Welcome to the Smith PT MBA Program!

By Jenny Richardson, PTMBAA Marketing Committee

Welcome to the Robert H. Smith School of Business. We hope you are excited about your upcoming journey as a part-time student. You will soon learn that your time is precious while you aim for a work-life-study balance and business school is not just about what you know, but is more about who you know. That’s why the Smith School strongly encourages students to connect on social media networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. These networking platforms allow convenient and immediate access to information and contacts, even when it isn’t possible to make it in person across campuses. The Part-Time MBA Association has a page on Facebook where you can communicate about upcoming networking events, potential courses to take, books and other campus alerts. There are also cohort Facebook pages set-up for you and your fellow Fall 2014 classmates, to discuss just about everything and keep in touch.

In addition to social media, the Smith School also encourages you to regularly visit the MBA Networth website. It contains valuable information about your Smith experience. The upcoming academic calendar, planning the MBA curriculum, information about finances, adjusting schedules by adding or dropping courses, even if you’d like to look up faculty or students, MBA Networth is your ideal resource.


Your New Faculty Directors

We welcome Professors Progyan Basu, Paulo Prochno and Bennet Zelner as Faculty Directors for the PT MBA Programs. Faculty Directors will be responsible for managing all academic issues at our three campuses, and will be working closely with the Office of the Dean to make continued improvements to the learning experience of all PT MBA students. Please feel free to contact them with your questions and concerns on all academic matters.

Paulo Prochno, Clinical Full Professor and Associate Department Chair

Paulo Prochno is the Faculty Director for the DC evening program. Paulo joined the Smith school in 2007, and is currently a Clinical Professor in the Management & Organization Department. From 2010 to 2014, Paulo was the associate chair of the department. At Smith, Paulo teaches the core Strategic Management MBA course, and electives in Global Strategy and Implementing Strategy, having won multiple teaching awards for his work with undergraduates, MBAs and EMBAs. He also leads the “Doing Business in Brazil” MBA course.

Paulo earned his Ph.D. in management from INSEAD, his MBA from Vanderbilt University and his B.Eng. in industrial engineering from the University of São Paulo. He has written articles in the areas of knowledge management, organizational routines, cross-border management and manufacturing strategy. Additionally, through his consulting and executive education engagements he has helped major companies in Brazil and US to shape and disseminate their strategies and to foster innovation. In 2014, Paulo was elected for a 3-year term as representative-at-large for the Teaching Community of the Strategic Management Society.

Progyan Basu (‘Basu’), Clinical Associate Professor

Professor Progyan Basu (‘Basu’) will be the Faculty Director at Baltimore and Shady Grove campuses.  Basu joined Smith School in 2007, and is currently a Clinical Associate Professor at the Department of Accounting and Information Assurance, He has over 25 years of experience teaching accounting at undergraduate and graduate levels. At Smith, Basu teaches Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting and Financial Statement Analysis at the undergraduate, MBA and the EMBA programs. He continues to serve as a Cohort Director for Smith’s Executive MBA Program, as well as a Faculty Champion for Accounting Teaching Scholars Program for undergraduate students.

Basu was recognized for his contributions to the undergraduate and EMBA programs at Smith School, and was awarded the Krowe Teaching Excellence Award for the 2011-12 academic year.  Recently, he was selected as one of 2014-15 Undergraduate Studies Faculty Fellows at the University of Maryland.

Please contact Basu at : pbasu@rhsmith.umd.edu

Bennet Zelner
Bennet A. Zelner, Associate Professor

Bennet A. Zelner serves as Faculty Director for Smith’s Washington Weekend MBA. Bennet joined the Smith faculty in 2011 as Associate Professor of Business and Public Policy. He previously taught at Duke University, Georgetown University, and UC Berkeley, where he also received his PhD. Bennet currently teaches “The Global Economic Environment” as well as electives on political risk management, stakeholder engagement, and emerging markets. He has also taught classes in strategic management and microeconomics.

Bennet studies topics at the intersection of strategic management and public policy. Prior research has examined the forces leading national governments to adopt (and sometimes reverse) market-oriented infrastructure policy reforms—such as privatization, deregulation, and liberalization—and the strategic challenges faced by firms doing business in such environments. Current projects focus on the investment strategies of state-owned multinationals, the comparative effects of national renewable energy policies on “green” innovation patterns in Western Europe, and the role played by business groups—clusters of legally independent firms linked by multiplex economic and social ties—in different types of capitalist economies.

You may contact Bennet at: bzelner@rhsmith.umd.edu (preferred) or 202 455-0759 (m).



2014 Orientation

by Rahul Shah, PTMBAA VP of Community Development

On August 16th and 23rd, Smith School welcomed the newest incoming class of Part-Time MBA students at Orientation in Van Munching Hall. The two days were divided between the DC, Shady Grove and Baltimore cohorts. They were both great days that combined logistical information about the program, experiential learning exercises and opportunities to network among both current and incoming students.

The PTMBAA board opened up both days with a welcome, followed by words of wisdom and advice from Dean Alex Triantis, Vice Dean Joyce Russell and Chief Academic Officer Shreevardhan Lele. The overall message was very positive and motivating, with all parties encouraging students to really take advantage of the opportunities and resources offered at Smith. Students also had the opportunity to ask questions to Smith School’s senior leadership before breaking out into their respective cohorts.

This year’s orientation theme, “Experience the Adventure”, was really about all the experiential learning opportunities offered here at Smith. This is one area that all of the different centers and departments have been particularly innovative in, and is undoubtedly one of the best ways to learn. Students got a glimpse of some of these activities at orientation, from preparing elevator pitches with the Office of Career Services to preparing a business model canvas with the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, Center for Social Value Creation and the Office of Global Initiatives. The center’s also explained all of the specific opportunities for part-time students including the social venture consulting program, Pitch Dingman Competition, short-term study abroad trips and the latest Portfolio Management Competition through the Center for Financial Policy among others.

In my personal opinion, it’s really these opportunities that differentiate Smith School from all the other programs out there. It’s really these opportunities that allow students to connect with like-minded students across cohorts and across campuses, and what really adds value to the overall MBA experience. Most importantly, it’s really these opportunities that allow students to apply the knowledge from their coursework, and gain even more as a result.

The day also included the current student panel experience, sessions with the various clubs and closed with a networking happy hour that included snacks and drinks. Overall, it was a great day that prepared students with the information they need to be successful in the program.

On behalf of the PTMBAA, we are very excited to welcome the newest incoming class! We wish you all the best of luck in this new phase of your journey and hope that you make the most of your time here. All students are encouraged to partake in the great events planned for the year ahead as they contribute to the cohesive community that is Smith.

Check out pictures from orientation here.


2nd Annual Sunset Cruise – Recap

by Winstonn Tubbs

On August 14th, current PT MBA students, alumni, and significant others had the opportunity to fellowship for an open-bar cruise of the Potomac River on the private yacht, Virginia’s Jewel. This event was an excellent opportunity for incoming students, current students and alumni relax, eat, drink, network, and enjoy good music.

Take a look at a few pictures from the cruise http://goo.gl/6QrJgj

Sunset Cruise 2014_v1

Shady Grove Summer Picnic- Recap

by Patrick Yu

On Saturday July 12th, 2014 the Shady Grove Campus held their first annual summer picnic at a park in Gaithersburg, MD. 35 people attended which consisted of Shady Grove current students and their families, DC students, and newly admitted students starting this Fall. Burgers, dogs, and other picnic fare were served while everyone socialized, played lawn games, and talked about all things from Smith School of Business to the World Cup. The weather was beautiful, food and drink bountiful, but the best parts were socializing with each other outside of the classroom.


Smith Commencement Highlights

Congratulations to all of the Spring 2014 Smith MBA graduates. An enthusiastic crowd gathered in Comcast Center on May 22 and May 23, 2014, to cheer on a brand-new crop of proud Smith School alumni. The Smith School celebrated the commencement of 850 undergraduate students, 230 MBA students, 220 MS and MFin students, and 10 doctoral students.

For the first time, the school held separate ceremonies for undergraduate and doctoral students, MBA students, and MS and MFin students. This allowed students and their families to participate in shorter and more intimate ceremonies. Read more about the commencement on the Robert H. Smith School of Business News page.

Click here to watch a recording of the 2014 Smith MBA Commencement

State of the Union Address

UncleLucasBy Lucas Horne, Part-Time MBA Association President | 2014-2015

Dear Part Time MBA students, as your newly elected President, I thought I’d take this opportunity to let you all know what the new Board is planning to accomplish over the next year. As many of you know my platform for running was based on establishing a new Smith ‘art’ that we can get printed to expand our Smith gear collections. I’ve been working with Smith Marketing in order to realize that vision.

I’ve also been working very closely with the Full-Time MBA Association President, Jamine Gallman, to make some drastic changes that will align our programs and ensure that we have the opportunity to share many of our resources in both directions. I believe they have a lot to offer us in terms of time availability for club and social events, but we also have a lot to offer them in terms of corporate connections and experience. If we can establish a two way street sharing all of these resources I think we’d all have a lot to gain from each other.

My Board has already been incredibly busy with other undertakings that would greatly improve our Smith experience. Scott Graham, our VP of Finance is working with myself and the Full Time VP of Finance to figure out how we can collaborate more closely to not only align social resources but financial resources as well. Winstonn Tubbs, our VP of Marketing is researching how we can communicate more effectively with students so that we’re all aware of events and opportunities as early as possible. Megan Allumns, our VP of Professional Development is working closely with the new satellite campus OCS staff to ensure we maximize their positive impact on each campus. Rahul Shah, our VP of Community Development is working with Smith’s Community Development resources to make their programs more readily available to us, the part time community. Drew Smith, Lisa Derr, and Patrick Yu, our VP’s of Outreach are on a new undertaking which involves building a clear path of communication from students all the way up to the PTMBAA and then to the Smith School when appropriate, something that hasn’t happened before. This will ensure that each of you has the voice you deserve, that your track reps know exactly how to communicate, and that we’re listening and responding appropriately to all of the students, not just those that are already close to the board.

2014 – 2015 will be a big year that I believe will present substantial positive changes. I am fortunate to have such a great and driven Board and I’m confident will get a lot done to improve the experience of the part time students. I think I speak for my entire Board when I say that we look forward to working both for and with the entire Smith community.

Lucas Horne is the President of the Part-Time MBA Association. As President, Lucas serves as a voice and sounding board for Part-Time MBA student concerns. He also works with University officials, MPO, and Centers as appropriate to represent student’s interest and ensure student’s voices are heard. For questions or comments, email Lucas at LucasCHorne@gmail.com

OCS Tip of the Month

dave_gentMake Networking Work For You!

By David Gent, Part-time MBA Career Consultant / DC

Your best next job(s) will come from networking (and HireSmith!) For many, though, the question is how. That is, how to turn a networking conversation into a lead for your next opportunity. The answer: help the person see how you will drive the business and/or organization forward.

Every organization and every manager has a problem, something that “keeps them up at night.” When networking, listen for those problems and then speak to your ability to help resolve the issue.

If you aren’t hearing any problems, ask. Ask questions focused on the competitive landscape and strategic decisions; companies always want to know more about their customers and stakeholders. There are countless questions. But, you have to ask.

Even more powerfully, help that leader see what he or she can’t. Some refer to this as problem finding. Your Smith MBA enables you to frame a problem – or, even better, opportunity – out of ambiguity. Offer that.

Once you discover the what, link it to your experiences, knowledge (hint: your Smith coursework) and competencies. Having a strong elevator pitch is a good starting point to making your case. Another is to offer possible resources you might bring to the situation…with you being the primary one.

Of course, there is some art to the conversation. You have to let the problem unfold and then subtly weave in the ways in which you will add value to that manager and to that company’s go forward strategy. You must listen closely and with focus on what you can bring to the problem. Don’t worry about how you are being perceived (we all do) but rather think like you are in a presentation making a case for a new approach.

But how will you know your networking is working? A key turning point in any conversation is when the person says something like, tell me about when you led that project team. Or, what do you think of this market trend. These questions and ones like them signal that the person is starting to see you as someone who will help; a networking conversation is shifting to an interview.

To learn more about the art of the networking conversation, please schedule a coaching appointment with Dave, Erika, Jeff and Dana, your career coaches, through HireSmith.

Glass Globe on Euro Notes

New Global Equity Fund Members

by Doug Wink

The University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School Global Equity Fund is managed by 19 students in the school’s part-time MBA and Master of Science in Business: Finance programs. The global fund was established in 2009 and holds investments primarily in companies outside the United States.

The limited-enrollment fund gives students the chance to research companies and manage and invest money from the school’s endowment fund. The fund managers’ goal is to outperform the MSCI All Country ex US Index, though it’s equally important that each member learns the processes by which investment decisions are made in a professional asset-management setting.

In a course that meets once per week for an entire year at the Smith School’s Washington, D.C. campus in the Ronald Reagan building, students gain unparalleled financial knowledge and skills, including asset management exposure, quantitative portfolio management experience, and financial modeling skills. They develop skills using and applying tools from Smith’s extensive suite of financial databases and information systems.

Participating students are assigned roles in operating the fund, either as portfolio managers or equity analysts specializing in a specific geographic area or industry such as technology or telecommunications. Participants are chosen through an application process and selected on several criteria including analytical abilities and communication and leadership skills.

The outgoing members (2013 – 2014) are:  The incoming members (2014 – 2015) are:
Yingmei Liu
Elie Rizk
Kyle Blackman
Douglas Wink
Xianzhen Li
Xuejing LI
Zili Zhou
Yuan Ji
Ruowen Du
Xijing Xie
Yingchun He
Mengge Pu
Yungjing Qiu
Ting Gu
Weiwen Zhang
Di Zheng
Ronald Martin
Vaibhav Thadakamalla
William Cole
Haiyi Wang
Luyao Chen
Kaixiang Fu
Yan Zhang
Xiadi Wang
Rahul Shah
Suhui Yan
Ram Medavarapu
Roy Smethers
Stephan Jerabek
Blair Harris
Battle Williford
Joel Gill, Jr.
Chris McGrath
Christopher Niemira
Justin Shannon
Mingfei Dai
Panjun Wang

You can contact the Global Equity Fund through the incoming 2014-2015 Project Managers, Chris McGrath (cmmcgrath10@gmail.com) & Ram Medavarapu (srmedava@yahoo.com). You can read more about the global equity fund here.


The Smith Gamble and Game Night Recap

by Andrianne Konstas

On April 4th Smith PTMBAA hosted “Smith Gamble and Game Night” (Smith Gamble). An extension of the widely popular “Girls Gamble” events, Smith Gamble offered a night of networking, food, poker, Wii Sports, and an assortment of board games. It was a chance for all Smith MBA students to take a study break and test their chances at a few hands of poker. Apart from learning the rules of the game, whether that is Texas Hold ‘Em or Wii bowling, Smith Gamble gave students and alumni a chance to relax and catch up with one another.

Guests chatted about family – how they were managing course work with planning weddings or awaiting the birth of their first child; friends – fitting social obligations for work and school at the same time; and personal time – what they were doing when they weren’t working or at school or with family and friends. Playing games and poker gave student a chance to discuss their lives outside of Van Munching Hall, and all the other respective campuses.

This setting of games and friends offered one of the best opportunities for cohort mates – old and new – to network and gather/sharpen some key business skills. Learning to read someone’s “poker face” parallels with learning how to read your audience. And learning when to bluff or when to fold is strikingly similar to assessing risk. Players are not drawing-up decision trees at the table, but more often than not thy are tapping their feet or flipping chips in the hand – assessing their risks – and those who attended Smith Gamble gained greater insight on that.

But, like in so many games some of the players had ulterior motives. Smith Gamble was organized to gather insight on how students were managing their work/school-life balance. At the end of the night guests were asked to fill out surveys, (If you weren’t able to attend you can still use the following link to share your thoughts on the matter.) asking students to identify how much they valued being able to balance work and family when applying to The Robert H. Smith School of Business. The survey further asked if students were aware or interested in using service like; daycare, lactation rooms, or web-conferencing into lectures. The information provided in the survey was confidential and findings will be presented to school administrators regarding some of the challenges MBA students face between balancing school and personal life.

The big take away of the event was that students were able to relax – unintentionally network, play a few hands of poker, and meet outside the class (well actually it was inside a classroom…lets just say outside the lecture). We are all dealing with different “hands of life” and it is great when we can share those hands and gather tips on how we can play those hands. Smith Gamble taught guests how to play poker or to play with a better poker face, but moreover it was a constructive way to network.