In June, Ryan Righi ’21 will begin a graduate program at the University of Notre Dame.
Ryan Righi ’21, an economics major and entrepreneurial studies minor, has been accepted into the M.S. in management graduate business program at the University of Notre Dame.
While a little nervous about this next step, Righi says HWS prepared him well for graduate school. He says the HWS Summer Sandbox startup accelerator, which he attended in 2020, helped him develop a viable business model, conduct market research and pitch a business proposal to coaches and mock investors.
Run by Ed Bizari, HWS’ Entrepreneurial Fellow in the Centennial Center for Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Righi added, “Ed does a great job providing us with tons of information and real-world guidance as well as connecting us with successful entrepreneurs. Working alongside PJ Tziachris ’21 and Alicia Leavitt ’20, we created GradLoft, a platform that connects recent college graduates with affordable short-term housing,” he says. “We conducted over 120 remote customer interviews, met with former HWS Board Chair Thomas S. Bozzuto ’68, L.H.D. ’18, and worked closely with Ed and program coaches to refine our idea and pitch. This program gave me experience in the workplace that enhanced my communication skills as well as my time management.”
He says studying abroad under the guidance of Professor of Sociology Jack Harris was beneficial as well. “Studying in Ireland was one of the greatest experiences of my life; it gave me the opportunity to live and travel alone in unfamiliar places,” he says.
Of the four classes he took in Galway, Harris’ “Community Development” class examined Galway in a sociological and economic way. “Specifically, I conducted research on the issue of homelessness in Galway. This allowed me to conduct in-person interviews with members of the Galway City Council, Galway Travelers, COPE Galway, Galway Simon Community and the local churches. By doing so, we followed the process of conducting market research, which was a great experience,” he says.
“I cannot thank HWS enough for preparing me to lead a life of consequence, as every program, class and professor has contributed to this opportunity. Eventually, I would like to own my own business. I would love the opportunity to be able to provide a service or product for the betterment of society,” he says.
Righi is also grateful for the direction he has received from his advisors, Associate Professor of Economics H. Evren Damar and Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies Craig Talmage.
On campus, Righi participated in the HWS Leads program and served as the treasurer of the Kappa Alpha Fraternity and the Hobart club baseball team. Additionally, he was a member of the Hobart club hockey and the HWS alpine ski teams.
Righi says following his master’s, he intends to enroll in Notre Dame’s MBA program after gaining work experience in the financial realm for a few years.