PTMBAA Warm Clothing Drive

The PTMBAA is hosting a Warm Clothing Drive from November 1 – November 30 to benefit local families in need this winter. To make this event more exciting, this will be a friendly competition among the cohorts! Each individual cohort now has their own donation bin at their respective campus. The cohort with the highest level of donations at the end of the month will receive an additional $250 to their cohort budget. The “Most Generous Cohort”, with the highest average donations per student, will receive an additional $100 and this will be calculated as total donations per cohort / currently enrolled students per cohort. The winners will be announced at the Holiday Party on December 6th, and funds will be transferred for the Spring.

Donation items may include adult or child sized coats, sweaters, mittens, gloves, hats and blankets. They should all be free of rips or stains.

Donation Schedule:
2 donations = Heavy jackets
1 donation = Sweaters, blankets and light jackets

0.5 donations = Hats, gloves and scarves

While we encourage a friendly and healthy competition among students, please remember that the objective is to help local families stay warm this winter.

Which cohort will show the highest levels of philanthropy and giving..?

If you have any questions, please contact Rahul.Shah@rhsmith.umd.edu

The Secret to Building a Strong Network

julieneillBy Julie Neill, PT MBA Assistant Director, Executive Career Coach

Every working professional knows the importance of building a strong network.  But what’s the secret to doing so?  As you may have noticed, there has been an emphasis on networking the past couple of months by the PT MBA career coaching team.  After a series of networking workshops on each campus and two highly successful networking events at the DC and Baltimore campuses this month, we hope that many of you have been able to make some fantastic, new professional connections with fellow students and alumni.  But now what?

The secret to building a strong network is the follow up.  Just like a garden, a robust network needs tending to, i.e. continuous cultivation and maintenance.  One meeting does not a relationship make.  Think about dating.  If you went out on one date, but never followed up with the person, how would the relationship progress?

One of the critical factors here is timing.  Strike when the iron is hot and follow up immediately after your initial meeting or very soon after.  Send a LinkedIn connection request, preferably with a brief personalized message, and/or follow up with a short email.  Again, although you want to keep it concise, make sure it’s personalized so the person can remember you and your specific conversation.  If your initial conversation was brief, ask them to meet for coffee or lunch to continue the conversation in more depth.  Or perhaps you recently read a book or article you think might be of interest to them, or better yet, you’ve written or produced something that might be of value to them professionally.  Forward it along.

The key to any good relationship is that it is mutually beneficial.  Another great way to build the relationship is to connect that person to a colleague or friend you think might also be a great connection for them based on their interests, and in this regard, it doesn’t necessarily have to be purely professional.  For example, perhaps they mentioned they were in search of a good mechanic and you happen to know a great one or perhaps they mentioned a love of playing soccer and you happen to play on a local team.  Be a connector.  By doing so, both your network and ultimately, your net worth will begin to increase infinitely.

Negotiating Tips for Your Offer

By Joyce E. A. Russell, Ph.D., Vice Dean, Robert H. Smith School of Business

People who do not negotiate for salary start behind their peers who do. With every raise predicated on the starting position, they could be paying for this error for a very long time. In fact, senior managers may assume a person making less money is less valuable or less capable so that person is less likely to be promoted. Also, if your compensation record is better than others, employers will assume your performance is better too. So, remember that your salary history sends a signal that profoundly affects your performance reviews, raises, and job offers for YEARS to come. But, don’t be alarmed – negotiating salary, while stressful, involves skills that you can and should learn. In fact, 80% of employers stated that the job applicant who negotiates in a professional manner would make the best impression on them compared to: applicants who just accept the first offer and applicants who use an overly aggressive style when negotiating. To help you out, here are my top tips for negotiating your salary:

  1. Get a written job offer before conducting any salary negotiations.  Employers want YOU the most right after they have sent you a written offer. This is the time when you have the most leverage. Avoid negotiating during the interview process. It is not in your best interest.
  2. Avoid answering questions about your current or previous salary or salary expectations until you get a written offer. Even when you get an offer, avoid bringing up these issues. It is generally NOT in your best interest to report your previous or current salary. After all, you are completing an MBA to enhance your salary. So, if they ask these types of questions – try to deflect them as best as you can using something like -  “Before we address those issues, can you tell me more about the job tasks and responsibilities…” OR “This job is really different from what I was previously doing so the salary from that job is really not relevant; I would love to hear more about the job responsibilities…”
  3. Conduct market research to determine your market value and what your salary should be. This is one of the most important things you can do. You will not know if their offer is a good one unless you have conducted market research.  There are plenty of websites (e.g., payscale.com; glassdoor.com; salary.com) that can provide valuable information to you in helping you determine your worth.
  4. Establish your BATNA – your Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement. The most powerful weapon you have when negotiating salary is having a strong BATNA. This means – look for other offers that you can use as leverage. Try to get all your job offers around the same time.
  5. Set a MPP – a Maximum Plausible Position. Come up with a salary range and a MPP that makes sense. Doing research (e.g., market data) will help you determine what salary should be your target. Do not think about what you need (at the bottom level) to survive. Think instead of the top amount that you are aspiring to (that is realistic). Applicants with higher targets will generally be given higher salaries.
  6. After you receive the written offer, review it carefully. Thank them for the offer but do NOT answer “yes or no” regarding the offer until you have had time to think about it.
  7. If you decide you want to negotiate the offer, think about the top 2-3 things you really want to have changed in the offer (e.g., salary, start date, signing bonus, performance bonus, amount of vacation, etc).  Focus on those first.
  8. Practice what you will say when calling them back to talk about the offer. Script it out – what you will say, what they may say, what you will say in response. Have someone practice with you. Practice enhances your self-confidence.
  9. Listen to what they say and ask questions using a nice tone and style. Ask questions to understand, not to be confrontational. “Can you help me understand how you arrived at that offer…” This style also provides you with information about their views which can be beneficial when you negotiate with them.
  10. Remember to consider non-monetary things (e.g., job title, location, start date, relocation, benefits, educational or professional development funds) to negotiate in addition to salary, especially if they are unable to give you everything you wanted in the salary.
  11. Be persistent. Just because they say “no” the first time does not mean it is hopeless. You can ask them “can you help me understand why that would be difficult to do” then say nothing (using silence).  Use a nice tone and style when pushing back.  Sometimes they have to check with someone else at the firm. Let them check. Ask if they need additional information from you.
  12. Don’t quibble over small things.  Don’t fight with them over small differences in salary or perks.
  13. Once you decide to accept the offer, make sure the new offer is written. Then, send your letter of acceptance.  If you turn them down, make sure to diplomatically do this since your reputation and that of your school is connected to how you treat them.

Remember, you may not get everything you want from a job negotiation; but you probably won’t get anything more or different if you don’t ask.  You have to ask! In addition, your success in salary negotiations is all about how much you PREPARE and PRACTICE. So, take the time – it really is important.

MBAA Clubs: Become a PT MBA Liaison

PT MBA Liaisons are members of their respective club’s boards. They help with normal board duties and act as the voice of the PT population. Each of the clubs below currently have PT MBA Liaison positions available. Find out how to get involved below:

Jewish MBA Association (JMBAA)

The JMBAA is a center-point for the Jewish community at the Smith School. The purpose is to advocate for and support Jewish MBA students and to provide Jewish-themed social and educational events for all MBA students at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. The JMBA Association seeks to strengthen social ties, build community among Jewish graduate students, and provide links to Jewish organizations on campus and within the local area.

Responsibilities/Time Commitment
1 to 2 hours a week


Justin Fisher: justin.fischer@rhsmith.umd.edu

Latin MBA Student Association (LAMBASA)

LAMBASA represents the Latin community and culture at Smith, and aims to strengthen its network among LAMBASA alumni and Professional Latin associations throughout the DC area.Activities organized by the association include peer advising, career development, and networking opportunities.

Responsibilities/Time Commitment
PT MBA Liaison will represent and promote LAMBASA’s mission and events. Time commitment will be 1 hour a week.


Freddy Chacon: freddy.chacon@rhsmith.umd.edu

MBA Consulting Club (MCC)

The MBA Consulting Club has a twofold mission: one is to provide its members with a deeper understanding with the consulting industry and two is to help its members find career opportunities in the industry. This is conducted through weekly case practice, case competitions, information sessions with outside employers, and networking events. Our signature event, the Consulting Forum, takes place this year on Friday, October 31st at Van Munching Hall on the College Park campus.

Responsibilities/Time Commitment
We are looking for a PT MBA Liaison on the club board in order to help us better understand the needs of part-time students and how we can serve the whole student body as well as to help promote events that would be useful to both part-time and full-time students.


Brendan Collins: brendan.collins@rhsmith.umd.edu

Net Impact

The Net Impact at Smith serves as a hub for both academic and career-oriented activities related to developing a broader perspective of leadership and entrepreneurship. Through guest lecturers, student discussions, interactive workshops, and community volunteering, we explore new business models and methods to exert a positive impact upon our environment.

Responsibilities/Time Commitment
We are looking for a PT MBA liaison to help market/promote Net Impact activities and events for the 2014-2015 school year. We expect the time commitment to be minimal – 1 hour a week for meetings/marketing and then to attend any events (majority in the evening) hosted by the club.


Anna Anderson: anna.anderson@rhsmith.umd.edu

Smith Association of Womens MBA (SAWMBA)

The mission of SAWMBA is to celebrate the advancement of women in the business world, foster relationships inside and outside the University of Maryland community, and create professional, academic and personal resources for Smith women.

Responsibilities/Time Commitment
A PT MBA Liaison is expected to commit less than an hour every two weeks. Our goals are to increase female PT MBA participation and awareness of all SAWMBA events.


Jessica Waters: jessica.waters@rhsmith.umd.edu


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