The Columns

Alumni at Work: Christine Balistreri ’11 Alumni at Work, Business Integrity Analyst, Facebook

— by on September 5th, 2016

Christine Balistreri '11

“I’m solving problems that no one has solved ever before. It’s an incredible position to be placed in, and you have to be ready to constantly think on your feet.”

Christine Balistreri ’11 would not say she took the conventional route of a Washington and Lee student into the professional world.

However, Balistreri says her longer route paid off with a job as a business integrity analyst for Facebook almost two and a half years after graduation.

Balistreri stayed in Lexington for her first post-grad job. She worked for W&L as an admissions officer.

“I learned so many marketable skill sets,” Balistreri said about the position. “I can speak for an hour in front of a hundred-person audience without notes. I know how to stand out in an interview after conducting hundreds of them.”

After a year in admissions, Balistreri moved to Washington, D.C., without a job but confident she could find a position that aligned with her studies in international development.

Eventually, that leap of faith led her to Austin, Texas, where she now works for Facebook.

Balistreri’s day-to-day work can vary. Some days she is putting out fires when Facebook is under a financial fraud attack, and other times she is integrating emerging products to be ready for launch.

“I’m solving problems that no one has solved ever before. It’s an incredible position to be placed in, and you have to be ready to constantly think on your feet.”

Much of her role at Facebook is pattern analysis, which involves research to come up with broad solutions to general problems.

“Can I personally review every transaction each day? No way. But I can look at the data sets to see where the losses come from and implement systematic solutions to block payments that fit particular criteria.”

After two years as a risk analyst, Balistreri recently transitioned to a new role as a business integrity analyst.

“Facebook really values the depth of skills you have to offer, and values your ability to apply them regardless of your depth of knowledge in the specific content area.”

She recently returned from two weeks in India, where she went to understand a new workflow and devise a transition plan to bring it onto her team.

While at W&L, Balistreri majored in economics and environmental studies with a minor in Latin American and Caribbean studies.

“W&L welcomed making you a whole person, and that’s what attracted me to the school.”

Balistreri ran cross-country and track her first two years at W&L. She was a member of the Outing Club and an Appalachian Adventure trip leader.

One thing that stands out to Balistreri about W&L was the opportunity for students to go abroad. She participated in two spring term abroad courses, studying development and democracy in Ghana and literature in Ireland. She also had the opportunity to work in a medical clinic in Peru through a summer Johnson Opportunity Grant.

Balistreri offered advice for current W&L students: “Don’t limit yourself or be afraid to not follow the traditional route. Be open to roles that come up unexpectedly, and think thoughtfully about how each position builds upon your upon story. Most careers are not linear, and being a dynamic candidate opens up more opportunities.”

She also said that students should take advantage of the perks in attending a small school, especially befriending the professors. She formed several close bonds while at W&L that she continues to stay close in contact with, and says she wouldn’t be where she is today without them.

Balistreri is proud to have two sisters currently attending W&L.

“I haven’t formally left Lexington because I still get to have the local experiences when I visit them.”

Balistreri has no plans to leave the world of Facebook anytime soon. She also encourages more W&L students to consider a career in tech since she was unaware of it while a student, and she hopes to see more W&L students join her at Facebook.

by Cecelia Smith-Schoenwalder ’16