What is your current job title? Can you describe some of your job responsibilities?
I am currently the CEO of TruTriage, which I co-founded with my roommate from undergrad at Penn State, Brad Lieberman.
My job responsibilities right now are managing finances, raising capital, creating strategic relationships and partnerships, managing sales and marketing operations, and helping with product development.
With so many MBA programs, why did you choose AU?
I had some friends that were alumni, and I knew the quality of school that AU was. I plan on staying in the region, and I know they have many connections in the area. I was also traveling heavily for work at the time and didn’t have a schedule that would lend to a traditional brick-and-mortar program. I liked the flexibility of the online classes, and being from Baltimore, if I did need to go to campus occasionally, it was not a far travel.
How did this degree fit into your career plan?
I wasn’t really sure of the direction that I wanted to go, but I knew an MBA would help me progress through my career. I did want to shift out of sales. I liked it, I just did not want to be a road warrior for the rest of my career. I also knew that an MBA could help me make that transition. As I progressed through the program and realized that I wanted to create my own company, the program made that extremely easy and has been a great aid to my venture. It prepared me for a lot of what I am doing now.
Tell us a bit about your experience with the Entrepreneurship Incubator and your winning project.
The incubator has been a great experience and has greatly surpassed my expectations heading in. Many incubators and accelerators take equity or are pay-to-play and try to sell you on services you do not really need. Through the incubator, we have gained experience on navigating an early stage venture, and on how to really present to and attract investors. We’ve made some great connections that have helped us along the way and gotten some great advice from Bill Bellows and Tommy White. The incubator really helped us to focus on our core idea and take it further.
What experience/insight did you gain from the program that transferred directly to the real world?
I had a lot of business experience beforehand, but this really helped fill in the gaps of understanding how a company was run, especially on the finance side, as my undergraduate degree was science based. In my sales roles, I worked closely with legal, but this program also helped me understand the angles they as well as other departments were coming from when I had to complete projects from perspectives outside my normal roles.
How has the MBA program helped you as an entrepreneur and founder of a company?
It has really given me a crash course on how to run a business in all aspects, and more importantly the resources to fall back on when I had questions. Everyone that starts a company for the first time goes through a learning process, but the knowledge and resources [from this program] have sped that up for me and helped me avoid some costly mistakes.
What connections have you made during your time in the program, and how have they helped you succeed in your education or advance your career?
Not only have I made some great peer connections that will help me in the future and some of their services that I have used for my own company, but I have gained some excellent mentors that I can turn to whenever I need. I have also met some great alumni in the same industry (health care) that have helped my entrepreneurial journey.
What new goals were you able to set or achieve after obtaining your degree?
I think gaining my degree really allowed me to start and pursue my business venture. It positively impacted my career trajectory.