Volunteer Spotlight: Vince DaCosta, ’07, M.B.A. ’10
By Eva Richards

vince-dacosta-photoVince DaCosta, '07, M.B.A. '10, has remained a part of NIU's volunteer community for the last 16 years.

Vince DaCosta, ’07, M.B.A. ’10, has made volunteering at NIU a part of his life ever since his graduation, no matter where he is based or how busy his days are.

“When I used to live in the Chicagoland area, I would come back to the campus to speak, be on advisory boards and even do mock interviews,” he said. “Now that I live out of state, I primarily volunteer as an e-mentor where I am assigned a student each semester at NIU to connect remotely for professional feedback and guidance." 

“I've been an e-mentor for years now and I thoroughly enjoy meeting new students, getting to know them and their career aspirations, along with how NIU changes each year,” he added.

DaCosta, who earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration, attests that these volunteer opportunities have kept him connected to his alma mater and “in the know about academics, athletics and other alumni.”

“I remember being a volunteer one year in the College of Business’ BELIEF: Ethics Program and found it fulfilling, as it showed that NIU really wanted their students to be focused on ethics when they head into the work world,” he said. “It is so critical to approach not just work but day-to-day life ethically, and I’m proud that NIU is instilling this value.”

Growing up in Glenview, Illinois, located about 15 miles northwest of Chicago, DaCosta spent his time being a good student, hanging out with diverse sets of friends, and focusing on athletics like football, wrestling and track and field. After high school graduation, DaCosta knew exactly what he wanted in a university.

“I was looking for a large, public, in-state school and had, of course, applied to all of them in Illinois, but I was able to come see the NIU campus,” DaCosta said, noting he visited his best friend’s older brother in DeKalb. “After spending time walking the campus and seeing the nightlife, I knew it was the right choice for me to attend. I also learned about Barsema Hall and everything that was being provided to the business students, which helped solidify my choice of major.”

When he came to NIU, he made lasting memories.

“I loved my time at NIU and would say I had a pretty typical college experience. My freshman year was spent at Grant Tower where I made many memories with all my floormates who I keep in touch with even today,” he said. “Getting to meet so many different people in classes and socially was so much fun.”

After his first year, DaCosta lived off campus and spent plenty of time at Barsema Hall where he learned from those around him.

“I absorbed so much information that helped set me up for success later on in life,” he said. “I was also fortunate enough to earn several scholarships that helped financially throughout my time there. NIU will forever be a part of me due to the opportunities provided to me and the experiences I have had. To me, NIU is a great representation of the real world, with people from all different walks of life living and growing together.”

DaCosta noted that NIU was able to bring the real world to the classroom, too.

“I was able to participate in many events where I listened to external speakers and alumni," he said. "I also was a part of clubs, events and even classwork that helped shape my overall business acumen. By earning both my B.S. and M.B.A. from NIU, it opened the door to my current professional career which has been extremely fulfilling.”

Between DaCosta’s junior and senior years on campus, he was able to obtain a retail internship with Walgreens. More specifically, he was able to be stationed at the Walgreens near his parents' house, which made it extremely convenient and allowed him to serve his own community.

“The internship gave me the inside track to secure a full-time position before graduating from NIU in 2007,” he said.

The first few years after graduation. DaCosta worked full-time at Walgreens and earned his M.B.A. through the NIU evening program. Once he completed his M.B.A. in 2010, he moved into a corporate role with Walgreens and spent several years working his way up until he managed the Market Access Sales Operations team. 

“In 2016, I got married to my beautiful wife Amanda, and we decided to move to Orlando, Florida. During this transition, I was looking to move out of the corporate life and shifted to become a strategy consultant in the Sales Performance space. During my time as a consultant at Xactly and OpenSymmetry, I was able to really expedite my professional knowledge across various clients, industries and C-suite interactions, along with extensive travel across the U.S.,” he said.

When the pandemic came, in order to be more available for his two young children, DaCosta took a remote role as a director of sales compensation for GitHub, which is a subsidiary of Microsoft. Most recently, he is working as the director of global sales compensation strategy for Databricks, one of the world’s largest software platforms that unifies data, analytics and artificial intelligence.

As DaCosta looks back at his success, he has committed to continue to give back to his alma mater, remembering what the institution has done for his career.

“NIU really provides so much to us all as students. We take away the knowledge, networking and support we need to continue that cycle, as we become more experienced,” he said. “I still remember all the speakers that took the time out of their busy lives to come connect with us as students, and I want to now be that impactful alumnus who students remember years after graduation.”