You are here: Home / News Release Archives / 2013 / August / Smeal Alumni in Profile: Alumnus Credits EMBA Program, Alumni Network for Business Launch Success

Smeal Alumni in Profile: Alumnus Credits EMBA Program, Alumni Network for Business Launch Success

Alumnus Stephen Rigo ’07 tailored his Penn State Smeal College of Business Executive MBA Program experience to help him build the business he’d been dreaming of for years.
August 27, 2013

Alumnus Stephen Rigo ’07 tailored his Penn State Smeal College of Business Executive MBA Program experience to help him build the business he’d been dreaming of for years.

Rigo graduated in 1992 from Penn State’s Health Policy Administration program and began working as a consultant in health care administration, helping health care providers run more efficiently and increase revenue. After more than 15 years, he wanted to see if he could make his business idea a reality.

“When I went in for a site visit, it blew my mind. There was a lot going on in the classroom, and the students were all accomplished businesspeople. To top it off, they weren’t just listening and taking notes—they were engaged and participating.”

“I always wanted to start a business, but I’m very cautious,” said Rigo. “I wanted to make sure I had the right skill sets going in. So I started talking to Dennis Sheehan [the Virginia and Louis Benzak Professor of Finance and then-faculty director of the EMBA Program] about how the EMBA Program could help me build my strengths in finance and marketing.”

After a class visit, Rigo was sure that the Smeal EMBA Program was the place for him to grow the skills he needed to get his business off the ground.

“When I went in for a site visit, it blew my mind,” he said. “There was a lot going on in the classroom, and the students were all accomplished businesspeople. To top it off, they weren’t just listening and taking notes—they were engaged and participating.”

Throughout the EMBA process, Rigo was able to tweak certain assignments to help him develop his business plan, which also allowed for feedback from not only the faculty but the other students in his cohort.

“I was able to take everything I learned and build the business,” said Rigo. “I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the professors and the Penn State alumni network.”

“I have a continuing relationship with many of the professors as well as the students in my class. You can’t put a price on the value of that continuing, close-knit network; it’s a huge advantage.”

Rigo launched his business, Augusta Healthcare, Inc., in 2011. The company aims to work with hospitals to give them a better perspective of their costs and help them make better decisions regarding patient charge practices. Though the company currently offers only a service, the next step for Rigo is to develop a cloud-based software product for health care providers to use.

“I have a continuing relationship with many of the professors as well as the students in my class,” he said. “I’m still using the network for connections in my business. You can’t put a price on the value of that continuing, close-knit network; it’s a huge advantage.”

About the Penn State Executive MBA Program
Launched in 2001, the Penn State Smeal Executive MBA Program is a 21-month program designed for working professionals with classes held on alternating weekends at the ACE Conference Center in suburban Philadelphia. The program features personalized executive coaching, intensive communication training, a weeklong international residency experience, and coursework focused on the unique challenges of the students’ firms. Learn more at www.smeal.psu.edu/execmba.

Recent News
Price-Fixing Whistleblower and FBI Informant To Deliver Shoemaker Lecture at Penn State 15 Oct

Mark Whitacre, the corporate whistleblower who revealed price fixing at Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and spent more than eight years in federal prison for tax evasion and fraud, will deliver a lecture entitled “When Good Leaders Lose Their Way” from 6 to 7:15 p.m. on Nov. 6 in 100 Thomas Building on the Penn State University Park campus.

Penn State Executive Programs Receives Gold Award for Junior Achievement Partnership 14 Oct

For its work with Junior Achievement USA, Penn State Executive Programs has won Chief Learning Officer magazine's highest executive education partnership award. The 2014 Gold award for Excellence in Academic Partnerships recognizes academic institutions that have partnered in the past year with an organization to teach its employees about a key business issue.

Urban Outfitters, Inc. Chief Development Officer Discusses Leadership and Challenges, Opportunities in the Fashion Retail Industry 10 Oct

David Ziel, chief development officer of Urban Outfitters, Inc., spoke to a full audience in the Struthers Auditorium of the Business Building today, as part of the college’s Executive Insights series.

Urban Outfitters, Inc. Chief Development Officer David Ziel to Speak at Smeal Leadership Lecture Series 01 Oct

David Ziel, chief development officer of Urban Outfitters, Inc. will share his perspectives on business and leadership with the Penn State Smeal College of Business on Friday, October 10. His visit is part of the college’s Executive Insights series and the Melvin Jacobs Retail Leadership Lecture Series.

Penn State Smeal MBA Students Use Improv Comedy to Enhance Communication Skills 30 Sep

During their two-week orientation to the program, members of the Penn State Smeal MBA Class of 2016 called upon improvisation comedy techniques to improve their communication and networking skills in a session with CSz Business. A new initiative this year, the MBA Improv Communications session offers a number of exercises aimed at improving listening skills, brainstorming techniques, and teamwork.

More Recent News... More Recent News...