John Mazarakis thinks of himself as a person who simply makes pizza. But there’s a lot more to being COO of Seasons Pizza than that. With his partners, Mazarakis runs around 30 stores across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware and manages a little over a thousand employees. Seasons Pizza is also the official pizza of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Mazarakis started making pizza at a nearby store when he was fourteen years old and fell in love with food. He met his three partners in 1995 and has worked with them to build Seasons Pizza to the level of a regional powerhouse, owning not just restaurants but an extensive real-estate portfolio.
As COO, Mazarakis prides himself on being close to the people he employs. “We care about them on an individual level,” he says. “We understand that people make you who you are. Our community is extremely important and it starts with the people that we work closely with every day.”
It was this notion that drove Mazarakis to seek out his MBA from Chicago Booth in 2015. Seasons Pizza had shown great growth – over 2000% in 15 years. But Mazarakis felt they had reached a crossroads; growth was slowing down to a more moderate pace. He questioned whether the team should just sit back enjoy what they had achieved. Ultimately, he decided that it was worth pushing forward on behalf of his team. He felt he needed a more scientific approach to get Seasons Pizza to the next level.
Hear John Mazarakis’ story
As an entrepreneur with no formal business training, Mazarakis saw an immediate return on investment from his studies. “Everything I learned here I could go back Monday morning and implement at work. And I’m like, wow – I have so much material to motivate people, solve problems, and move on.”
Executive MBA students make the decision to attend the Executive MBA Program for different reasons; no two paths are alike. To hear more stories from Booth students, please visit our Student Experience page.