For Matt Alderman, GWSB BBA ’08, and Mario Sansalone, CCAS BA ’08, GW is a place not just where they spent four years; it’s the common thread that brought these two former classmates and acquaintances together long after they graduated and went in seemingly opposite directions.
Matt and Mario were members of the 2006 Colonial Inauguration (CI) Cabinet and had friends in common, but it wasn’t until after college, in 2011, that they really clicked.
Both were living in Seattle and they reconnected through, as they put it, “a combination of Facebook and a mutual friend [from CI].”
Since Matt was new to Seattle, that mutual friend, Barbara Joseph, CCAS BA ’08, set up a time for the three of them to meet for dinner. When Barbara couldn’t make the outing at the last minute, Matt and Mario agreed they would still meet.
What started out as a reunion of former acquaintances developed into a relationship that is nearly three years strong.
These days, Matt is a senior consultant at Deloitte, a job he got through a GW campus recruiting event his senior year. With the company, he’s moved from DC to Los Angeles to Seattle and back to DC. Before being recruited by Deloitte, Matt held internships at Morgan Stanley, UBS and The White House.
Mario currently works as a project manager for LivingSocial, where his job focuses on “improving the customer experience for our entertainment offerings.” The opportunity with LivingSocial also allowed Mario to move back to the District; he and Matt now live near DC’s H Street Corridor.
“Exploring the new restaurants in DC has kept us very busy,” says Matt. “It’s been great to come back to a city and have a new neighborhood to explore.”
And when they’re not getting to know DC, you can likely find the couple traveling the world. “We really love experiencing new places together—any time we can do that is a bonus! Last month, we explored Buenos Aires for the first time,” says Matt.
Aside from meeting each other through their alma mater, Matt and Mario agree, for different reasons, that their experiences at GW and in DC influenced how they got to where they are today.
Mario says that GW helped steer his professional work in the right direction. “GW helped prepare me to navigate complex organizations and lead people toward a common goal—both are incredibly important in my professional life.”
Matt feels off-campus activities, such as a two-year internship as a fund analyst at Morgan Stanley, and a year-long stint in UBS’ Private Wealth department, provided him “with a wealth of real-world experience.”
While both were involved in on-campus activities such as CI, each has their own memories of GW.
Mario fondly remembers being a participant of and guide for Project Exploration, which ensured for him “a smooth transition into college.” He was also active in the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity.
Matt says living in Thurston Hall and being part of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity are highlights from his GW years.
Even though they lead separate lives during school, Matt and Mario now enjoy combining their GW experiences.
“We both had great friends at GW and have maintained strong friendships,” says Matt. “It’s been great spending the past few years meeting each other’s GW friends.”
They had the chance to do just that—and revisit GW—during Alumni Weekend 2013, when they celebrated their 5 Year Reunion.
“It was great to be back on campus and see many of our friends. Being back in DC has allowed us to see all of the new development. We certainly make use of the new Whole Foods!” says Matt. “And,” he adds, “the occasional trip to Cone E. is still a must.”
–Anne Oblinger, CCAS BA ’08
The original version of this story appeared on GW Alumni News on Sept. 25, 2013.