Colin Powell School
Set Goals, Find Mentorship, and Work Hard: How Xhulio Myftari Became a Volleyball Star and Parlayed His Internship into a Job
Many in the CCNY community have heard of Xhulio Myftari, the volleyball star who led our team to its highest ranking in years. Few know that with the help of the Colin Powell School’s mentorship and internship programs, Myftari also succeeded in completing an internship at a leading global financial services firm and landing a full-time job offer upon graduation. Originally from Albania, Myftari will graduate this June with a degree in civil engineering and a minor in economics, a path he chose in part due to his concern with the underdeveloped infrastructure and lack of services in Albania and other Global South countries. In this interview, Myftari describes his successful strategy: identify clear goals, take advantage of the opportunities available to you, and “then study and work harder than anybody else.”
Tell us a little about your background.
I am originally from Albania and moved here right after I finished high school. Back home I was attending high school and at the same time I was playing volleyball. I had represented my city team and the national team of Albania in many different tournaments nationally, internationally, and globally, including the World Cup qualifications. Volleyball was my priority, but once we moved to the United States, I realized I could not do much with volleyball. Therefore, I thought about what is the next best thing for me, and I decided to focus more on my studies.
What brought you to City College?
After deciding to pursue a college degree, I started by learning English, then I finished my Associate of Science in Civil Engineering at LaGuardia Community College. I wanted to continue to earn a bachelor’s degree, and I had heard that City College has one of the best programs when it comes to civil engineering. To me it was a no brainer to continue with my studies at City College which was very close to my family, affordable, and a great education. Now I am about to finish my studies at CCNY with my Bachelor of Engineering degree, with a minor in economics at the Colin Powell School.
What led you to choose to study civil engineering and economics?
I always wanted to help people in need. Often, people born and raised in the US are not aware of all the advantages and benefits that they have. I come from Albania, and although it is a country located in Europe, it is considered a third world country. I have seen people that do not have access to the basic needs of a human being. I have seen people and villages that do not have clean water, electricity or even internet, and I always wanted to create projects for them so they have easier access to those things in the most cost-effective way. That is one of the reasons I always wanted to be a civil engineer to create a product or a system for those people in need.
Tell us about your career path. How has CCNY helped you along the way?
I have had a very interesting journey at City College so far. At the Grove School of Engineering, I learned some lifelong skills that I will use in my professional career, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, personal discipline, and attention to detail. Through the Colin Powell School I was able to get a great internship with Santander Bank in Corporate and Investment Banking. I was able to intern with one of the best teams in the U.S when it comes to renewable energy. Also through the Colin Powell School, I was part of the JP Morgan Mentorship program. I was assigned a mentor and we met weekly and talked about life, school, career goals, and the industry that I was getting myself into. He answered my questions, addressed my concerns, and made me feel more confident about myself.
With the skills I’ve gotten from the Grove School of Engineering, combined with the mentorship and opportunities provided by the Colin Powell School, I was able to convert the internship into a full-time job offer at Santander Bank starting in August. I am very happy and proud that I went through City College, and I appreciate the opportunities that I was able to take advantage of. I could not think of a better way to start my career.
What is your most significant accomplishment at City College?
Playing for the CCNY Volleyball team was one of the best experiences that has happened to me. I lead the whole NCAA Division III in kills per set, points per set and aces per set, while leading the Beavers to the No. 2 seed in the CUNYAC Championship which was the highest position in the postseason tournament since 2002. Also, I was able to be the first CCNY player to earn the Player of the Year honor in 16 years. I cannot wait for the 2022 season to start.
Do you have any advice for current or future students?
Take advantage of the opportunities that the school offers, as I was able to get the internship with Santander and then convert that experience to a full-time job offer. If I did it, anyone can do it.
Set a schedule and a goal. This will help you to have a clearer focus in your journey. You will be more efficient and motivated. Then study and work harder than anybody else.