2018 Best EMBAs: Spiros Assimacopoulos, Michigan State (Broad)

Spiros Assimacopoulos    

Michigan State University, Broad Graduate School of Management

“I am enthusiastic, hardworking and ambitious person who doesn’t take himself too seriously.” 

Age: 44

Hometown: Brownstown, Michigan

Family Members: Wife, Michelle, Daughter Appolonia and Son Alexios

Fun fact about yourself: I can never make it on time for anything…just ask my classmates – they will vouch for me.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Eastern Michigan University, BS Public Relations and Marketing

Where are you currently working? Michiganbread.com, CEO/President. At Michiganbread.com we produce all-natural breads and rolls for the restaurant industry. Our process of slow fermentation is time-consuming and expensive, but results in products that not only look and taste great but are much healthier than industrially produced baked goods.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: I am an avid soccer player and am actively involved in Young President’s Organization.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? As my school and professional workload increased, I spent less-and-less quality time with my family. My wife and I decided that at whatever the cost or inconvenience, we would spend a family weekend together each month to recharge and reconnect. It was a great learning tool for my children on how to support one another and commit to the principle of balance especially when things get tough. Time is our most precious resource. With the support of my family, I was able to meet my commitments at home, school and work.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am proud to have created Michiganbread.com from nothing. It is a thrilling journey watch a simple organization grow and change over time. Almost as gratifying as being a parent!

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Morgeson had the dubious honor of instructing our last class. HR is not normally billed as highly entertaining. However, to our surprise his HR class was one of the most engaging and dynamic courses of the program-and he had great slides! We were all sad the course had to end.

What was your favorite MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? My favorite course was the study abroad program to South Africa. We spent weeks preparing and researching for the week-long journey. It was incredibly powerful to connect the dots between theory and an immersive real-life experience. The exposure we were afforded to small business, big business, government, and culture was a true gift. This experience created a new lens through which I view business as an effective and meaningful medium to affect positive change in the world. The food was great too.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? The culture at Michigan State University has always intrigued me. After my initial interview and tour, I was sold. The value of being a part the Spartan family cannot be quantified. This culture of solidarity and pride really is the secret sauce at MSU.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? Learning is a rush. Learning in a room with a bunch of smart successful people is an even bigger rush. Despite the challenging scheduling and obvious work/life/school balance issues, we were happy to see and learn from each other over the course of 32 weekends.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? Find a program that matches the learning culture you are most comfortable with. The EMBA program at Michigan State University is competitive, but that never got in the way of learning. The environment was very collaborative. There were several times I needed support and it was given without hesitation. That speaks volumes to character of the students and culture of this program.

What was your biggest regret in business school? In a perfect world, I could’ve focused more and devoted additional time to subjects that really fascinated me.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I was part of a special group of people. I admire each and every one of them and could fill pages describing each of their stories (some not suitable for print) and challenges and how each of them inspired me. 

“I knew I wanted to go to business school…the day I felt that I was out of ideas. It is a scary moment as leader when you cannot sense the path forward.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would still be searching for answers.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? My goal is to develop Michiganbread.com into a world class company. By “world class,” I envision an over the top relationship between the organization which each of its stakeholders. Employees, customers and vendors all working together for a common mission. It’s not just bread…its family.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I would like my peers to remember me as a catalyst for challenging debate, but also genuine and fun.

Favorite book: Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. I’m fascinated by success. I find it inspiring and therapeutic to learn how others have achieved success in all manners of life despite their respective challenges.

Favorite movie or television show: Unbreakable by M. Night Shyamalan. I love the idea of unnamed individuals working quietly in the background to make our world a better place.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? I want to witness and be a part of my children finding their passion in this world-as long as it is not professional gaming.

What made Spirossuch an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?

“Spiros was a natural leader in the class. He had such calming nature that when he spoke and contributed in class it was poignant, relevant and the class was better for it. He didn’t flaunt the fact that he was a CEO and knew everything about everything. He was there to learn from not only the faculty, but from his classmates. He absorbed the knowledge given and was able to curate it into what worked for him and his company. I know that he was respected by his classmates and was even nominated by several of them to be the class speaker at graduation. Spiros is the type of student that the EMBA program was lucky to have and would love to have more students like him in the future.”

Jeremy Davis
Associate, Director
MSU Executive MBA

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