While his teammates developed their skills during fall break, Albion College men’s lacrosse defensive midfielder and faceoff specialist Nick DiMaggio was developing skills he hopes will be valuable in launching his career in business.
An economics and management major who is concentrating in the Carl A. Gerstacker Institute for Business and Management, DiMaggio left Oct. 9 with classmates for a weeklong trip to Paris as they began work on an international entrepreneurship project with students from Ecole Supérieure de Vente (SDV), a French business school.
Started in 2008, the Student Entrepreneurial Exchange (SEE) brings Albion and SDV students together for the development of business plans and cultural exchange. During the week abroad, DiMaggio’s team worked on developing a business plan for a fictional security app that can send information about an individual’s location in the event of an emergency. The team will meet via video conferencing to work out marketing and financial details and to develop a launch plan for the project, then the French students travel to Albion in April for the product proposal, presented during the College’s Elkin R. Isaac Student Research Symposium.
“I made a commitment to this college to play lacrosse and give it everything I have,” DiMaggio said. “As a student, I made a commitment to myself to do the best I can in every course and to follow my passion. I’m working to balance my opportunities on the field and in career preparation.
“Luckily, [Albion men’s lacrosse] Coach [Jake] DeCola understands the needs of the student-athletes to work on academic projects,” DiMaggio added, including other stories of how DeCola has provided support as teammates have successfully juggled playing lacrosse while preparing for entrance examinations for graduate or professional programs.
While in France, DiMaggio and his Albion classmates attended class at SDV from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., a departure from the American college schedule. The Albion students presented the research they had already completed about the product’s opportunities in the American market and learned how market research is conducted in France.
Of course, time was set aside for sightseeing and sampling French culture, and DiMaggio wasn’t about to miss the opportunity to teach lacrosse to a new audience.
“I had never been outside North America,” DiMaggio admitted. “I can always look at the Eiffel Tower and other landmarks on Google. I enjoyed experiencing the senses – smell, taste – while taking in all the cultures from France and the neighboring countries around us.
“As an Eagle Scout and someone who is familiar with maps, I knew I had some experiences that prepared me [for foreign travel], but I had never been in a situation where I did not know the language,” he added. “I read in class and on the flight about cultural norms in France. I was calm, cool, and collected on the outside all the while being anxious on the inside.
“I’m never opposed to spreading the game,” DiMaggio continued. “Lacrosse has been growing exponentially in the U.S. A lot of people have talked about growing the game and how it should not be restricted to one person. People should always be available to pass on the virtues of the game.”
Albion finished the 2014 season as the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association runner-up in men’s lacrosse, and the Britons have high expectations for the spring. The Britons have five all-MIAA first team selections – Cameron Braun, Kyle Formanczyk, Dylan Neal, Joe Silvestri, and Tim Urso – expected to return to the squad.
DiMaggio, however, understands that communication between himself, faculty, and the coaches will be essential as he prepares for the French students’ visit and the final presentation along with working to have success on the field.
“I lean back on the fact that there have been many student-athletes before me who have completed similar projects,” DiMaggio said. “It is going to be tough, but this is something [in which] I know everyone involved – coaches and teachers – will work with me.”