Junior Goes into Business with Own Consulting Firm
Not many undergraduates can say they run their own businesses. Then again, Paul Schifilliti ’17 isn’t exactly the norm.
Together with Kevin Soriano ’19, the 20-year-old honors student founded Calculated Business Progress (CBP), a budget-friendly consulting firm poised to help small restaurants expand through strategic marketing, effective cost structuring and establishing greater efficiencies.
“Simply put, we help these restaurants grow by stretching their dollar without sacrificing their product,” added Schifilliti.
The idea for the firm dawned on Schifilliti after connecting with a friend from China who works as a top executive at a respected consulting firm. Schifilliti said his friend, who he met during an internship in China, has always been a phone call away to provide help or advice. However the journey to making CBP a reality wasn’t without its challenges.
“Try being 20 and telling someone how to run their business,” he explained. “But with some persistence and good sales techniques, we have been able to make some good progress in the last six months.”
When Schifilliti isn’t running CBP, he is excelling in and beyond the classroom. Though double majoring in economics and business and trade, Schifilliti also has a great interest in Mandarin. After learning the language for a year at Saint Peter’s, he decided it was necessary to build on his skills and found an opportunity to go to China to study at Sichuan University while working as a marketing intern for Royal Dutch Shell Petroleum. There, he was responsible for market research and event-site analysis to increase consumer awareness for a new country-wide product. He was also able to make countless business connections among a diverse group of industries.
“Living in a country like China threw me out of my comfort zone and forced me to adapt to my surroundings,” said Schifilliti. “It was the opportunity I yearned for and an invaluable experience that I recommend to my fellow students.”
Schifilliti also returned to China this past summer for an internship with Major League Baseball near Shanghai, which allowed him to continue his study of Mandarin.
While making a difference abroad was important to Schifilliti, so was making a positive impact on the University community. Thus, he embarked upon getting involved in a variety of student clubs and organizations. Currently he is the president of the Economics and Finance Club, the chief financial officer of the Student Government Association and a representative of the men’s baseball team for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
“The responsibilities vary, but all provide a chance to be a part of things we students have control over here at Saint Peter’s,” he added.
When he’s not in the classroom or overseas, Schifilliti also succeeds on the athletic field as a pitcher for the Division 1 men’s baseball team.
“I consider everyone on our team as a brother and I think it is fostering those relationships that are the best part about playing here,” he added. “I would do anything for those guys and I know that sentiment is reciprocated from all of them.”
When asked from where he got his drive and motivation to accomplish so much, Schifilliti gave credit to his family and upbringing. He recalled his father, a native Italian, coming to the United States where created a successful chain of restaurants in New Jersey without a college education.
“I come from a household where success in all facets of life was not necessarily applauded, but expected and I am forever grateful for the character traits it has instilled in me,” he explained. “I feel that a strong work ethic is the starting point for all success and fortunately, I was brought up by the hardest worker I know.”
Moving forward, the young entrepreneur is in pursuit of an internship as a financial analyst with a few large banks in the upcoming summer. To date, he is considering pursuing a job in investment banking upon commencement in 2017.
When asked what advice he might give to incoming freshmen, Schifilliti emphasized the importance of enjoying the journey and having faith in the process.
“You’ll learn in Dr. O’Neill’s philosophy class that Aristotle says happiness is an end, but I would argue that you can be happy while accomplishing the activities that surmount to the end,” he explained. “For now, work hard and good things will happen.”