Robert M. Tarola came to Temple University on a football scholarship in 1968 and played under legendary coach Wayne Harden. He was a marketing major until he added an accounting major in his senior year. “I was influenced by a very wonderful accounting professor, Mr. Jim Solano,” he says. The dual major paid off quickly in his first job out of school, as an accountant in the marketing department at Chrysler Corporation.
Today, Mr. Tarola is President of Right Advisory LLC, a consulting firm that specializes in turnarounds of financially troubled organizations. Over the years, his service to Temple has included advising two university presidents on the university’s finances “to balance paying the bills with the academic mission.” For 22 years, he was with the accounting firm Pricewaterhouse, where he made partner. He left the firm to take a job as founding CFO for MedStar Health, a growing Maryland-based healthcare system at the time. “It was a huge risk, to trade something I did well for something I only knew a little about,” he says of his first CFO job. “Now, 20 years later, I’m glad I did it. But for five years, I wasn’t sure.” He founded Right Advisory in 2008, following a 10-year stint as CFO with the global conglomerate W.R. Grace. When hiring young people, Mr. Tarola looks for three qualities: Curiosity, a positive attitude, and a strong work ethic. “With those personal characteristics,” he says, “you work through problems, you solve problems, and you create opportunities for your employer and for yourself.” “Curiosity needs to be coupled with perseverance,” he notes. “That’s the auditor in me speaking. You never say ‘okay’ until you are completely sure. There’s an element of backbone and fortitude to go with it, because quite often, getting to the truth is not always easy.”
Temple University Degree
Bachelor of Business Administration ’73, Fox School of Business (Accounting, Marketing)
Title & Company
President, Right Advisory LLC
Temple University Awards & Affiliatons
- Commencement Speaker, Fox School of Business
- Dean’s Council, Fox School of Business
- Former Chair, President’s Advisory Board
- Former TUAA Board
- Musser Award for Excellence in Alumni Leadership, 2005
What I wanted to be when I was 20 years old
At 20 I had no idea what I would do after Temple. Thank goodness, my training and work ethic opened doors over the course of my career.
Best piece of advice anyone ever gave me
Work hard, play hard; but keep them both in balance.