|Nick Lulli playing on the Princeton junior varsity basketball team|
Fr. Michael Sliney,
LC, who works in the Washington DC area, is very
active in Regnum Christi programs involving young people.
Though his work, he came to know one young man
whose work ethic and dedication impressed Father enough to write
the following to us in the RC Communications Department:
Several years ago, Nick
Lulli, a freshman in high school in the Washington DC
area, decided he was going to Princeton. He
came from a middle class family, he had to work
every summer, and with this new goal, he poured himself
into his studies 100%. He was the leader
for his high school "outreach" team, and volunteered for programs
and events, including promoting confessions for hours at World Youth
Day in Australia, helping direct an extreme mission to El
Salvador over his Christmas break, and being very involved in
our Angel for a Day events in Washington DC.
Catholic Faith has always been the driving force behind his
actions and even at Princeton, Christ continues to be at
the center. I look forward to having him
as a central part of our new Lumen young professionals
to share more about this impressive young man, so the
following is an interview with Nick Lulli, who will be
starting his new job at Goldman Sachs this summer. He took some time to share his thoughts on
life and the lessons he has learned, hoping to inspire
other young people to succeed in their chosen path.
How has being Catholic
defined your choices in life?
|Nick with his younger sister Cecilia|
Being Catholic has encouraged me to make the
choices that are most likely to make me, and those
around me, happy and fulfilled in the long run.
How did you come
to know Fr. Michael Sliney?
I met Fr. Michael when I was nine
years old at a retreat at Our Lady of Bethesda
retreat center in Maryland. In the years that
followed I joined my friends on many retreats, pilgrimages, and
service trips led by Fr. Michael.
Fr. Sliney said you have
been an active volunteer and evangelist. He said
you were a leader on your high school outreach team. Please explain.
In high school, I often volunteered to lead a
group of students from schools around the DC area in
a variety of community service activities. These included
visiting homes for the elderly, directing food and toy drives
such as Angel for a Day, and volunteering at soup
How and why did you become involved in the Angel
for a Day program in Washington DC?
One year Fr. Michael asked me
to help out. As the years went by,
like many of the other activities offered through our high
school outreach team, I saw Angel for a Day as
a great way to serve others and give back to
helped direct a mission trip to El Salvador.
Please tell us about that. What did you learn there?
I helped organize
the logistics for the trip and acted as a Spanish
translator. We distributed school supplies and soccer equipment to the
rural poor in a several El Salvadorian villages. Although I
had seen this level of poverty before in Mexico, I
had never spent as much time around people who had
so little. I was impressed by how people
there maintained remarkably positive views on life, despite stark material
poverty, because of their strong faith.
|Nick (number 8) played varsity lightweight football at Princeton |
You promoted confession at World Youth
Day in Australia. Why is confession a necessary
sacrament for young people?
Confession provides an outside perspective on a person’s daily
activities. The sacrament is therapeutic in that it facilitates an
open discussion of private matters that trouble you..
More fundamentally though, confession helps you remain calm and grounded
in the face of the hardships and challenges life throws
Why did you set your sights on Princeton?
I chose Princeton because it
provides its undergraduate students with the resources of a large
research university while still in the context of a small
four-year college. The University focuses a disproportionate share of its
enormous endowment on undergraduates. It also has some
of the best Economics, Finance, and Politics departments in the
world, so I knew I would be able to learn
from the leaders in my fields of interest.
Princeton also has a nice location, close to DC, Philadelphia,
and New York, but still situated in a charming college
difficult to live your faith on campus at Princeton? Why or why not?
Like any other college scene, at Princeton there
are opportunities for both good and bad decisions.
Although Princeton is a distinctly secular institution, the freedom of
choice it allows helps prepare students for the professional world
in a way more cloistered religious institutions don’t.
Students need to exercise their faculty of choice in order
to improve it, just like anything else. A
choice can really only be virtuous if it is both
freely given and freely made.
Also, the Catholic community at Princeton is strong
and vibrant, so there is always great support for those
interested in living the faith. Many professors, like
Professor Robert George, are actively involved in several Catholic groups
on campus and serve as role models for living out
your Catholic identity.
You play Varsity Lightweight Football and Junior Varsity Basketball
at Princeton. As an athlete, please discuss why
developing yourself physically is important for a young person.
For me, the strenuous
physical exertion provides effective stress relief and a change of
pace from Princeton´s academic rigor. I have learned
at least as much on the Princeton football field and
the basketball court as I have in the classroom. My athletic commitments have been the most enjoyable and
practically useful experiences of my undergraduate career.
Athletics is an integral component to
any liberal arts education. Student athletes learn teamwork
and form bonds of friendship much stronger than those made
in the classroom or a student club.
Sports teaches you the competitiveness
and intensity necessary to survive in the business world. Particularly in college, athletes develop strong time management skills
because of the difficulty involved in balancing practice and class,
competition and exams.
Risk-taking is one of the most valuable skills in the
professional world, especially at the management level, and competitive sports
demands quick decision making and judicious risk taking in order
to win. The leadership and discipline you learn
in athletics gives you the tools to live a virtuous
personal life and a successful professional one.
Being a good student and
doing your best is obviously important to you.
necessary for personal growth to try your hardest in anything
you do. You learn about your own strengths
and weaknesses by working hard. And you can only improve
yourself by taking this feedback to heart and acting on
a small liberal arts high school, I didn´t have the
quantitative skills that the Math Olympics and Physics genius-type kids
at Princeton have. Moreover my football schedule consistently
took up about 25 hours per week. On
top of that, I have two campus jobs (working as
a campus bartender and security for the University chapel.) So I learned as much from the fight to
keep my grades above water as I actually did in
the classes themselves—and I will have been more valuably prepared
for the professional world because of it.
Tell me about your senior thesis.
discusses the free market tenets of the economic program “el
ladrillo.” A group of University of Chicago-educated economists called the
“Chicago Boys” proposed this plan to General Augusto Pinochet shortly
after the coup in 1973. I argue that
Pinochet´s government in Chile, as well as the succeeding democratic
administrations of President Patricio Aylwin and Eduardo Frei, largely adhered
to the policy recommendations of el ladrillo. By
doing so, these leaders led Chile into its Golden Decade
(1984-1997), in which the nation enjoyed the highest growth rates
and lowest poverty in Latin America.
Why did you choose finance as a
career? Why did you choose Goldman Sachs?
I chose finance because I like
the competitiveness and fast-pace of the industry. It´s also a
team-oriented environment that provides a great transition for a college
athlete. In finance you are given a tremendous amount of
responsibility early on and you are expected to learn quickly
in order to survive. You also develop a set a
hard skills that are transferable to almost any other major
industry. I’m working for the Emerging Markets Structuring
and Marketing group at Goldman Sachs beginning in July. In this group, I’ll be able to hone my
mathematical skills while still building relationships with clients.
Because all of our clients are in Latin America, I´ll
keep my Spanish language skills sharp, and even learn Portuguese
chose Goldman Sachs because of the tremendous resources the firm
invests in its employees. During my internship last summer at
Goldman many senior employees spent a lot of their valuable
time with us, acting as mentors and teaching us the
basics of financial services. Rotating through different trading
desks showed me the central role close that team interaction
plays in the firm’s different businesses. I want
to continue improving myself after college, and Goldman Sachs, with
a firm-wide culture of excellence and hard work, provides the
best place for me to do so.
Fr. Sliney mentioned that you will
be a “central part of our new young professionals team.” Can you elaborate?
I will be a Lumen Fellow for
the coming year in the New York City area. The
purpose of the group is to provide its members with
formation in faith and virtue, as well as practical career
advice from senior mentors in a variety of fields. I´m excited for our upcoming meetings and the opportunity
to learn from professionals who have successfully faced many of
the challenges I will likely encounter in my career.