Robert Petrie

“If I were to identify the single most important influence on my career, I would have to say the EMTM program, hands down. I don't think I would have gone out on my own if I hadn't gone through the program. And launching a start-up was the most rewarding career experience I have ever had.”


Robert Petrie, EMTM’98
Senior Director, Business Development
Vignette Corporation
New York, NY

Robert Petrie, EMTM’98

From Kitchen Table Concept to
International Corporation

After earning his BA in computer science, Bob Petrie was working in a technical role at EDS when a desire to expand his career opportunities brought him to EMTM. "I was definitely attracted by Penn's reputation, but I also had never seen a program designed specifically for people who wanted to straddle two worlds, technology and business."

The program had an impact immediately and throughout his career. A classroom session on game theory provided insights a few weeks later into problems on a production line he was analyzing for Bethlehem Steel. But the biggest impact came when he founded a new company with two partners in 1999. There, he had a chance to apply everything he had learned about management and technology.

From an idea at the kitchen table, they built Aptegrity, one of the first managed services providers, into a $9 million business with offices in New Jersey, San Francisco and London. When the company was acquired by Globix Corporation, Petrie came on board as head of marketing and later became as COO of its $40 million Value-Added Services Group. "If I were to identify the single most important influence on my career, I would have to say the EMTM program, hands down," he says. "I don't think I would have gone out on my own if I hadn't gone through the program. And launching a startup was the most rewarding career experience I have ever had."

He has continued to benefit from the alumni network. He helped to found the alumni chapter in New Jersey and went with current students on an eye-opening global immersion program to Japan. He also returns to campus regularly for alumni events and spoke at the 2005 graduation ceremony.

As he told the graduates, "This program is not one thing. It is not just about technology, and not just about management. To me, this program is about leadership. Whether as the president of a one-person consulting shop or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, I encourage you to find opportunities to lead. The world outside needs you to and the EMTM program has prepared you well to do so."