroom will always come first,” said Fiorina, a resident of Plum Borough, Pa. “However, keep in mind that the education you can receive outside of the classroom leads to professional growth and future career opportunities.”

Fiorina attended the campus for two years, eschewing the going-away-to-college ideal espoused by many of his high school friends. New Kensington offered the small campus atmosphere where Fiorina could thrive academically and athletically. It also offered a chance to build new friendships that continued to foster as he moved to the University Park campus to complete his studies and to PNC to begin his vocation.

“Knowing that I could get a solid education and grades as I matured, I stayed local to build a strong foundation and network,” said Fiorina, who graduated from Penn State in 2003. “I loved playing baseball, and Penn State New Kensington gave me the opportunity to play in college. Having PSNK on my jersey was a great experience every time I took the field.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree in business management, Fiorina joined PNC as an account manager in the Commercial Card Services division. A year later, he was promoted to senior account manager and then named assistant vice president in 2008. He ascended to his current position in 2010.

“I learned the business from the ground up, taking notes in my mind and using Post-it notes in my cube, just as a reminder to study hard,” said Fiorina, a product of Plum High School. “As a young professional, I learned to multi-task, meet deadlines and work with the different personalities of colleagues and clients. The biggest challenge for me was communication and learning the right way to communicate internally with service partners.”

As a program development consultant, Fiorina manages a portfolio of clients with commercial credit card programs. He is responsible for evaluating clients’ procurement processes and offering solutions to integrate cards into their businesses. His clients are located throughout the country, and travelling allows Fiorina insight to their needs. While working face-to-face with small groups, Fiorina adjusts to clients’ concerns and formulates solutions for their financial issues.

“I enjoy the challenge of thinking on your feet because it keeps me motivated and sharp,” said Fiornia, who earned a certificate in project management from the Project Management Institute. “When I am on-site with a customer, we are sharing information as valued partners in the business.”

With roots in banking dating to before the Civil War, PNC has grown into one of the leading financial services organizations in the country. The company provides consumer and small business banking in 19 states and the District of Columbia, with residential mortgage banking and corporate and institutional banking offices across the United States.

Fiorina’s leadership skills, interpersonal acumen and work ethic could be harbingers of a future member of an organization’s board of directors. As he progresses as a professional, Fiorina is looking forward to meeting the challenge of future career opportunities.

“I read books and articles on leadership and try to apply those principles to my own life,” Fiorina said. “I feel like if I apply myself, play the cards I have been dealt the right way and keep my head up, I may have an opportunity to lead a company in the future.”

PNC and the campus have a long history of collaboration. In 1989, Thomas O’Brien, former chairman and chief executive officer of the corporation, endowed the PNC Financial Corporation Scholarship at the campus. The scholarship provides financial assistance to students who have achieved superior academic records or who manifest promise of outstanding academic success. Since its inception, 25 New Kensington students have benefitted from PNC's largesse. During the past two years, as the endowment has grown, the average award was nearly $1,200. The current recipient is Christian Kamenic, an information sciences and technology major from Pittsburgh.

In addition to scholarships, PNC supports a variety of campus events, including the Chancellor’s Gala Career Day, Alle-Kiski Society Bowl-a-thon and Fall Festival. Kimberly Graham, vice president for PNC Bank in Lower Burrell, is a member of the campus Advisory Board.

“Much like PNC being a strong financial service organization, Penn State is a strong higher education institution,” Fiorina said. “This has resonated with me since I stepped foot on their campus.”

Fiorina continues his ties to the campus as a regular participant of the Alle-Kiski Society’s annual alumni golf scramble that benefits scholarships at the campus. His foursome includes his father, Barry, who Nick credits, along with mother, Connie, with instilling the solid study habits that have carried him throughout his 32 years.

”Neither my mother nor father have a formal college education,” Fiorina said. “I love them for allowing me the opportunity to better myself through an advanced degree.”

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Last Updated September 18, 2013