Student Spotlight – Ihuoma Emenuga

 

Quickfire Questions

Name: Ihuoma Emenuga, MD, MPH
Year: First
Campus: Baltimore
Company: City of Baltimore & Johns Hopkins Community Physicians
Title/Role: Medical Director & Hospitalist Physician
Hometown/Current Town:  Glenwood, Maryland
Alma Maters: London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, University of London
University of Nigeria
Favorite Baltimore/College Park Area Restaurant: Panera
Favorite Baltimore/D.C. Area Tourist Destination: National Museum of American History, Washington D.C.
Favorite Travel Destination: Sousse, Tunisia
Favorite Book: David & Goliath, by Malcolm Gladwell
Grit, by Angela Duckworth
Favorite Movie: A Beautiful Mind
Favorite Song/Artist: Hills and Valleys/Tauren Wells
Currently Binging on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon: N/A (Aside from the news, I rarely watch TV)
Dream Job: As a physician-executive, managing a health system large enough to make an impact on the healthcare landscape.
Favorite Podcast: Freakonomics, Hidden Brain
What’s your Guilty Pleasure? What can’t you live without? Piping hot tea, fresh lemon and generous honey with a large slice of apple pie or chocolate cake

Let’s Get to It

You work for the City of Baltimore. Can you tell us a little about your job? As the Medical Director for the Bureau of School Health, I oversee more than 200 clinical staff who provide health services in Baltimore City Public Schools and School Based Health Centers (SBHCs). What we are trying to do through our school health program is level the playing field for students by providing health services and as many wraparound services as possible. The importance of social determinants of health is well known. As providers of healthcare in schools, we recognize this unique opportunity to engage with students and mitigate their exposure to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). We now know that a child’s ACE score is positively correlated with chronic health challenges in adulthood.

Did you know when earning your MPH and MD that you wanted to pursue this (business) career? No, I did not. Being a physician has always been more than a job to me. As far back as Medical School, I recognized that medicine had become not only my passion but was pivotal to my life’s calling. I truly believed I had found my niche in Public Health when, during my MPH, I took my first Health Economics class. Over time, however, I could not shake my growing frustration with the inefficiencies in the healthcare industry. I was unable to ignore what I perceived as the trade off between patient-centered care and cost saving – I knew we had to find the intersection of business and medicine; we had to find a way to curb the rising health care costs without compromising certain aspects of patient care, most notably the patient experience. I embarked on a mission to find that sweet spot, and that mission led me to Business School.

How do you see your MBA fitting into your future career plans? My MBA is providing me with insight into other industries: successful strategies, lessons learned, etc. As I gather the information, I am constantly taking notes, triaging potential interventions, shortlisting options, developing and honing my game plan. I find that I am being prepared to take on the challenge of cost-effective, patient-centered healthcare.

What’s been your best learning experience so far while earning your MBA? Financial Accounting and Strategic Management were both truly transformational for me. Prior to this, my exposure to accounting was limited to my yearly tax visit with my CPA. After taking both courses, I began to think about businesses and corporations in an entirely different way.

Student Spotlight – Ryan Trout

Quickfire Questions

Name: Ryan Trout
Year: Third
Campus: Baltimore
Company: City of Baltimore, Department of General Services
Title/Role: Legislative Liaison and Public Information Officer
Hometown/Current Town:  Frederick, Maryland
Alma Mater: Mount St. Mary’s University
Favorite Baltimore/College Park Area Restaurant: Lucky Corner, wonderful Vietnamese food! (Frederick)
Favorite Baltimore/D.C. Area Tourist Destination: In Baltimore, I really like the Peale Museum. In Frederick, I like to give short historical walking tours of downtown and enjoy telling people about the Tyler Spite House and Kemp Hall (where Maryland held its legislative session in 1861 to vote on secession)
Favorite Travel Destination: Vancouver, it has everything: water, hiking, mountains, huge city park, walkability, great bars and food.
Favorite Book: I like to read a variety of non-fiction and I’m currently reading Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond. My favorite book is The Working Poor: Invisible in America by David K. Shipler.
Favorite Movie: Groundhog Day, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Stranger than Fiction, Shaun of the Dead, Requiem for a Dream, and Memento
Favorite Song/Artist: I have an eclectic taste. I like a variety of types of music, including folk, punk rock, hip hop, funk, jazz, and even pop.
Currently Binging on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon: I am a father of two, does rewatching Zootopia count as binge watching? Recently, I have rewatched Parks and Recreation, I’m a fan of Stranger Things, GLOW was great, and I am currently watching Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.
Dream Job: Ideally, I would serve my community as a legislator, crafting laws that improve the lives of working families across Maryland. Maryland is a state of citizen legislators, meaning that the legislators have other full-time employment. In time, I would like to own my own business and teach at the high school or college level.
Favorite Podcast: Pod Save America
What’s your Guilty Pleasure? What can’t you live without? Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Let’s Get to It

Why did you decide to pursue your MBA? Did you know when you decided to earn your MBA that you also wanted to earn a Master of Public Policy degree? I decided to pursue the MBA program because I saw it as a perfect compliment to the public policy degree I was also hoping to earn. The MBA provides me with a perspective I lacked previously. It helps me understand issues from multiple sides and how to use public policy to incentivize business growth while supporting working families.

Could your goal to earn your degrees have to do with your candidacy for the Maryland House of Delegates? Can you tell us more about how you decided to run and what your duties will be if elected? Originally, I planned to wait to run for office. The degrees provide me with a stronger academic understanding of issues and different lenses upon which to examine said issues. The degrees and my desire to seek elected office all come from the same desire to serve my community and the working families struggling to make ends meet. I believe that my experiences working in the state senate and for a local housing authority with parents and caregivers, coupled with my education will help me serve those families in Maryland better.

You attend both the Baltimore and College Park campuses. What are some of the differences and similarities between the two campuses? My experiences have been very different because of the programs I am in. At the Baltimore campus I take MBA courses and was in the cohort model. These are eight-week classes with a great deal of structure. The MPP courses at College Park are longer and were a bit looser, allowing for a different type of mastery of the materials. However, the number one similarity I have found are the students. I have been continually impressed by the professionalism, kindness, dedication, and hard work put in by each student. Everyone has a different reason for being in the program, but all want to get the most out of it and share the experience with other focused students.

Not only are you earning two degrees and running for state office, but you also work full time and have two sons. How do you balance everything? Honestly, I don’t know anything different. I grew up in a working class family; my dad served in the US Army and my mom worked odd jobs to make ends meet. They were always trying to improve the lives of my sister and me. Since I was fourteen I have always either had two or more jobs or been working and attending school. This is my normal.

Also, it would be a disservice to my parents’ hard work if I didn’t do the same for my boys and my community. There are so many people in Frederick, and across Maryland, who are struggling each day to afford childcare, housing, healthcare, or a decent education. I want to work each day to do what I can to ease this burden and create a more just society.

What are some words of wisdom you’ve learned while in graduate school you can share with your classmates? Manage expectations. Understanding the expectations of your professor, your teammates, and yourself is fundamental to success in graduate school, and in life. Once you communicate with others about their expectations, it allows you to create a plan and manage your time. But if you don’t know what others expect from you and communicate what you expect from others, you risk letting others down or being let down yourself.

If someone wanted to know more about your campaign, where should they look? My website is www.troutfordelegate.com, which has some information about me, my background and my platform. They can also like my Facebook page, @troutfordelegate, to get campaign updates, or reach out to me directly at ryan@troutfordelegate.com.

Student Spotlight – Bridget Harrison

Quickfire Questions

Name: Bridget Harrison
Year: First
Campus: Shady Grove
Company: IBM
Title/Role: Subcontract Program Manager
Hometown/Current Town:  Gaithersburg, MD/Germantown, MD
Alma Mater: Pennsylvania State University
Pets: A boxer named Tyson
Favorite D.C. Area Restaurant: Matchbox
Favorite Baltimore/D.C. Area Tourist Destination: National Museum of African American History and Culture
Favorite Travel Destination: Anywhere in the Dominican Republic
Favorite Book: It’s really hard to choose just one favorite book, so I’ll just say the whole Harry Potter series.
Favorite Movie: Once again, I can’t choose a favorite movie…I really enjoy the Marvel universe so I can’t wait to see Black Panther. But recently, I loved how they reimagined Jumanji.
Favorite Song/Artist: According to my phone, I really enjoying listening to Jay-Z and Beyonce. So let’s say The Carters are my favorite artists.
Currently Binging on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon: Stranger Things is great, and I just finished The Runaways on Hulu.
Dream Job: I’d love to start my own business, providing financial education to women and families in need.
Favorite Podcast: Lift Every Voice, Cory Booker
What’s your Guilty Pleasure? What can’t you live without? Definitely chocolate

Let’s Get to It

What have you enjoyed the most about graduate school? I’ve really enjoyed meeting so many new people from different walks of life. With each new topic we learn and discuss in school, it’s so interesting to hear the different perspectives and approaches to the material. I love when we get into debates, you learn so much about the people in your class and may even broaden your views.

What’s the hardest aspect of going back to school? Going back to school has definitely been an adjustment. I took a long time off from school, so it took awhile to get back in the groove of studying and doing homework. Time management is key to not get too overwhelmed, which I learned the hard way!

What are you looking forward to this most during your first spring term? Seeing my cohort again – shout out to Shady Grove! Oh, and all of the new topics we’ll learn, of course.

What advice do you have for other first years? Balance is key! If you feel over-stressed, take some time to decompress. Time management is key, but so is your mental health and well-being.

Student Spotlight – Melissa Farzin

Quickfire Questions

Name: Melissa Farzin
Year: Second
Campus: Shady Grove
Company: Massachusetts General Hospital
Hometown/Current Town: Germantown, MD
Alma Mater: University of Maryland – College Park – Go Terps!
Family/Pets: In my immediate family there’s my mom, dad, sister and myself. I also have a Shih-tzu poodle named Ruxin.
Favorite D.C. Area Restaurant: La Limeña (Peruvian) or Cuba De Ayer (Cuban)
Favorite Baltimore/D.C. Area Tourist Destination: I recently visited the United States Botanic Garden. It was quite informative and alluring. I can’t wait to go back during the warmer weather.
Favorite Travel Destination: Italy, specifically Cinque Terre – one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.
Favorite Book: Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling or Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Favorite Movie: I love movies. Some of my favorites – Sweeney Todd, John Q, all the Harry Potter movies, Les Miserables, The Revenant, Big Fat Greek Wedding.
Favorite Song/Artist: Maybe the Good Kid M.A.A.D City album by Kendrick Lamar. He is one of my favorite artists in general. It’s tough to narrow down because I love music. Rock, reggaeton, electronic/house, rap, R&B…you name it.
Currently Binging on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon: I watch Futurama here and there. Also, Black Mirror has been on the TV lately. It’s a little too dark for me, but I’ve caught myself watching episodes here and there. What I am anticipating with excitement are the next seasons of: Master of None and A Series of Unfortunate Events.
Dream Job: If I could act, I would love to do it for a living.
Favorite Podcast: Invisibilia
What’s your Guilty Pleasure? Keeping Up with the Kardashians, fitness classes
What can’t you live without? Can’t live without soccer (I have been playing for over 15 years), animals, coffee/tea, and food.

Let’s Get to It

How did you choose the Smith School to earn your MBA? The University of Maryland satisfied all the requirements I was looking for in an MBA program. I wanted a reputable, yet affordable education. Specifically, the part-time program made it feasible for me to gain professional experience while reinforcing those experiences with academic knowledge. The fact that the program offers in-person courses within minutes of my home is icing on the cake. Lastly, having gone to UMD for undergrad, I knew the MBA program at Smith would be yet another chapter of valuable experiences with a diverse group of driven individuals and wise professors (and it has been).

You’ve taken classes at the Shady Grove and D.C. campuses. What are some differences and similarities between the two campuses? The Shady Grove campus is more intimate and feels like a school. Your classes are located in an academic building in the suburbia of Maryland. In D.C. you feel the hustle and bustle of the hard-working business man and the fearless female boss in the city. As a people person, I’ve enjoyed taking classes at both Shady Grove and D.C. campuses. Getting to know more students in the program and watching them share their talents and knowledge in class has been one of my favorite things about being able to go back and forth between campuses.

What are you looking forward to the most this spring term? The consulting practicum taught by Nicole Coomber looks like it will be a truly rewarding course. It seems to embody the experiential learning Smith prides itself on offering its students. I am excited to learn more about consulting from an academic standpoint, while also gaining wisdom from my peers.

How do you plan on using your MBA, once you graduate? My interests lie in the human capital management/consulting field, therefore I hope to apply the frameworks learned in the management courses throughout my time in the program to create practical solutions for my own company or clients in general. In general, I feel the MBA program has helped me increase my confidence and business acumen, which are two things I can carry with me in throughout my professional and personal life.

 

Student Spotlight – Alexandra Turianska

Quickfire Questions

Name: Alexandra Turianska
Year: Second – Foreign Exchange Student
Campus: College Park & D.C. Evening
Hometown: Slovakia
Home University: Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Family/Pets: 11 year old male cat named Mitsouche. My parents are taking care of him in Slovakia, so I Skype with him all the time. I also have a brother and sister who live in London.
Favorite D.C. Area Restaurant: I love the 14th Street area, so almost any restaurant there is great, but most recently I went to Radiator. It was excellent, both the food and service!
Favorite Baltimore/D.C. Area Tourist Destination: I loved my visit to the White House, but I couldn’t believe how much smaller it actually is inside. The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and United States Capitol are also favorites of mine.
Favorite Travel Destination: London is my favorite travel destination. The metro always works and isn’t confusing. I also love the history and historical buildings.
Favorite Book: The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma
Favorite Movie: I can’t choose just one, so I’ll pick two: Pretty Woman and Slumdog Millionaire.
Favorite Song/Artist: Rihanna is my favorite artist and my favorite song is Rehab by Rihanna and Justin Timberlake.
Currently Binging on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon: I’m on season 3 of Narcos. It’s such a good show.
Dream Job: I am going to write my master thesis on airport control tours in Copenhagen. I hope to work in airport system security management. There is so much diversity and cultures in airports and most people who work in airports are multicultural, which really inspires me.
What’s your Guilty Pleasure? Chocolate, of course!

Let’s Get to It

How did you determine which school to attend for graduate school? Copenhagen Business School has two options for students to choose which school to attend through the exchange program. The options include a database of schools provided from Copenhagen Business School or students can act as freelancers by directly contacting a university or pay an agency to reach out to a university. I used the database as well as completed additional research on the universities, including its social life, courses, interaction between students and professors and location. I didn’t want to live on campus, but with UMD was able to take a class in College Park to have the campus experience and the Part Time program experience by taking a class in D.C.

Have you earned any other graduate degrees? No, I haven’t earned any other degrees. But once I go back to Copenhagen, I will need to complete another semester and my master thesis.

What are your plans once you graduate? I am not exactly sure, but I will likely move to London to be close to my brother and sister. I am homesick right now, but I might get back to Copenhagen and realize I miss D.C. and try to come back, once I graduate.

What are the main differences between UMD and the other schools you’ve attended? The classroom culture is very different because there is more interaction between professors and students at UMD. At Copenhagen Business School attendance is not required, but at UMD professors want everyone to be in class. I’m not sure which is better – should we be pushed to attend class or are we adults and we can make our own decisions? I am more focused at UMD and have learned more in a semester than a year at Copenhagen. I love both experiences though.

Student Spotlight – Tim Neugebauer

Quickfire Questions

Name: Tim Neugebauer
Year: Second – Foreign Exchange Student
Campus: College Park & D.C. Evening
Company: Abacus Medicine A/S, New Ventures Department
Hometown: Copenhagen, Denmark
Home University: Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Alma Mater:  Europa Universität Flensburg, Germany
Favorite D.C. Area Restaurant: Buredo
Favorite Baltimore/D.C. Area Tourist Destination: National Air and Space Museum
Favorite Travel Destination: Bali, Indonesia
Favorite Book: The Art of Smart Action by Rolf Dobelli
Favorite Movie: The Guardian
Favorite Song/Artist: Bryan Adams – Summer of ‘69
Currently Binging on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon: I have to admit I have none of them. I know, it’s strange. Let’s pretend it’s due to cultural differences.
Dream Job: I don’t have one specific job in mind, but I have interests in consultancy and entrepreneurship, but also academia and definitely diplomacy.
What can’t you live without? I couldn’t deal with an empty calendar. I would immediately start to search for something to do.

Let’s Get to It

How did you determine which school to attend for graduate school? Copenhagen Business School was actually a great match between a highly ranked university and the location in a big city. Same holds true as my main arguments why I chose Robert Smith School of Business. It enjoys a good ranking and is at the same time located close to Washington, D.C. the capital of the United States. How many more exciting cities are there in the world?

Have you earned any other graduate degrees? I studied my undergraduate degree in “International Management” in Germany, Indonesia and South Korea. The graduate degree I pursue at CBS is a Master of Science in International Business.

What are your plans once you graduate? I will travel within Asia for a couple of weeks and then start off a career in an international setting.

What are the main differences between UMD and the other schools you’ve attended? Of course, the fellow students in my program at UMD are older, as courses are on an MBA level. At the same time, all my courses at other universities were full semester courses, so there were no courses that lasted just a unit. Furthermore, participation in class does not count into the grade for the course and there are basically no midterms at least in the European universities I’ve attended. This means your whole grade is just based on the final exam. Debatable if that’s good or not. Personally, I prefer courses where the class participation counts into the grade, as it shows one’s effort and motivation for the subject.

Student Spotlight – Benjamin Leatherbury

Quickfire Questions

Name: Benjamin Leatherbury
Year: First
Campus: D.C. Evening
Company: United States Marine Corps
Title/Role: Captain, Headquarters Marine Corps C4 (Command, Control, Communications, & Computers)
Hometown: Indianapolis, IN
Current Town: Alexandria, VA
Alma Mater: Indiana University
Family/Pets: Wife – Melody, just married on 23 Sep of this year!
Favorite D.C. Area Restaurant: The Fish Market (Old Town, Alexandria) we had our rehearsal dinner here. I also love Filomena in Georgetown.
Favorite Baltimore/DC Area Tourist Destination: We love Great Falls!
Favorite Travel Destination: I have done quite a bit of travel for work and pleasure (I have two blank pages left in my passport) but I think the best trip I’ve taken was a two + week trip to Vietnam.
Favorite Book: This is hard to choose but the best recent books I have read are Cloud Atlas and The Kite Runner
Favorite Movie: Probably The Departed or maybe the first of second Godfather movie.
Favorite Song/Artist: I’m a huge Springsteen fan but right now I’m listening to a new artist called Cody Jinx.
Currently Binging on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon: Walking Dead!!
When I’m Not at Work or Class, You’ll Find Me: Hanging out with my wife, probably being dragged to a furniture store for the next piece for our new townhome.
Dream Job: Besides President of the United States?! My dream job would be starting my own business, that is the ultimate plan.
What’s your Guilty Pleasure? What can’t you live without? I can’t live without Saturday afternoon college football. It is a total waste of a weekend, but I can’t help it.

Let’s Get to It

How long have you been in the military and which branch do you serve?
I have been in the military for almost ten years. I joined the United States Marine Corps after college.

Why did you decide to go back to school for you MBA? I wanted to take the next step in my career and believe an MBA is the best graduate degree to prepare me for continued service in the Marine Corps and to give me the tools to transition out of the military successfully whenever that time comes.

Since you are active duty, will you be called to serve while in school? If so, how will that impact your journey to earning an MBA? I just came off a deployment to the Middle East earlier this year before moving to DC. I don’t think I’ll be going on another one soon, but there is always a chance. I was given notice that my name is on a short list for a possible deployment when I arrived to my current unit this summer, but nothing has materialized yet. If tapped for a deployment, I plan to stay engaged in my studies and take online classes while overseas. It would be frustrating to interrupt my classes and the current schedule, but I am determined to finish on time.

What skills from serving do you think carry over to earning your MBA? How have you used those skills so far? I think organizational and critical thinking skills have carried over, especially on some of the strategy and leadership classes we have taken this semester. The Marine Corps is very much a small unit and team focused environment, I believe that has allowed me to mesh well with my classmates and their diverse backgrounds with the in-class and team assignments.

How do you plan to use your MBA, once you graduate? I plan to test the job market and see what is available if I wanted to transition out of the military. I’m not 100 percent decided, but I love the DC area and would like to stay, if at all possible. I have a family now and am looking for more stability in my life. The Marines Corps has been very good to me though, it will be very hard to leave!

Student Spotlight – Kaustubh Anil Chabukswar

Quickfire Questions

Name: Kaustubh Anil Chabukswar
Year: Third
Campus:
Baltimore
Company: EMG
Title/Role: Program Manager Energy Sustainability & Capital Planning. I manage projects across the country helping our clients develop a long term capital plan for the built infrastructure while implementing green retrofits so as to reduce their carbon footprint over the years.
Hometown: Mumbai, India
Current Home: Baltimore
Alma Mater(s): University of Mumbai (Undergrad) & The George Washington University (Grad)
Family: Mother- Vice Principal at Pvt School in India & Dad – Retired Engineer
Favorite Baltimore/DC Area Tourist Destination: The Mall in DC
Favorite Travel Destination: Zion National Park
Favorite Book : Fierce Conversation
Favorite Movie: Blackhawk Down
Favorite Song: I’m Gonna Be (500 miles)
Favorite App: Twitter
Favorite Podcast: Freakonomics radio
Currently Binging on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon: Reruns of Mad Men & How I Met Your Mother
When I’m Not at Work or Class, You’ll Find Me: Out for a run along the Baltimore Harbor
Dream Job: Developing long-term sustainable, corporate strategies to address climate change
What’s your Guilty Pleasure? What can’t you live without? Macadamia nut cookies
If you could describe yourself in three words, what would they be? Energetic, Pragmatic, and Cautiously-Optimistic

Let’s Get to It

Tell us a little about your passions for engineering and finance? Did your passions influence your decision to earn an MBA degree? I graduated from GWU in 2009 with a MS in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, after which I soon learned that being successful in the technical sector means seeking continuous education, and keeping yourself up to date with new technology. As time progresses, one realizes that technical skills can only take you so far, and then you hit a plateau. In 2009, I started with EMG in the energy sustainability practice and over the last eight years, I have worked with numerous clients helping them reduce their carbon footprint across their portfolios. Having joined my firm at the depths of the recession, I could closely observe our executives tweak their strategies to pull us out of the downturn, growing it to three times the size in the last eight years. This influenced me greatly, to pursue a better understanding of business decisions. I consider myself fortunate to have great mentors at my workplace who have strengthened my belief for going back to school to get my MBA, which would open more doors in the world of management and strategy.

You are graduating soon, how will you use your MBA degree in the future? The Smith MBA, especially the case-based learning, has provided me a great insight into the world of finance, accounting and operations-strategy, which I hope to use to help organizations develop strategies to offset the risks posed by climate change and to transition over to lower carbon economies.

What did you think of your trip to Singapore and Japan earlier this year with Smith? What is your advice for other students looking to travel abroad with the MBA program? The study-abroad trip was great, especially the Singapore leg, where our interactions with the business leaders were fruitful. We all felt that we walked out of the room with something new. I would recommend learning about the country’s culture, their history, broad economic policies and their ways of doing business, don’t try to force western viewpoints of social structure and lifestyle or judge the country’s culture through your western lenses. A week-long trip spent primarily visiting tourist destinations and meeting company executives in a well-choreographed manner is too short to develop a sound opinion about a country. Enjoy the trip with your friends, see new places, experience the nightlife, meet new people and develop new contacts.

PS, It’s legal to drink and walk on the streets of Tokyo!

What is the greatest moment you’ve had while earning your MBA? Tough to point out any one moment, it has, in general, been a great experience, especially with the world-class professors that strive hard to help us understand the basics. If I must choose, it would be the “Deloitte Case Competition,” where our group pitched a three-prong strategy to effectively address Opioid Abuse. This topic was definitely out of our comfort zone and forced us to think out of the box, go out and interview people and synthesize the outcomes of our research into three effective steps. This was one project that allowed us to apply most of the skills that we learn in B-school.

Student Spotlight – Carl Comasco, Jr.

Quickfire Questions

Name: Carl Comasco, Jr.
Year: Third
Campus: All three!
Company: University of Maryland
Title/Role: Director of Military and Veteran Affairs
Hometown/Current Town: Harrisburg, PA / Columbia, MD
Alma Mater(s): Fordham University, Class of 2008
Family/Pets: Wife: Victoria; Sons: Carl James “CJ” III, Thomas Joseph “TJ”
& Rocco Brewster
Favorite DC Area Restaurant: I’m a huge pizza lover, so Matchbox on 8th Street is always nice. Closer to home I love the Victoria Gastro Pub and Stanford Grill in Columbia.
Favorite Baltimore/DC Area Tourist Destination: I enjoy many Sundays with my family strolling the streets of Historic Ellicott City. It is quite charming!
Favorite Travel Destination: Tough to pick… I’ve been fortunate to do a lot of traveling in the military. I do love Italy!
Favorite Book: Equally tough to pick… I enjoy history – Presidential biographies are always fascinating. I recently finished “His Excellency: George Washington”, which was enlightening.
Favorite Movie: Great Scott! This is a toss up between the 1985 classic, Back to the Future, and Apollo 13.
Favorite Song/Artist: The Eagles
Favorite App: A tie between CamScanner (pic to pdf) or Overdrive (free digital eBook/Audiobook library)
Favorite Podcast: Podcast??? I gotta get with the times. I’m a huge Audiobook listener. 
Currently Binging on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon: Just started and finished Game of Thrones – seasons 1-7…
When I’m Not at Work or Class, You’ll Find Me: Spending time with my boys or wearing a Navy uniform.
Dream Job: Vice Admiral – Chief of the Navy Reserve
What’s your Guilty Pleasure? What can’t you live without? Guilty Pleasure: Watching car restoration shows and I can’t live without – my wife…
If you could describe yourself in three words, what would they be? Kind, humble and driven.

Let’s Get to It

Tell us a little bit about your job? What is the most fascinating aspect? I work at the Smith School in the Office of Diversity Initiatives. I get to serve our community and, specifically, work closely with my peers and colleagues, Military Vets who are pursuing an MBA. It is a truly enjoyable job!

What is it like taking classes at all of the UMD campuses? Do you have a favorite? Each campus has its benefits. I enjoy the similar aesthetics that are found at each campus – they add a unifying feeling no matter where you study. I found Shady Grove to be particularly nice from a part-time standpoint. Living in Columbia, it is an easy drive across the ICC to get to class and the traffic is usually more agreeable than heading into DC or up to Baltimore.

How do you handle work and being a full-time student? The harder thing is to manage being a dad on top of these activities. I focus on my boys from the time I get home until we put them to bed. Then it’s usually back to the books. I’m much better in the mornings, so I typically wrap it up by 11pm and then get back at it around 5am.

How do you think your experiences serving in the military help you in your career and while earning your MBA? The military put me through environments that tested me to my upper limits. Coming to business school, I already had a good sense of what “maxxed out” feels like for me, so that helped me to continue pushing hard when the stress of class/work/Navy Reserve and family all seemed to be competing for my time and attention.

What does life look like for you after you graduate? When I graduate I plan to continue working at UMD!

Student Spotlight – Angela Granum

Quickfire Questions

Name: Angela Granum
Year: Third
Campus: Shady Grove
Company: Federal Drug Administration
Title/Role: Branch Chief, Budget Analysis and Formulation, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research
Hometown/Current Town: Casper, Wyoming
Alma Mater(s): University of Wyoming – Bachelor of Arts, International/Global Studies &  Georgetown University – Master of Arts, Latin American Studies
Family/Pets: Married to Jake of 10 years  and a dog named Jackson
Favorite DC Area Restaurant: Rasika Downtown
Favorite Baltimore/DC Area Tourist Destination: Annapolis for the day
Favorite Travel Destination: Central Europe specifically Austria
Favorite Book: Anything by Barbara Kingsolver
Favorite Movie: Practical Magic
Favorite Song/Artist: Garth Brooks, have seen him twice on tour
Currently Binging on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon: Sex in the City
When I’m Not at Work or Class, You’ll Find Me: I love the outdoors, so you could catch me kayaking, sailing, hiking or skiing, when I’m not working or studying.
Dream Job: Cupcake taster and ski bum while doing something where I’m learning and am having an impact
What’s your Guilty Pleasure? What can’t you live without? I have 20 magazine subscriptions, so I look forward to reading them on Saturdays before my husband wakes up. The magazines have to be hard copies; not electronic versions, but don’t worry, I recycle all of them!
If you could describe yourself in three words, what would they be? Open, Flexible and Practical

Let’s Get to It

What is your job like? I’ve worked at the FDA for four and half years and in my current position for one year. In my current position, I oversee a team that works on resource management tasks, so we prepare all budget requests; financial management aspects of user-fee programs; activity time reporting systems; and resource capacity function, which helps cut down on hiring time.

How do you relate the skills from your job to the MBA program? Since starting my MBA, I’ve been able to relate my work-related skills to many aspects of the program, including the application of frameworks to the government. But I’ve also been able to apply what I’ve learned from the program to my career, such as how data analytics can be applied to budgets to make them more specific. Also, the promotion I received midway through the program was, in part, due to the skills I gained from taking classes that helped me make decisions as a manager.

You are going to graduate soon, are there any lessons learned?

  • Don’t let school take over everything in your life; it is important to make time for the other things you enjoy.
  • Take advantage of the cool people you meet with diverse backgrounds.
  • Have unconditional positive regard for others.

How will you use your MBA, once you graduate? I will likely stay in the government because of my public service motivation, but I will definitely use the skills I’ve learned to drive positive change in how the government operates and help the FDA run as efficiently as possible.