As a young entry-level account executive, Matt Longo was less than enthusiastic about sales and ambivalent about his future. When he was offered an impromptu ride-along with a securities specialist, he was struck by the complexity and business-savvy that effective security management requires, and he knew immediately that security was his true calling.
Managing security for a communications company isn’t just, as Longo put it, “setting up a camera”, but involves elements of design, project management and more. Longo recognized he had what it takes to break into the securities world — all he was missing was a degree.
“One day, when I was driving, the radio came on, and I heard them talking about [Yorkville University’s] BBA online, and I thought, ‘Wow, that’s actually feasible’… I looked into it, and I had to think: It was a lot of money, and it was going to take a lot of time. I was also getting married, and we were going to have kids soon. Do I have what it takes to commit to this?”
He decided the reward was worth the effort and enrolled in Yorkville’s online BBA. He also took a break from Bell, to work for a smaller communications company that had openings in his chosen field. Longo was able to leverage the fact he was enrolled in the BBA program to get his foot in the door as a security specialist with the startup cell phone company.
“They hired me on contract in their security department,” he said. “I was doing physical security, investigations and the law enforcement administration portion. So, if the police sent in with a warrant to get records, I would testify in court. I handled it all—I was doing everything from invoices to setting procedures and processes. There were 150 people in the company, and I was the only person in the securities department.”
Longo was prepared for the challenge of handling both his job and a degree but was struck by the rigour of Yorkville’s BBA program. Nonetheless, he was undeterred.
“[The BBA Program] keeps you true”, Longo said. “I was surprised by how much was involved. Every week there are assignments and discussions, and you’re interacting with your colleagues within the groups. It was a lot of work, but at the same time, I was impressed by how well it was set up to help you succeed and to keep you accountable. There were times when I wanted to bang my head against the wall because there was so much to do, but I felt satisfied handing in an essay on time, and I would see my marks coming in and think, ‘Wow I’m doing a great job and improving myself. But it’s not easy. You need that drive.”
Longo was impressed by how relevant the material in the BBA program was to so many aspects of his work in securities. He attests to the fact that the course gave him a very well-rounded perspective on overall business operations, and the ability to synthesize information and to see the big picture.
“I found it was very helpful because most of securities work involves running a business, project management, and working out budgets,” said Longo.
Now, Longo is on the cusp of taking on a new position in Atlantic Canada, which will involve a move to Moncton, and the creation of a three-year security plan for Bell Aliant on the east coast.
“My superiors see the things that I can incorporate into my role, so now I’m not just some guy who is putting a camera up—and this is a big reason why they thought I would be a good fit to work out there in the Maritimes,” he said.
Longo is enthusiastic about continuing to move up in his career, but he also prioritizes work-life balance and is looking forward to starting a new chapter of his life in New Brunswick, with his wife, their two-year old daughter, and their 11-month old son.
“I’ll be the main person out there, [in Atlantic Canada] and I see it as a real challenge, and a step up. That’s where the BBA has helped.”
“My wife and I love it out there. We think Moncton will be a great spot, with a lifestyle that we want, and French for the kids. We’re really looking forward to moving in September.”