- Daniel Costanza is a newly-promoted managing director at Citigroup who joined the firm in 2017 as its chief data scientist for its banking, capital markets, and advisory group.
- In his role, Costanza, 32, leads a roughly 20-person team to code and use complex techniques to divine meaning in the numbers for Citi’s investment bankers.
- Costanza opened up in an interview with Business Insider about what it’s like to learn that he made MD in the same week that his first son was born.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Daniel Costanza isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.
On a recent weekend at his home in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., the 32-year-old — who, by day, is part of Citi’s new class of managing directors, and serves as chief data scientist for the firm’s banking, capital markets, and advisor group — was busy installing a new sprinkler system at his house.
“It doesn’t seem like something that would be very informative for banking,” Costanza said in a recent interview with Business Insider. “But, hey, I got to spend a bunch of time learning about plumbing — and, as you’re just using your brain and thinking creatively and learning and trying to get a little bit smarter every day, over time that information accumulates and you become a more capable person for it.”
Costanza has a history of sussing out lessons from otherwise mundane manual labor. Growing up in the small town of College Hill, Penn., Costanza cut his teeth on gigs helping out on his parents’ large farmland.
“You learn a whole lot about how to work through a hard task, an important task, when you have to spend an entire day shoveling animal excrement out of the shed as a 7-year-old,” he said.
Now, his insights are in a very different field: data science. Costanza is Citi’s man when it comes to reading the tea leaves behind data, and finding ways to connect number-crunching and data science to the larger world of investment banking and dealmaking.
This month Costanza was part of a broader promotion of 153 people to managing director across the bank, which employs more than 200,000 people worldwide.
For Costanza, the data that he and his team utilizes come from a plethora of sources, some of which include well-known providers like Refinitiv and IHS. But the bank also taps more publicly-available sources, like regulatory filings. He and his team of roughly 20 people code and use complex algorithms to divine meaning in the numbers for Citi’s investment bankers.
This fall, Business Insider named Costanza to our annual list of Rising Stars of Wall Street.
And while Costanza’s responsibilities have shifted as he’s risen the ranks, he still finds time to code every day.
“For me to be an effective manager and to be able to really do the work that we do as a team, I need to understand the work that people do,” he said. “I need to understand what’s new and how different systems work.”
Costanza became a dad and a top Wall Street executive in the same week
For Costanza, learning he’d made the MD cut came during an emotional week, albeit for a reason unrelated to work.
Indeed, Costanza recently became a father of a newborn son, who was born some five weeks early. Just a few days later, he learned that he’d been named an MD, Citigroup’s most senior designation under the C-suite.
Alongside jubilation, “it’s been a lot of stress and juggling,” Costanza said of managing being a dad, working remotely, and stepping into this elevated role, even though many of his duties will remain the same.
“I think the most challenging part of it work-wise is simply just that, because he was born five weeks early, I hadn’t fully transitioned all my work away yet, and so I was on a bunch of live projects that I needed to quickly hand over to other people,” he said.
Costanza inadvertently learned the news about his promotion from an assistant to a Citigroup executive.
“I got a congratulations email from someone’s assistant about six hours before I got my formal call,” said Costanza, who declined to name the executive. “It was someone who I knew was involved in the deliberation process, and was therefore probably setting up all the calls. And I got an email from them saying, ‘Hey, congrats on making MD.'”
A few hours later, the news was made official when Costanza received it straight from Tyler Dickson and Manolo Falco, Citi’s co-heads of global banking, capital markets, and advisory.
Costanza is a farm-to-city transplant who represents Wall Street’s next generation of dealmakers
In many ways, Costanza defies the conventional Wall Street stereotype — he didn’t grow up among a pedigree of Wall Street elites, and in fact, didn’t even know a career in finance was in the cards for him until he fell into it by happenstance.
But, one could argue that he’s an image of Wall Street’s future. Despite a small-town past, he’s a farm-to-city transplant who now spends his days parsing the significance out of data and giving it meaning, which is top of mind for every firm on the Street.
His recent elevation comes as the financial community consolidates data providers through big-ticket deals.
Indeed, S&P Global announced its intention to acquire data provider IHS Markit for a $44 billion all-stock deal at the end of November. It’s the latest shakeup in an industry that includes big names like Bloomberg and Refinitiv. The latter is set to be scooped up for $27 billion by the London Stock Exchange in a deal signalling exchanges’ growing appetite for data.
Costanza first developed an interest in Wall Street while attending Williams College in Massachusetts, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and statistics in 2011.
At the time, he was helping a roommate prep for interview questions for finance jobs. Intrigued, he decided to dip his toe into the pool, landing an internship at Barclays. That ultimately paved the way for a career that’s taken him from the British bank to Goldman Sachs and then Citi.
At Goldman, Costanza reached the rank of vice president before departing for Citi in 2017. Earlier this year, his group was consolidated within Citi’s Strategic Advisory Solutions unit, a combination of its shareholder advisory, data science, and financial strategy groups.
When Costanza looked back on his first foray onto Wall Street, his parents weren’t thrilled with his decision to go into an industry that was haunted by the specter of the global financial crisis, he said.
“At the time, we were just coming out of the financial crisis and I think banks were not thought of as the most powerful force for social good at the time,” he said. But, since then, the industry has undergone a series of internal reforms that have changed its culture, he added.
“I think the industry has grown a lot since that time and really changed a lot of its business practices and really become much more proactive about trying to invest in communities and then growth.”
A decade on, having reached the zenith of his career, things are different now. When he learned he’d made MD, he called his parents, who are quarantining at home in Pennsylvania.
“I think they’re over the sticker shock at this point of their son working for corporate America,” Costanza said. “Now they’re just excited and happy to celebrate my success.”