For East Aurora, N.Y., native Nick Theodorakos, ’01,
the bonds with St. Bonaventure only grow stronger as the years go by.
From late nights working in the Rathskeller as an undergrad to a fast-paced career in the options and futures markets of Chicago, one constant in Nick Theodorakos’s life has been a strong connection with St. Bonaventure.
A weekend getaway brought Theodorakos to Bona’s for the first time, but it was the personalized attention in the classroom that led him to enroll as a student.
“That drew me in,” Theodorakos said. “Most schools talk about the personal touch, but at Bonaventure it was 100 percent obvious. It really felt like they honestly cared.”
He flourished within the close-knit, hands-on atmosphere, and earned a bachelor of business administration degree with a major in finance in 2001.
“Nick was a hard worker,” said Dr. James Mahar, ’88, associate professor of finance. “He was not only smart, but willing to work to do well in the classroom and now in his career.”
After graduation Theodorakos headed to Chicago, following a path first blazed by fellow finance graduates. He eventually landed a position at the Chicago Board Options Exchange. Today, he serves as Trade Desk senior manager at thinkorswim by TD Ameritrade, a company that employs 12 other St. Bonaventure graduates, including his brother Matt, ’10.
Working in an environment with so many other Bonnies creates a smoother flow of communications, Theodorakos noted. “When you’re all from the same family, it’s pretty easy to speak with each other,” he said. “The common bond allows you to speak on another level.”
That Bonaventure bond is one he is proud of — and nurtures whenever he can. Theodorakos often hosts SBU’s Finance and Investments Club on its annual trip to Chicago and has offered his assistance to Students in Money Management on several occasions.
Theodorakos’s best advice for today’s students is this: Learn technology and how to network.
“While you’re at school, take some software classes and get some basic understanding of programming,” he said. “People driving business today understand both. And network. When you’re at Bonaventure, the best resource is the networking.”
Theodorakos ought to know; he has made the most of his own networking and continues to help others.
“We are proud of what Nick has done in Chicago,” said Dr. Jeffrey Peterson, chair of the Department of Finance, adding that Theodorakos is part of a strong web of finance alumni who continually reach out to mentor students and help guide new graduates.
“When we first started making arrangements to go out to Chicago, Mike Spallone, class of 1977, and Patrick Videll, class of 1991, were among the first to help,” said Peterson. “Mike was the man in the Eurodollar pit at the old Chicago Mercantile Exchange. When we wanted to make a trip out, Mike was one of the first to step up. Since then, a group of people have helped: Tom Scanlan, ’89; Marty Sweeney, ’94; Donnie Roberts, ’95; all the Cullens — Joe, ’97; Tom, ’00 and Tim, ’04, ’05.
“Nick and these guys have been incredible,” said Peterson. “They have gone so far as to put people up on a couch and help them out while they’re looking for a job.”
Theodorakos is also orchestrating change by giving back financially to the university. He has been a longtime supporter of The Bonaventure Fund and donated to Café La Verna in honor of his time in the Rathskeller.
“I have to give credit to the Skeller,” he said with a smile.
Earlier this year, Nick and his wife, Amy, made a leadership commitment to the School of Business Campaign.
Deciding to commit to a major gift while still in the early years of building a career could be daunting for some people, but not for Theodorakos.
“You’re going to pay off your student loans,” he said, “but the friends, the values, the overall relationships you build are invaluable.” Once the decision was made to support the campaign, making use of St. Bonaventure’s electronic monthly giving program made the process simple and easy.
“Bonaventure did a lot for me,” Theodorakos said. “After four years there, I am indebted to the school. This is my thank-you to the School of Business.”
by Susan Anderson