College of Business Alum is Passionate About Business for Good

Nicole Staudinger, president of First Bank's Northern Colorado market

Nicole Staudinger, a FirstBank Market President, Makes an Impact on Her Northern Colorado Community

When Nicole Staudinger applied to work at FirstBank as a senior at the College of Business, she didn’t think she would get the job — let alone stay for more than two decades. 

“I used the career resource center to help prepare me for interviewing and decided to take an interview with FirstBank to get interview experience,” said Staudinger, a market president at FirstBank, one of the largest privately held banks in the nation. “I never really planned on getting the job.”

A Lasting Commitment to the College of Business 

Staudinger, a third-generation CSU Ram, grew up on a cattle ranch in Sedgwick County, a sparsely populated area in the far northeast corner of Colorado. 

“My high school graduating class had 14 students in it, so coming to CSU was a big shock to me in regard to the size, but I quickly found resources and professors and learned how to find my way in a larger university,” she said. 

While at the College of Business, she majored in management with a human resources emphasis. She was grateful for “the real-world applications” that her degree provided.  

“Professors just did a good job of bringing speakers in, bringing common application into the classroom that I think prepared me for a career,” she said. 

Since Staudinger graduated in 1999, she has remained invested in the College, serving as chairperson for the College’s Global Leadership Council and on the board of the Everitt Real Estate Center, as well as participating in the College’s mentorship program. She received a distinguished alumni award at this year’s Homecoming and was named the Everitt Real Estate Center’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2020. She also was recognized as the College of Business Mentor of the Year in 2022. 

“I think about all the things that the College of Business did to make sure that I was successful, and it is my honor to be back in the classroom and to engage,” she said. “And I just personally find it a lot of fun.” 

Building a Culture of ‘Banking for Good’

Staudinger has stayed at FirstBank for more than two decades primarily because of its culture and values, which are reflected in the company’s “Banking for Good” tagline. 

The Colorado-based bank adopted the tagline in 2017, and Staudinger said that it’s more than just a mantra — it’s a framework for everything they do. In the years since, employees have begun asking themselves what steps they can take to ensure that “Banking for Good” is an ethos that permeates the organization, she said. 

“It’s taking it to the next level,” she said. “We want our customers to not just see it on our advertising, but actually say, ‘Wow, that’s an example of how I experienced banking for good.’” 

Advice for Business Students

Staudinger worked in lending before being promoted into her current role. As president of the Northern Colorado market, she oversees seven FirstBank locations. Her career path at FirstBank is a testament to its culture, she said. 

“I love the ethos of this company, where we invest first in each other,” she said. “If you go back to that ‘promote from within’ culture, it is a company that is built on sharing experiences, sharing wisdom and growing up and growing together. I think that that is hard to find.” 

When she talks to students and recent grads, she tries to challenge the idea that job-hopping needs to be the norm. 

“If possible, find that company that has the culture and the values that you’re looking for and that also has opportunities for advancement,” she said.  

“So, even though I’ve been with one company this whole time, I have had multiple mini-careers within this organization. Here at FirstBank, there was an opportunity for advancement if I was to work hard and be open to change and feedback and continued growth.” 

Staudinger also strongly believes in the College of Business’ mission of building business for a better world. 

“I believe there’s this symbiotic relationship in communities, the state, the nation or the world where business is a part of having a healthy environment. For-profit companies that have ideas and employ people give to their communities and are an integral piece of having a healthy environment,” she said. 

Although “sometimes people think ‘profit’ is a dirty word, or that corporations are bad,” Staudinger said that business is extremely compatible with making the world a better place. 

“As students are coming up, I really hear them say that they want to make a difference in the world that they’re a part of,” she said. “I love that this focus that the College of Business has on how you bridge business with making a difference in the world — and that those things can go hand in hand.” 

About CSU’s College of Business

The College of Business at Colorado State University is focused on using business to create a better world.

As an AACSB-accredited business school, the College is among the top five percent of business colleges worldwide, providing programs and career support services to more than 2,500 undergraduate and 1,300 graduate students. Faculty help students across our top-ranked on-campus and online programs develop the knowledge, skills and values to navigate a rapidly evolving business world and address global challenges with sustainable business solutions. Our students are known for their creativity, work ethic and resilience—resulting in an undergraduate job offer and placement rate of over 90% within 90 days of graduation.

The College’s highly ranked programs include its Online MBA, which has been ranked the No. 1 program in Colorado by U.S. News and World Report for five years running and achieved No. 16 for employability worldwide from QS Quacquarelli Symonds. The College’s Impact MBA is also ranked by Corporate Knights as a Top 20 “Better World MBA” worldwide.