Meet Angelo Pitassi ’03 MBA, Business Development Specialist, at the JWU College of Online Education. Angelo works with companies to develop corporate education partnerships. For students who work for a company that partners with JWU, that can mean access to career-focused online degree programs through a generous scholarship, making earning a degree more convenient and affordable.
We caught up with Angelo, who has been with COE for about a year, to learn how he works day in and day out to build bridges from organizations to JWU’s exceptional education.
What is your background, and what led you to JWU?
I earned my MBA at JWU, and I credit the university with giving me the desire to chase some of my own entrepreneurial opportunities. I started two businesses and learned the value of building relationships with companies such as CVS, Verizon, and Sprint to foster success. As an alumnus I stayed connected to JWU, adjuncting in Providence and the College of Online Education, serving on the Wildcat Venture Fund committee, mentoring at the e-center, and judging three Sharkfest competitions. I was attracted to working full-time at the College of Online Education due to its entrepreneurial spirit, and I thought my past relationship-building experience could add value to the position of Business Development Specialist.
As Business Development Specialist, what have you been working on so far?
We basically had to create the Corporate Educational Partnership program from scratch. In one year, we’ve been able to formalize agreements—and have more in the works—that allow companies to enhance their education benefits to their employees. Those employees, in turn, have a more affordable way to pursue an exceptional education at Johnson & Wales. It’s a win-win!
It sounds like one of your main focuses at JWU Online is to create opportunities that make it easier for busy professionals to pursue their academic goals, right?
Absolutely. I look at examples of students who have taken advantage of corporate partnerships and online learning at JWU. In some cases, these were division or senior vice presidents of worldwide corporations. The flexibility of online learning allowed even them to fit in coursework into their nonstop schedules—the sky’s the limit for what students can do when they dedicate themselves to their learning.
You also bring your entrepreneurship background to the online classroom as a professor—what have you learned makes a successful online student?
It’s all about time management. As part of one of the courses I teach, the intro post asks, “How do you plan on managing your time and studies?” It’s important to set that tone from day one. The beauty of online learning for students who also work full-time is that they can log in at 2 pm or 2 am—whatever works and gets the work done.
In addition, communication is key. In my class, I open all of the 11 weeks at once so students can have a full understanding of the coursework. Our professors understand that online students are often working adults. Life happens. As long as we’re on the same page, we can work it out.
What’s one fact someone would be surprised to learn about you?
That I was the “on-air” guest on QVC representing my last company’s products.