Skip to main content

Four local PNC execs reflect on impact of their NC State Poole College education, offer advice

Just down the road from their alma mater – at PNC Bank’s regional hub in downtown Raleigh – sit four NC State graduates with leadership roles for PNC’s Triangle and Eastern Carolinas region. They credit much of their success to their experiences at the NC State Poole College of Management over a decade ago.

The four are Ryan Ciccone (Class of 1999), Jim Hansen (2000), Laura Hulsey (1997) and Timothy Hunter (1999). When Hansen, regional president of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. in the Eastern Carolinas region, joined the Poole College Board of Advisors in spring 2015, a dialogue ensued with the other three PNC peers who attended Poole College at the same time and share an appreciation for the lessons they learned while students. 

Ciccone, PNC senior vice president and regional manager for the Sandhills and Coastal South Carolina; Hulsey, PNC senior vice president and commercial market leader for Eastern Carolinas; and Hunter, PNC senior vice president and regional manager for Triangle South, joined Hansen in reflecting on their favorite courses and teachers, their career paths and what it takes to be successful today.

Poole College Highlights

All four said they appreciated the way their professors taught “real world” business scenarios, and how they use what they learned in their current jobs – and personal finances – today.

“What I enjoyed most was that the professors all had professional experience as well as an academic background, which gave them – and me – a richer understanding of the field. That combination of theoretical and real-world, hands-on experience helped everything hit home to me in a very unique way,” Hunter said.

Ciccone says the college exposed him to a variety of aspects within the business world, helping him determine which of those he was most suited and interested in pursuing for a career. Hansen said he felt his experience provided him with the access to “get in the door” with a company that trusted the high caliber of Poole College graduates. And Hulsey credits her career path to the personalized advice she received from an advisor who took the time to learn her interests, strengths and weaknesses.

Keys to Success in Today’s Business World

In a conversation about how drastically businesses change with technology and competition, three key themes consistently came up as critical attributes for being successful in today’s business climate:

  • Communication
  • Relating to people
  • Adapting to change

“With the technological advances we’ve seen, it seems the ability to build relationships and communicate effectively is a skill that fewer people have developed. Relating to people is key,” Ciccone said.

Hansen said that no matter the industry a graduate may choose, “it is almost certain that there will be fierce competition, a focus on delivering a high level of service in the most efficient manner possible, and that the industry will go through many changes.” His advice: “Be ready for change, adapt quickly and don’t fight it, because change provides new opportunities to win.”

Hulsey said that while learning the technical piece of your field is critical, “what will differentiate you and drive your success is the ability to communicate effectively, maintain a positive attitude, accept constructive feedback and adapt to change.”

Hunter stressed the importance of staying ahead of the game by monitoring trends and helping your company prepare for the future.

Staying Connected with Poole College

The four also discussed how each of them use their Poole College connections regularly to build relationships and business. Hulsey pointed out the benefits of staying connected through the college’s programs and events, while Hunter highlighted the exposure to the growing number of industries Poole College graduates have access to in the Triangle.

Ciccone noted the advantage of using the NC State name when building relationships. “It’s amazing how frequently I meet folks who also attended NC State and there’s an instant credibility in their eyes and kinship that comes from that connection,” he said.