Professor Shiu-Kai Chin ’75, G’78, G’86 has taught courses in the College of Engineering and Computer Science for over three decades. As a Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor, Chin is recognized for his teaching excellence in electrical engineering…
Engineer by Training, Financial Entrepreneur by Trade: Joe DiMauro ’02
In an ideal world, every college freshman would be 100 percent decided on their major. You’d select it with a clear goal of where you want it to take you, commit yourself to the curriculum, pass with flying colors and then land a career in the precise industry you were aiming for.
We do not live in an ideal world.The good news is, that’s OK. The college experience contributes immensely to a journey of self-discovery and growth that leads to success in ways you would never see coming.
Take Joe DiMauro ’02, for example. At the recommendation of his dad, he earned a degree in computer engineering. Today, he is a financial entrepreneur, ranked nationally as one of the industry’s top advisors. Although he’s not working with computers, he applies his engineering education every day. In fact, he credits his extraordinary success to what he learned in his engineering studies. We spoke with Joe to find out what it is about an engineering education that can lead to success in a seemingly completely unrelated field.
What was it like to be a student in the College of Engineering and Computer Science?
“When it came to the College of Engineering and Computer Science, you had to work your tail off. I had a lot of long nights, and that instilled a solid work ethic in me.
“I loved how we got to work on innovative projects and labs. I remember designing the prototype for an Internet-controlled house in 2002. Considering the fact that the Internet was still in its infancy at that time (compared to today’s standards), a design of that nature was, in many ways, very ahead of the curve.
“It was a great community of working with other people. That helped so much. You couldn’t do it all on your own, so you needed to work with teams to get through studying or difficult projects. Now I run a team of about 25 people. My teamwork skills came from my time in engineering.”
What are you doing today?
“I’m the co-founder and managing partner of Matauro, which is a wealth management firm in NYC. Our clients are people that work in hedge funds, private equity and investment banks. We help them plan basic and complex investment and saving strategies.
“I live and work in Manhattan with my wife and kids. I married a fellow alum—Courtney Alexander ’04. She was in Whitman and we never actually met when we were in Syracuse, despite being there at the same time. We met in New York City three or four years later through mutual friends and now we are a Syracuse family. We have a four-year-old son, Alexander, and a two-year-old daughter, Stella.”
Have you always had a special talent for finance?
“I wouldn’t say that I did. Syracuse taught me that my successes didn’t come from having a particular knack for finance; my successes came from my skills in interpersonal communication and the ability to work with my peers in a collaborative way. This simple, but important, piece of self-knowledge is something that started me down a path that I continue to walk today.
“In the back of my mind, I always knew that I had more of an entrepreneurial spirit. One of the things that persuaded me to start and work under AXA’s umbrella was the ability to pursue my own clients, and run my own business, in a way that I saw fit. This small idea of being in control of my own destiny is something that appeals to me to this day, and something I believe would have manifested itself even if had I pursued engineering as a career.”
Have you ever felt you picked the wrong major?
“Yes, I definitely did at times. I’d wonder if I had spent my time the wrong way since I didn’t end up as an engineer. There were so many times when I was in a technical class and didn’t feel like I was ever going to use it. I didn’t realize until later on in my career that it was the best decision I ever made.
“One of the most interesting things about my engineering degree was that I didn’t need to get a job doing signal analysis to put it to work. My engineering background has given me the mindset and logical planning skills necessary to be able to excel in any field in the most intelligent and efficient way, and for that I am extremely grateful.
“It was about the process of learning how to solve a problem without having all of the answers in front of you. I think that’s the number one thing I got out of my engineering education that I still use to this day—here’s a problem, how can you figure out an efficient solution. Very often, there’s no template to follow. I’m able to go down paths of execution that are very different than a lot of my peers. I owe that to engineering.”