Learning from the Best: IDEA Hosts EMC Co-founder Roger Marino

This past Thursday, IDEA was fortunate to host one of the most prominent business leaders to graduate from Northeastern, Roger Marino. A 1961 graduate from the College of Engineering, Marino co-founded the computer storage and security company EMC in 1979 along with his Northeastern roommate Richard Egan. As one of the most distinguished and successful entrepreneurs to come out of Northeastern, IDEA was very excited to host Roger and pick his brain about all things business and entrepreneurship.

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One of the first things Mr. Marino said to his audience, made up of the IDEA Management Team, Ventures and others from the Boston startup scene, was that we’re probably going to fail before we succeed, and that’s okay. He went on to grade his own ventures, stating that the only one he would’ve received an A on is EMC. Marino was a part of two startups before EMC that didn’t see quite the same immense success, and is now active in various other startups. When asked what he learned from his many ventures, both successful and unsuccessful, Mr. Marino said that you can never get too cocky. “The reason companies don’t survive is because they get arrogant. When in doubt, go with your gut; gut feelings can’t be overlooked.”

For someone as successful and prominent in the business world as Mr. Marino, the last word that would come to mind to describe him is arrogant. He was incredibly down-to-earth, and at one point even said that he was honored to be in front of the group of students and entrepreneurs.

“This school gets it. Entrepreneurship is part of [Northeastern’s] DNA.”

He also praised Northeastern’s co-op program, in which he participated while an undergraduate, and emphasized the importance of having some sort of work experience before graduating.

Mr. Marino’s final parting advice for young entrepreneurs?

“Go to Northeastern, do a co-op (or three), graduate, work for small companies, change them, and then go start your own.” Sounds easy enough…

IDEA would like to thank Mr. Marino for coming to speak in the Lab and for his insights on starting a business, maintaining perseverance, and being successful.  For more information on IDEA or our other upcoming events, please visit our website.

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Alyssa is a Communications Officer for IDEA and a senior in the College of Arts, Media and Design at Northeastern studying Organizational Communication. Connect with her on Twitter!

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