Business Grad Uses Finance Skills to Give Back at Manhattan

Christina Costas ’12 started numerous programs for students to help the local community, while gaining real-world experience.

Christina Costas

Christina Costas, a graduate of Manhattan College’s class of 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and Economics and a resident of New Hyde Park, N.Y., has spent the past four years using her finance skills to serve the Bronx community.

During her sophomore year, Costas founded the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA), a program through which students provide free tax preparation services to local Bronx residents. VITA grew to become one of the most successful business program at Manhattan.

“With their help, more than 1 million tax dollars were reimbursed back to the Bronx community,” said Costas, marking this as her defining moment with the program.

This year, with the help of Costas, the College had more than 40 students complete the IRS certification program, ensuring that this program will remain an integral part of the business school in the future.

In addition to her work with VITA, Costas also started a financial literacy education initiative in partnership with neighborhood high schools in the Bronx. The program was so successful that this upcoming year students will be working with Citizen Schools, a nonprofit organization that partners with middle schools across the United States to expand the learning day for low-income children and further financial literacy in the Bronx community.

Perhaps Costas’ most exciting endeavor with the College was the launch of the Federal Reserve Competition, which she started her junior year. This is a rigorous competition held at the Federal Reserve in which 28 institutions present their findings on the state of the economy and their views on monetary policy. While it began as an extracurricular activity, the Federal Reserve Competition turned into the Finance and Economics Seminar that is currently being offered to business students in the fall.

Costas’ passion for finance began before she started her college career.

“In high school, I was in a program called the Academy of Finance where I obtained 33 college credits in business management courses, as well as an internship with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney,” Costas said. “That’s where I got a real taste of finance and realized it was for me, which brought me to Manhattan College.”

Costas hit the ground running when she arrived at the College, signing up for the mentor program and making the connections that eventually helped her to solidify positions in a variety of internships including Goldman Sachs in investment banking, Toronto Dominion Bank in banking, and American Express in mergers and acquisitions.

With their help, more than 1 million tax dollars were reimbursed back to the Bronx community.

“We are fortunate to have had Christina as a member of Manhattan College’s school of business, and there is no doubt that she will go on to do many great and wonderful things,” said Salwa Ammar, Ph.D., dean of the School of Business. “I feel privileged to have known her and to have played a part in her accomplished years of education.”

Costas was also honored with the Joseph J. Gunn Alumni Medal, one of the College’s highest undergraduate student honors, at the Spring Honors Convocation on May 17.

The Gunn Medal is awarded annually to a graduating senior who has demonstrated exemplary leadership, service and character, and who has made the greatest overall contribution to Manhattan College during his or her years as an undergraduate. 

Upon graduation, Costas is embarking on a career with American Express in the mergers and acquisitions department.

“Manhattan College has played a huge role in my career, between the networking opportunities and the relationships I’ve built with professors and students, which I know will stick with me wherever I go,” Costas said.  “I would not do anything differently and being a Jasper has certainly been an amazing experience.”