MBA Research Project Leads to Good Food

When Mariangela Milea ’12 planned her final MBA research project, she and her husband had been toying with the idea of opening a restaurant. She said, “I chose to base my research project on that so that if the opportunity arose, we’d be better prepared.”

An opportunity arose.  On September 1, Milea and her husband opened Pepino Gourmet Express at Colonie Center in Albany, offering Italian-style panini, wraps, salads, and soups.

Mariangela Milea, class of 2012, University at Albany, School of Business Evening M.B.A. ProgramThe business plan she created for her class, which she worked with Associate Professor Celia Falbe, was altered to fit the culture of the mall while maintaining the upscale feel of the original restaurant idea.

Milea said, “Based on my education, I was able to estimate start-up costs and identify who our customer is.  I took away something of value from very course that I took at UAlbany: Entrepreneurial Finance, Operations Management, Human Resource Management and all of the others. It helped me when I started this venture.” 

In May 2012, Milea earned an MBA with a focus on New Venture Development from the Evening MBA program at the University at Albany. She maintains her day job as Assistant Executive Director of the New York Council on Problem Gambling, while her husband, Farid Boushaki, who has 20 years of experience in food service, manages the restaurant. Milea previously worked for Grumman and the New York State Legislature.