Alumni Spotlight: Lou Mavroudis ‘15

By Suzanne Lazar, student, SUNY Empire State College, editor, The Student Connection

May 20, 2016

Current 1 - LouSUNY Empire State College is filled with amazing students and alumni who have exciting stories to tell about their current student roles as well as “life after ESC.” I had the pleasure to speak with one of those people in a sit-down interview and hear about his experience at SUNY Empire, his journey down the career path and his most recent accomplishment. 

Lou Mavroudis graduated with his MBA in Management in 2015.  Prior to that, he received his bachelor’s degree in Communications and Arts from St. John’s University in New York, and with some prior experience in radio, TV and film, began a career in the operations field at Viacom/MTV. He often applied for new positions and promotions, but was told someone else had a more relevant skill set or, more typically, “we need you where you are now.” 

Feeling stuck, Mavroudis knew he wanted to advance his career options.  A friend recommended Empire State College for the online master’s degree and, upon researching the course options, he felt it was the best choice for him as a working adult with a full-time career and family. 

The online and residency program that Mavourdis enrolled in pushed him to pursue learning on his own, which he found he really enjoyed.  And, while he pursued his MBA, Mavroudis began to enjoy the online interaction with fellow students as well.  He said, “I learned a lot from their experiences and hope they learned from me.”

Mavroudis came from a creative undergraduate experience and business management was very new to him. His fellow students had more business background, but collaborating with them in the graduate courses enabled him to share his more creative perspective.  He said, “When it came time to delegate work in projects, we took advantage of each other’s strengths and helped each other improve on our weaknesses.”

Upon completing his MBA in Management, Mavroudis embarked on a new journey and new career path and shared some of those experiences. In his job search, Mavroudis hit roadblocks and heard a lot of “no’s,” because he didn’t have specific experience in the field he was exploring. So, he took a risk, applying for a management position at 1-800 Flowers. The interview was a success, he was offered a job and was excited to take on the new challenges. However, once there, Mavroudis faced the realization that the job was just not for him. He said, “I tried it and I learned a lot, including what not to do.”

Although his first management job didn’t work out, the experience from completing his MBA and transferring that knowledge along with his skills from his previous career, undergraduate and graduate studies, proved invaluable for where his path led him to next.

Mavroudis recently landed a position at NBC as a commercial operations coordinator. Although he’s in a less strictly creative role, he still uses his skills as an instructional designer for his new position. And, the barrier he faced when applying for new roles - not having the specific experienced needed -  was no longer an issue, as the job at NBC is providing that experience, and then some. He concluded, “Being laid off from 1-800 Flowers was a blessing.”

As adults, we will always face roadblocks with our personal, professional and educational goals.  Persevering as Mavroudis did, with strength, determination and as the fortunate recipient of a great deal of support put him on a path that had bumps, but resulted in something great that he had worked hard to achieve.

Mavroudis was candid about the student-mentor relationship, which was an important component in the multifaceted support system that helped him push through his graduate studies and earn his MBA. Of his former mentor, Kymn Rutigliano, Mavroudis said, “She had so many students who she worked with, but she always made you feel like you were the only one that mattered. There were times I didn’t feel I was cut out for the MBA program and she always made me feel like I could do it and would never give up.  She made me feel that my voice and opinion and ideas mattered. She is a great coach.”

As I neared the end of the interview, I asked Mavroudis if he had one piece of advice to give to students for achieving success with their personal, professional and educational goals. He said, “The one thing I learned in the past four years is that the individual is responsible for gauging the level of their success, meaning that nothing is ever given that isn’t worth earning.” 

The interesting part about my conversation with Mavroudis is that so much of what he shared about his experiences at SUNY Empire State College and with his different jobs resonate with me, as I have been in his shoes in many ways. He said being a SUNY Empire State College student solidified who he is as a person and as a contributing member of society. He felt the experience accentuated who he is and expressed how grateful he has been for the opportunity to apply his skills to achieve educational goals.

Mavroudis summed it up, “You’re not going to be good to anybody else, if you’re not good to yourself first.”    

Empire State College offers a path for anyone who chooses to take it. Whether you’re pursuing an undergraduate or advanced graduate certificate, or an associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree, success stories like Mavroudis’ are there to be told. 

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Flashback: On This Date March 2, 2011, By Mike I. Bailey, student, SUNY Empire State College, with excerpts from mainstream media

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