Can You Teach Someone Entrepreneurship? This Successful Rowan Alumnus Says Yes

Rowan alumnus stands wistfully outside of Business Hall, standing for a portrait.

From Classroom to CEO: Unveiling the Success Story of Anthony Magaraci, a Rowan Entrepreneurship Alumnus

Anthony Magaraci, Entrepreneurship ‘06 alum, gives insight on his successes since graduating from Rowan’s entrepreneurship program

A member of the inaugural class of the entrepreneurship program within the William G. Rohrer College of Business, Anthony Magaraci graduated in 2006 alongside seven other students who comprised the first class. Since then, he has gone on to be the founder and CEO of major companies in the packaging supply chain industry, including Trinity Packaging Supply and an e-commerce company called SupplyStream. Over time, Trinity has grown into a $100 million company and received accolades such as being on the Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Companies in America list seven times in a row, the Inc. Best Places to Work list three times, and was ranked 89th on Fortune Magazine’s list of America’s Most Innovative Companies in 2023.

Anthony stands with the colored glass of Business Hall behind him, hands in his pockets, smiling and wearing a funky cool business professional blazer.

Much like other successful Profs, the story started at Rowan. Anthony began his Rowan experience majoring in music and philosophy, before a brand new program grabbed his attention: “I found, a little bit later in my college career, this program that Rowan started offering called Entrepreneurship. And it was really interesting because back then there was actually a debate: Could you teach entrepreneurship or are you inherently an entrepreneur? I would hear the same debate about sales. You’re either a sales guy or you’re not. I felt like, well, if you’re not born an attorney, you’re not born a surgeon, then you ought to be able to learn how to become an entrepreneur. And I was fascinated by that. So I didn’t have an idea. I didn’t have an invention or any kind of model or money. So I was all ears as it pertained to learning how to be an entrepreneur.” 

With that open mind and fascination, Anthony then pursued the entrepreneurship program. He recalls his experiences with faculty such as Professor Kimble Byrd, JD: “He would have office hours, I would go in and just ask him what he thought about things or different types of businesses or how it all works. He was very generous with his time. As a matter of fact, after I graduated and I was considering starting my own company years later, he still let me come in during office hours and talk to him. And it was really like a sounding board. But I would say the underlying thing that a lot of people need that they might not have is just the reinforcement or the confidence that you can do this right, and have someone like a professor telling you that you can do something. It’s inspiring.”

Anthony smiling standing outside the William G. Rohrer College of Business.

Anthony understood early on that entrepreneurship was going to require a different approach to what he had been trained to do in his academic life previously: “My whole life I was trained to take in information, retain as much of it as I could, and then repeat it back. How well you did that was how well your score was on that on the test, how it gauged your performance in whatever class it was. The difference in entrepreneurship, and what I learned at Rowan, was that it shaped your mindset. Instead of retaining what was in front of you, it changed your way of thinking to be able to create a new process, create a new way to do something, create a new invention. And I think that that mindset of challenging what’s in front of you as opposed to retaining that information was the differentiator in that program.” 

Reflecting on his experience, Anthony says that he feels as though he accomplished what he set out to do, saying, “I’d like to think that I settled the debate on if entrepreneurship could be something that’s learned or if you inherently have it, because I have to tell you, I was not an entrepreneur before this program. I waited tables. I worked three jobs, putting myself through college. I had no idea. I had no invention; I had no money. All I knew was hard work. And I learned how to start a business here. They showed me how to write an operations plan. They showed me how to write a business plan. They showed me how to run statements of cash flows and understand what a balance sheet is. You can learn it. And I went out there and I hit the ground running. So that would be the takeaway.”

Anthony speaking at the Spotlight Speaker event for the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He returned to host the Spotlight Speaker series for the College of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and over 90 students attended.
Anthony speaking at the Spotlight Speaker event for the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He returned to host the Spotlight Speaker series for the College of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and over 90 students attended.

Finally, Anthony has this to say to any potential Profs looking to further their education in the Entrepreneurship program at Rowan: “If you see yourself wanting to know how to start a business, if you see yourself wanting to create something – something that could live beyond yourself – if you want to be able to change something and make an impact. That’s why you would join Rowan University’s entrepreneurship program, because that would be a catalyst to your success.

You are the driver, right? This will help propel you to get there. So I think at first you ask the question to yourself, what do you want out of life? If you want to start a business, if you want to not work for someone else, not to be told what to do, if you want to have a dream and a vision, and then know the steps that are required to get there and fulfill that vision, the hard work is going to be up to you.”

With his entrepreneurial path starting at Rowan, Anthony returns to his roots to pay it forward to fellow Rowan Profs, most recently sharing his journey with 90+ students who came to hear him speak at the Rowan Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Spotlight Speaker Series.

Students wanting to know more about the Entrepreneurship program can find information here.

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Story and interview by Connor Bicknell, senior communication studies major