Peter Rooks MBA ’93 credits Professor Al Bruno’s advice (along with a good idea, great employees, and strong family support) with helping the sucess of the business he founded in 2003, Phoenics Electronics. Bruno’s Small Business Entrepreneurship was one of the courses that made a big difference. “Professor Bruno said, ‘You will not be successful unless you focus.’ I think I got a C or a C-plus in that class, but I learned so much from it.”
Another highly influential class was Drew Starbird’s Operations course, which focused on business logistics, an area of critical importance in the company he would later found.
Phoenics maintains $18 million in inventory, enabling it to fill most orders the same day, employs extensive Vendor Managed Inventory programs, and has distribution centers in Hong Kong, Singapore, Mexico, Eastern Europe, and the US to serve its 1,200 customers worldwide. Phoenics currently has 23 employees, all highly knowledgeable and committed.
Looking back on the growth and success of the company, Rooks says there was a “tremendous benefit” to business school, and to Leavey in particular. “We learned about everything — operations, finance, accounting — and made excellent contacts,” he says. “Most of us were here for the education, and it was a good university for people who wanted to learn. It was clear the people at the business school knew what they were doing. A lot of the professors had solid business experience, real-life experience. They imparted a broad understanding of all aspects of business that enabled us to project confidence to our customers. All that has been critically important.”