2018 Best EMBAs: Kosta Ligris, MIT (Sloan)

Kosta Ligris

MIT, Sloan School of Management

“I am first generation son of Greek immigrants that defines leadership as empowerment through example and education.”

Age: 41

Hometown: Boston, MA

Family Members: I have my mother, brother and I am an uncle to two nephews.

Fun fact about yourself: I can speak four languages.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Boston University Sargent College of Health Sciences, B.S. Human Physiology; Suffolk University Law School, J.D. cum laude

Where are you currently working? CEO & Founder of Ligris. (formerly Ligris & Associates P.C.)

CEO of ACES Title Agency and Co-Founder of Escrow Mint.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: Avid Golfer and Traveler. Amateur photographer.

For the past decade, I have served on the Benefactor Committee for the annual TomorrowNite Gala, benefiting the children of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Co-Chair’s the Greater Boston St. Jude Children’s Hospital Walk Run Event (the second largest in the nation). I serve on the Board of Overseers, Overseers Executive Council, Campaign Committee, and the Neuroscience Advisory Committee at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital and the official hospital for my beloved Boston Red Sox. I also serve on the Dean’s Cabinet at my alma mater, Suffolk University Law School, which advises the Dean of the Law School. I also serve as an alumni mentor at Suffolk University and a Peer Mentor at MIT Sloan’s Leadership Center.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? My O-lab (Organizations Lab) project was focused on examining and improving the undergraduate-alumni mentorship program at Suffolk University. During the course of my semester-long project, I was able to create meaningful engagement between the various stakeholders. As a strong supporter of education, I was proud to help the program significantly increase enrollment and active engagement. Because Suffolk provides an education and opportunity to so many underserved students, I am proud to have used my skills to contribute to engaging alumni that can serve as mentors for these students.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud of the education and internal promotion of numerous colleagues at my organizations. I believe I have influenced and assisted 7-8 people go back to graduate school part-time, while continuing their careers at my organization. Education creates opportunities and opportunities that are infectious. Investing in people is the single greatest responsibility that leaders have. Our future generations depend on the ripple effect that today’s leaders create.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Georgia Perakis. Her dedication to quality education and her passion and empathy for her students is remarkable.

What was your favorite MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? Organizational Process. As long as organizations have people, they will need to manage those people, their culture, and their relationships. OP provided the tools to analyze and manage people and define your firm’s culture.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? MIT Sloan has a stellar reputation and is situated in the world-class Kendall Square Innovation Ecosystem. Coming from a rigorous scientific background, I wanted to be at an institution with a strong quantitative and structured program. Finally, I have always been impressed with the humbleness that MIT exudes.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? The people. Both faculty and classmates have provided lifetime experiences, insights, and relationships that I know will prove to be valuable for years to come. I feel like my family has expanded by over 140-150 new meaningful and genuine members.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? Taking a very calculated, scientific and disciplined approach to solving problems. I have found myself taking much more time to process and digest situations and lead and manage in a more disciplined and less impulsive method.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? During the holiday season of 2017, work, family and school collided to create the perfect storm of stress. My attention and resources had to be spread between business partners dealing with serious illnesses in their families, finals at school, and the requisite holiday events and family gatherings. Although a stressful period, it was a period of great reflection for me professionally and personally.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? Be prepared for a major transformation. It will challenge you intellectually, emotionally, and physically. It will make you think differently, there will be times you will question why you put yourself through this. In the end, it will all be worth it.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? The biggest myth is that it’s hard to get back into an academic routine. The myth holds some validity, but within short order, I believe it’s like a riding a bike. However, the transformation of education with the proliferation of technology has changed the game.

What was your biggest regret in business school? Not taking more electives in the other MIT schools through open/cross-registration.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? This is the hardest question to answer. Our cohort is composed of some remarkable people who have overcome some serious obstacles and challenges in their lives. Despite that, they have persevered and left a positive and meaningful impact on the lives of their peers and the world around them.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I realized the vast amount of opportunities to revolutionize the real estate industry.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…researching, reading, engaging and partnering with others on how technology can change my industry.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? To live up to Sloan’s mission in changing the world and to achieve this through the creation of products and platforms that truly change the way real estate services are delivered. But most importantly, along this journey, creating a legacy built on mentoring and developing tomorrow’s leaders in my industry.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? A reliable, loyal professional and friend with an open door policy determined to leave a legacy of creating opportunity for others.

Favorite book: When Breath Becomes Air by Dr. Paul Kalanithi

Favorite movie or television show: A Bronx Tale

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  1. To fly a plane
  2. Become proficient in all 5 of the widely recognized romance languages.

What made Kosta such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?

“Kosta has impressed us with his ability to inspire those around him with his strong work ethic and his passion for the advancement of others. In founding his own law firm, Kosta has fostered an office culture focused on staff developmental opportunities. Kosta believes in the transformative power of education and one of his goals is to encourage others through learning and helping to develop the leaders of tomorrow. Kosta fully embraces the MIT motto of mens et manus (mind and hand) by taking everything he has learned in the classroom to work on a new technology that will modernize the outdated paper system in real estate law.

Kosta is a very active member of the EMBA 2018 class and is consistently volunteering his time to take part in student panels for information sessions, in addition to meeting with potential candidates in his industry to talk about the impact the EMBA has had on him. Kosta has also started writing for the MIT EMBA Executive Insights blog and will soon be published. Most recently, he served as a mentor to the EMBA 2019 class during their Innovation Driven Entrepreneurial Advantage (IDEA) Week module, where he guided teams on creating their own startups. Kosta not only volunteers his time to MIT, but is also part of the Overseers Executive Council, Campaign Committee, and the Neuroscience Advisory Committee at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital and the official hospital for his beloved Boston Red Sox. Kosta also serves as an alumni mentor at Suffolk University and as a peer mentor for MIT Sloan’s Leadership Center. Kosta inspires current and future students to be principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and he more than encompasses everything we hope for in our students.”

Johanna Hising DiFabio
MIT Executive MBA Program Director
Georgia Perakis
MIT Executive MBA Faculty Director and Faculty

DON’T MISS: THE ENTIRE LIST OF 100 BEST & BRIGHTEST EXECUTIVE MBA GRADS OF 2018