‘I like seeing the big picture’
As the founding and managing partner of a small downtown strategy consulting firm, Nasos Makriyiannis (MBA 06) works long hours. Even so, he makes time each term to teach classes part-time at Concordia’s John Molson School of Business.
Eight years into his business venture, he’s still committed. So why sacrifice precious free time for a second job at Concordia? Mainly, he says, because he enjoys it. “There’s a teaching element to consulting, and I’ve always loved that part of it.”
But Makriyiannis also teaches because his two jobs complement each other.
In the classroom, he is able to draw on his experiences with real clients. “One of the large aerospace companies is one of our clients. We provided strategic planning support for this company with thousands of employees, which is essentially the type of cases you study in the strategy course I teach. When I draw examples from our own cases, that I have a lot more information about, it really adds value beyond the textbook.”
It also helps that Makriyiannis can draw on his extensive professional network when he wants to invite guest speakers for his entrepreneurship course. “Most people are happy to do it,” he says. “I've had business owners who have sold their companies for tens of millions and they're more than happy to come in to speak about their experiences.”
Meanwhile, being affiliated with the university also helps Makriyiannis’ management consulting business. For one thing, he can hire students right out of his classes. And when Makriyiannis is undertaking a new project for a client, he can draw on applicable research at JMSB.
“We let our clients know that being connected to a university means we’re up to date with the latest types of management frameworks that we can apply to their challenges,” he says.
Before coming to Montreal to pursue his MBA at Concordia, Makriyiannis worked as a bio-medical engineering consultant in and around Boston. He also spent a year in Detroit working for clients in the automotive industry.
While he enjoyed the technical, engineering side of his previous work, Makriyiannis soon realized he preferred making management-type decisions. “I liked seeing the big picture, the long-term goal. I always cared more about what kind of cars we were going to sell in the future, or who we were going to sell them to. I liked those types of questions more.”
Makriyiannis decided to come to Montreal to pursue his MBA. Among the many clubs and activities he got involved in at JMSB was the Concordia Small Business Consulting Bureau. He credits that experience with being the catalyst for KOMAND Consulting, which he started right after graduation.
“The encouragement and the ability to initiate things on your own and have some support from the school is what stood out for me about Concordia,” Makriyiannis says, adding that when the opportunity presented itself, he was happy to return and serve as a mentor for the next generation of entrepreneurs and strategists.
“My favourite part is actually bumping into my former students and seeing how they’ve progressed in their careers. I find that very fulfilling. I hope I made some contribution.”