Leading a multi-decade career in information science that spans the private and public sectors, Nicholas (“Nick”) J. Intintolo, BS in Computer and Information Science, ’90 describes how Drexel University led him on a sustainable career in advising leaders on why client-facing insights are critical to business outcomes. Find out more about how he found his calling and gained vital expertise at Drexel:
"My undergraduate Drexel University experience empowered me not to just lead a fulfilling career in technology and innovation, but to lead a concentrated focus on service outcomes of others. In my view, a Drexel education extends beyond college borders in helping to empower people to improve the world around them; my path since graduation is such an example, and here’s my story which might inspire you.
In high school, I first became obsessed with baseball and then with computer science and its correlation with human learning. I initially began my undergraduate program at Drexel University, enrolled in computer science, and frankly, found it to be mundane and uninspiring. One day while adjourning from class back to Kelly Hall, my enduring lifelong friend Jim (who back then was just a stranger at the time) introduced me to something cool and different from science and business computing — the computer and information science program (CIS) at the Rush Building. The subject was novel to me at the time but triggered my appetite for customer experience and paradigms shifts in computing almost immediately. Jim explained the programs offered in CCIS were focused on how you use and manage information towards accurate, personalized decision making. For example, while computer science was building email software, and Management Information Systems (MIS) was pricing it, CCIS was determining its intuitiveness and usefulness towards human productivity and collaboration. Meeting Jim further led me to transferring into CCIS, and meeting CIS professor, Dr. Gary Strong, who ultimately became my mentor for my entire CIS career, and who paved the bricks of my learning foundation upon which I grew my ideals, experiences and opinions along life’s journey forward.
My second inflection point after my CCIS transition was my internship with Merck through Drexel CCI’s co-op program. The work our IT unit was delivering in 1987 was groundbreaking and gave me dynamic real-world experience. I’m thankful my Merck co-workers treated me like a colleague and full-time employee in providing me ample opportunity to learn accountability and leadership — beyond the IT skills that naturally came with the work assignment. I gained expertise and skills through the co-op program that were unmatched by my high school peers working the Jersey beaches and local Philly bars to help pay their tuition.
With my CCIS education and advanced work experience in place, I embarked on becoming a management consultant immediately upon graduation from Drexel. I already had the confidence to work hand-in-glove with senior leaders thanks to my three unique co-op program experiences. As graduates from other colleges were just getting their feet wet with professional employment etiquette at the ground level, from 1990 to 1991, I was influencing design teams advising them on adjustments to make our final customer experiences come to life.
A significant portion of my thirty-year career became dedicated to representing technology manufacturers to clients in a variety of roles including sales leadership, direct sales and sales support engineering. I consistently found the most joy I derived from my work wasn’t primarily the income associated with high performance sales but rather, the enduring impact on their business outcomes and client relationship longevity that resulted from my work.
In parallel to my endeavors advising clients on business outcomes, I found myself becoming more and more interested in particular industry sectors — most notably any industry that services others, especially vulnerable populations. I’ve had the great pleasure working with law enforcement, adult corrections, juvenile justice, social services and healthcare entities for many years, advising their leadership and devising innovative strategies to improve outcome trajectories for those whom they serve. For years, I have pioneered advanced innovation within this community, working with incredible minds within my clients and alongside incredible academics and researchers from around our nation. Such success and passion have spurred my recent launch of my own consulting firm, Intintolo Advisors, LLC. My mission is to bolster service outcomes leveraging the insights of client-facing workforces by empowering them with a voice to inform critical decision making.
In summary, my career path has traversed something like this: I started out with a basic plan to secure a Drexel degree, seeking great wealth in the technology solutioning market. My journey led me through magnitudes of revenue growth including an amazing road through Silicon Valley with an early internet darling of the period called Netscape (led by Jim Barksdale). As I grew more mature (and older), my focus shifted concentration towards coaching, advising and influencing outcomes for others, and influencing thinkers who can provide measurable impact on other people’s futures.
If you’re thinking about attending Drexel and are interested in entrepreneurship or business or public services, I have some advice for you. First, be passionate about whatever you do. I think ambivalence is probably the number one momentum killer. You'll never have momentum if you don't actually believe in what you're doing and why you're doing it. For those at my stage in their careers: “if you’re not inspired, you’re better off retired.”
Secondly, if you are seeking support from others, you should formulate a plan. Without a plan — if you haven’t put pencil to paper and devised your plan including goals — no one is going to take you seriously. Also, don’t create your enterprise in a vacuum. Pitch your idea to hundreds of people to refine it. Get feedback and advice from successful people in your field and make one or two of them your mentors. Professionals like myself, who are on the tail end of our careers, love coaching those who are embarking on their own journeys.
Lastly, don’t be afraid of critique and failure; it’s all part of the process of refining your idea. Sometimes, you must go back to the drawing board, and there’s a learning experience there. That’s why having coaches and advisors is so important. But don’t just choose any mentor — make sure to network and find someone who has had success in your field.
Whether you’re interested in entering the private or public sector, Drexel University offers students the right mix of fundamental skills and critical real-world expertise to give them a leg up in the modern economy. Take advantage of every opportunity to stumble, grow and find your path every day even if it means your path takes you in new directions that you didn’t anticipate at the onset."
About the Author:
Nick Intintolo proudly graduated in 1990 from Drexel University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer and Information Science. He continues advising executive leaders how to leverage transformation typically infused with latest technologies, to better serve their constituents, clients and staff. His InflectionPoint agile workshop continues to raise the bar for workforce inclusion, empowering people to use their voice, take action and shape futures for those who are less fortunate. He presently resides in Central Florida with his wife Karen, children Donna and Jonathan (with Natasha) and grandchildren.