Campus Profile: Elio Rutigliano

What is balance? Elio Rutigliano is a distinguished illustration of how you can do it all. With the ability to self reflect and incorporate his inner strengths and motivations, Rutigliano gives the best advice for undergraduates. The next step can be intimidating, but with wise words from a successful individual who has been in the same position, transitioned and is still thriving, we can all take some notes.

Name: Elio Rutigliano

Major: Masters of Business Administration (MBA)

What do you do?

Technical Project Manager at American Express. Outside of class, classwork, and work, I also am an AirBnB Superhost having hosted over 55 sets of guests in the past year. I spend the precious remaining free time with my wife and 2 daughters as well as gardening.


Where are you from?

I was born in New Jersey and spent 9 years in San Francisco after my undergraduate studies before moving to Phoenix.

What are your future goals?

As it stands, completing my MBA, continuing with my career at American Express, and building a rental property side business are the immediate short term goals. Life is too surprising to be able to plan beyond the immediate short term. Just work as hard as you can and be prepared to meet any potential opportunities.

Can you tell me a little about yourself?

Earlier in life, I earned a BA double major in Economics & Computer Science from Boston College and a Masters in Entertainment Technology from Carnegie Mellon University. After graduating from CMU, I moved to San Francisco to be a video game producer for about 8 years, having worked on a few Tomb Raider titles, Dance Central 3, and many other lesser known titles. We changed careers and moved out to Arizona to be able to have a more sustainable lifestyle.

What motivates you?

Passion for a job well done. Pride in my work. A need to learn as much as I can. The ability to provide for my family. Financial security.

What are some professional strengths that you would recommend college undergraduates to work on?

Truly understand how best you learn and then change your habits to optimize towards that. For myself, if I'm not physically writing something down, I don't remember it so note-taking is a must. Value your own work highly and make sure it shows to others; don't half-ass your work product as it's the vehicle for how the professional world sees you. Take an improvisational acting course and learn to work with others, especially if you're introverted. Most work environments are team affairs and being able to contribute collaboratively is highly prized. Stop procrastinating and start hustling, now. Professional success is a function of your intelligence, your relationships and your hard work.

Would you recommend the program you are studying at ASU?

Certainly. The evening MBA program has been an absolute blast. Each class has legitimately altered the way I view the world. In addition, I've met a great suite of fellow students who are talented, hard-working, and fun. I have no regrets. 

How do you balance your family, work, personal, and school life? 

What's balance? In the evening MBA case, there really is no such thing as balance. There is a set amount of time during the week and the set amount of things that must be done. It's really a scheduling problem. I have a job that understands the MBA program and is willing to let me pursue it and help me pay for it. I have an exceptionally accommodating family that also sees the future value of what I'm doing so that cuts me tons of slack and supports me greatly. Importantly, I've realized that in order to tread water and potentially succeed in family, work and school, I must specialize my time so that I'm not trying to serve more than one function at a time. In other words, I only do one thing at a time and I devote myself fully to it. Earlier on, I would try and study around my family and it just resulted in me being a poor student and a poor father. You may have noticed that I dropped "personal life" from your question. That's because that's what evaporates. There just isn't enough time in the day for free time and merriment. Instead I take joy in my family, my studies and my work. Merriment can wait until after the MBA.

Do you think the program opened up more career paths for you, why/why not? 

Definitely. I was unfortunately laid off from an educational start-up just as I was starting the MBA program. I worked with the Graduate Career Center to completely re-do my resume, develop some networking connections, and help me get back on my feet. Having the future MBA on my resume was a big selling point during my application process and I'm certain it helped me get a job.

Thinking back what would you tell your undergraduate self now? 

Recommended reading is required reading. Don't seek the minimum viable product for a good grade. Instead, really take advantage of the opportunity to learn and try to absorb it all, fully. Make networking connections and hold on to them after graduation. Get an MBA earlier in life than your mid-30s. Surround yourself by well-rounded hard workers instead of the party crew.