Stamford First-Generation Student Maximizes Opportunities

Christian Escotto-Rosado '19 (BUS), at the Stamford Campus. (Nathan Oldham/UConn Photo)
Stamford business major Christian Escotto-Rosado '19 (BUS) is soaking up every experience he can, including an internship at IBM and the chance to take part in the Student Managed Fund. (Nathan Oldham/UConn Photo)

Christian Escotto-Rosado ’19 (BUS) is always on the hunt for his next opportunity.

A first-generation college student, the 21-year-old UConn senior is soaking up every experience he can – be it working full-time as a bank teller while juggling a grueling course schedule, throwing his hat in the ring for a prestigious internship, or learning to decorate a mean birthday cake at his mother’s fledgling Bronx event venue.

“He loves to learn. He loves a challenge, and he’s very resourceful,” says Marlys Rizzi, assistant director of the School of Business in Stamford and a trusted advisor who has known him for more than two years.

Escotto-Rosado was born in the Bronx to Dominican Republic-born parents, Cristian and Ana. The family moved to Danbury in 2010 and Escotto-Rosado enrolled at Henry Abbott Technical High School, where he studied heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.

It’s awesome to have the opportunity to look at business and how business is done. — Christian Escotto-Rosado

While he knew he could have a solid career in the trade, he decided to further his education and applied to UConn’s Waterbury Campus to study business administration. Soon after, he made the switch to Stamford, to home in on Financial Management.

“I thought there would be more opportunities,” he says.

And he hasn’t been disappointed. Since the Financial Management majors have a fairly set course of study, Escotto-Rosado quickly made friends with his classmates and found himself right at home.

“I would say it’s a good feeling within the Financial Management major,” he says. “You’re all taking classes together.”

He’s been enjoying the laser-sharp focus of the field as well.

“It’s far more specific, more applied,” he says. “I’ve always wanted to do something in business, and it’s awesome to have the opportunity to look at business and how business is done.”

The decision to attend college has not come without some challenges. For the past two years, he worked 32 hours a week as a Chase Bank teller, while juggling a full-time course schedule.

“I’d work in the morning and go to school at night. It worked out well. I’ve learned to operate on less sleep,” he says.

At Chase, he learned people skills that he believes will serve him well wherever he lands in business. In addition, he was an ATM custodian, with about $800,000 under his control on any given day.

“That was a great opportunity – to have that responsibility on my shoulders,” he says.

Escotto-Rosado might still be at the bank if it hadn’t been for another opportunity that came his way – this time with IBM, where he snagged a plum, full-time internship as a financial analyst in its Armonk, New York, headquarters.

The company had been recruiting on the Stamford campus, and he jumped at the chance.

“The planets kind of aligned,” he says. “I can’t say enough good things about it.”

Escotto-Rosado’s day at IBM sometimes started with a 6:30 a.m. pickup basketball game that might include anyone from his fellow interns to IBM executives. After a quick shower and change, he’d find himself forecasting financial realities in the current year, analyzing how products were performing against budgets, and adjusting targets for the future.

As with any internship, Escotto-Rosado knew he had to quickly learn and adapt to IBM’s particular corporate culture to stand out – another test that will serve him well in his career.

“It was really a cool, hands-on experience,” he says.

Escotto-Rosado credits UConn faculty and advisors such as assistant professor-in-residence Robert Biolsi with helping him make the transition from promising student to valued employee.

Biolsi was instrumental in securing another internship for him, this time with an investment banker who challenged him to look at specific municipal bonds and how they were performing. The investor was based on Long Island, so Escotto-Rosado would study the bonds’ performance at UConn’s state-of-the-art Bloomberg terminal, and then hop on the Port Jefferson Ferry in nearby Bridgeport every couple of weeks to meet with the investor and present his findings.

Prior to the internship, Escotto-Rosado didn’t have much experience with the Bloomberg terminal, an advanced computer system with integrated financial software that allows users to access real-time financial data from around the world. But he worked on it every day on his own initiative, in order to become familiar with it.

This semester, he is excited to be part of the highly selective Student Managed Fund at UConn, in which students learn about investing and then gain valuable hands-on experience by investing real money in the stock market, with the guidance of financial experts.

Escotto-Rosado is one of only two or three undergraduates on the first-ever Stamford team.

Run by Goldman Sachs retiree Blake Mather, another invaluable mentor, the fund goes along with a class for course credit. Last fall, Escotto-Rosado went the extra mile to take an optional course with Mather, an adjunct faculty member. It came with no course credit, but he saw a priceless payoff, that of knowledge.

Escotto-Rosado is also vice president of the Financial Management Club, and president of the Market Watch Program, which challenges members to invest fictional funds and follow the market in real time.

And in his spare time?

Last year, Ana Escotto-Rosado opened Diva Baking & Decor, where she whips up confections and hosts birthday parties and other fun events. Her son, who helps her on weekends and has become quite adept in the kitchen himself, proudly shows photos of their work on his smartphone.

Since he lives at home, he also enjoys helping his younger brothers with their homework, and occasionally kicking back with a video game to unwind.

By next year, he hopes to be working at Goldman Sachs, IBM, or another high-powered organization. He’s also considering studying abroad this winter break, and even checking out another job possibility – London-based McLaren Automotive, maker of sleek sports cars, of which he is fond.

“That would be cool, to work there,” he says, smiling. “Why not?”