By Candice Crystal, Alumni Relations Manager
Teresa Ciaccio is a Director within Alvarez & Marsal’s (A&M) Healthcare Industry Group (HIG) practice in New York. She earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and Italian studies at Brown University.
She later earned her MBA at Columbia Business School. In her spare time, Teresa enjoys staying active with hiking, biking, yoga and brewing beer.
In the Q&A below, Teresa shares how A&M mentors have helped her develop professional skills, the impact of the A&M phrase “like what you do and who you do it with” has had on her and the difficult decision to return to graduate school after being in the workforce.
You studied economics and Italian studies at Brown University. What led you to pursue a career in consulting? Were there any notable “ah-ha” moments that led you to that decision?
My first experience in the consulting world came when I spent the summer between my junior and senior year as an intern in HIG, working under Martin Winter and Guy Sansone. I think I was hooked. The work that HIG was doing was meaningful, impactful and fast paced; even at the analyst level there was a significant amount of client facing responsibility that offered huge growth opportunities. I knew that getting an industry job would help me learn and grow, but at no where near the pace that working in consulting could offer.
You decided to return for your MBA at Columbia University after working in the industry for seven years. What led you to this decision?
It was a difficult decision; I had advanced in my career at A&M to a point where I knew I could do great work, and I loved the people I was working with, but I felt like I needed a different type of learning or experience in order to shift into a leadership role. The MBA program at Columbia offered excellent academics and I was fortunate enough to be there at a time where the healthcare program was developing. And so, I was able to work with the administrator on her strategic plan for its advancement. I’m happy to now have the network of CBS as a community of friends, colleagues and contacts for future work with A&M.
Can you tell us about your experiences with A&M’s Healthcare Industry Group practice and the skill sets you have been able to strengthen / acquire while at A&M?
I’ve spent most of my career with A&M and during this time, I have been lucky to acquire a group of excellent mentors who have really helped me develop technical and leadership skills. The nature of the work is intense and fast paced, so there is a steep learning curve for people just beginning their career in deliverable development and professionalism. I think A&M rewards the desire to strengthen one’s career with opportunities; at 26, I was able to contribute to my first pitch meeting to to the CEO of a local health system.
You recently re-joined A&M in July 2019. What were some of your reasons for returning? What would you tell someone who has left and is contemplating coming back?
The growth opportunities are limitless at A&M. I think for anyone at any point in their career, there is opportunity to pivot or specialize in a new area at A&M without needing to seek a completely new position. I also feel that through great effort in learning, delivering quality work to clients and continuously improving, there is more personal reward offered at A&M than other institutions for which I have worked. One of our cove value mottos at A&M is “like what you do and with whom you do it” and that has always been true of my time at the firm.
What do you enjoy most about working at A&M? Do you feel that our core values – quality, personal reward, objectivity, integrity and fun – stand true? How so?
I think all five are experienced on a daily basis on any client project, but integrity and quality stand out. I’ve been on multiple projects where our team has had to lead very difficult conversation with clients about their operations or threats from internal and external forces, and because of our honesty, thorough research and understanding, we built trust with them and extended our scope of work for a deeper and more resilient relationship.
How does A&M differ from other consulting firms?
Since day one of working here, I have truly valued the expertise and ability to work side by side with Senior and Managing Directors, who offer exponential return on learning about the healthcare industry. There is a sense of teamwork across all levels of the organization, which creates a culture at A&M that people don’t necessarily find at other firms.
What are some of your hobbies and passions outside of work?
I like to stay active by hiking, biking and doing yoga. I played softball for 12 years and a little rugby in grad school, so being outdoors is my way of recharging. My dad and I are learning to brew beer this fall, and hopefully that will taste better than the wine we used to make using the tools my grandparents brought over from Sicily.