Employing Top Talent

Oniel Cross

Oniel Cross came to the United States from Jamaica when he was 19 to go to college and launch his professional career. With plans to study computers and the goal of working in cybersecurity, Cross looked at several schools before selecting Farmingdale. Among his criteria: a school where he could work full time, finish his courses quickly, and study with top-notch professors. FSC fit the bill perfectly, and he enrolled in 2000.

In 2004, Cross graduated with a BS in Computer Security, a member of one of the first graduating classes to complete the program. He especially credits the foresight and vision of Professor John Kostanoski at the Center for Criminal Justice Studies, who Cross notes “was way ahead of his time in his thinking about cybersecurity.”

After FSC, Cross spent time in Afghanistan and Iraq, working in computer networks and IT Infrastructure capacity development for the government during the conflicts in the Middle East, then relocated to Washington, DC. While working in the Beltway, he earned a reputation as someone who was results-driven, and after some time supporting the Business Technology Agency, he landed an opportunity with Deloitte in 2010. Deloitte, one of the top four consulting firms, provides audit, consulting, tax, and advisory services to many of the world's largest brands.

Hired as a manager and having risen to the rank of principal, Cross now wants others from FSC to have the opportunity to follow in his footsteps.

What’s Your Source?
Oniel Cross learned a lot of lessons at Farmingdale State College, but one question stuck with him above all others: “What’s your source?”

“During my freshman year at FSC, I took a comparative history course with Professor Lovizio. One day, after I handed in my paper, he stopped me in my tracks and challenged me on how I drew my conclusions. It’s true, I hadn’t done much research—I think I only cited one New York Times article.

“Lovizio taught me to slow down, analyze the authors’ goals, and explore whether or not information could be manipulated.”

Today, Cross applies this inquiry about trusted sources every day in his work as a principal in Deloitte’s public sector technology practice.

“Now I channel Professor Lovizio when I ask my team, ‘Where did this data come from? Did you ask the right questions? Were they leading or open-ended?” In life, I tell them, we have to look at the angle from which information is coming and draw insights about its origin and purpose.”

FSC has the best students and professors of just
about any school, and its diversity is a major asset.

A New Source of Talent
Cross says it’s no secret that in the past, big firms like Deloitte traditionally mined talent from Ivy League universities. That’s changing, and Cross wants FSC to become a feeder school.

“I would argue to anyone that FSC has the best students and professors of just about any school, and its diversity is a major asset,” he says.

Based on Cross's suggestion, Deloitte has developed a new relationship with the College and has recently recruited several talented students for internships and full-time roles through the Nexus Center for Applied Learning and Career Development.

Deloitte is currently looking for students with cyber and IT skill sets, as well as those majoring in Environmental Science, Accounting, and Business. As one of the Big Four professional services organizations and the largest in the world by revenue and number of professionals, Deloitte receives over 150,000 job applications annually. Cross emphasizes that FSC alumni have, like him, demonstrated that they’re primed and ready to compete.

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