Networking for Success

Jeffrey McKinney headshot

By Dr. Jeff McKinney

Many career and job search experts report that 70% of jobs paying over 100K are filled through referrals – or networking.  In addition, 80% of senior managers find that networking is crucial for a successful career.  Unfortunately most people do not fully develop and utilize their networks.

Networking means developing a broad and diverse list of contacts, including friends, co-workers, alumni from your school, people you meet at social and business functions, other potential MBA students – the list goes on and on.  People in your network are often able to give you advice, inform you about current openings, provide you opportunities for informational interviews, and introduce you to others. (Think of all the people in your current network and all the people they know!)

When most people hear the word networking, they often think of a cheesy walk around a business event waxing superficial with other attendees.  While that can be true, it does NOT have to be that way.  Find your authentic voice in the networking process by being yourself!  When networking, be authentic to your personality and communicate in ways that work for you.

Below are some tips as you begin to develop (or enhance) your current level of networking.

  • When you meet someone and request a business card, ALWAYS have a definitive next step to contact them. (Email next Monday or phone call on Friday?)
  • Have a strategy to keep in touch with people in your network.  For instance, invite them to coffee, lunch, etc., or send them an article or research paper that is relevant to their interests. Ask people for advice (If you were me…), offer to help people in your network, or send along a “what’s new message” (i.e. what is new in your world.)
  • In networking situations, be able to produce a business card in 2-3 seconds.
  • Always have an objective at a networking event. (e.g. I want to meet 5 people, set 3 meetings, and help others.)
  • Schedule time every week to engage in networking activities. (Add it your calendar.)  This provides a disciplined approach and ensures that you are networking every week.
  • Develop a database to track your contacts, conversations, and items that require follow-up.
  • Be sure to engage in peer-to-peer networking.
  • Always have your key messages ready.  Be able to talk about yourself and your interests.
  • Follow up within 1 week after meeting someone that you want to stay in touch with.
  • ALWAYS provide a thank you note when appropriate. (Handwritten notes can add a nice touch.)

Jeff McKinney is a Career Coach for the PTMBA program at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at The University of Maryland. 

PTMBAA State of the Union 2015-2016

Jose Vides headshot

Hello Fellow Terps!


The fall semester has officially commenced. I hope you were able to enjoy your summer. For all returning students, please join me, and the rest of board, in welcoming the incoming class! I had the privilege of meeting each cohort at orientation and have already seen some of them at PTMBAA events. First-year students, this is your Smith network so don’t be shy about introducing yourself!


As you may know, the Part-Time MBA Association’s purpose is to enrich the part-time MBA student experience by providing leadership that empowers and inspires, advocates on behalf of student interests, and coordinates student activities. The 2015 – 2016 Board, and committees, have been working tirelessly over the summer to enhance your overall Smith experience this academic year.


The VPs of Outreach – Steve Flaherty (Baltimore), Andrea Wood (DC) and Scott Graham (Shady Grove) have been working with the Track Representatives at their corresponding campus to plan events (e.g., tailgates, happy hours) and new initiatives (e.g., Mentor/Mentee Program) that will benefit the entire community.


Robbie Squibb, VP of Community Development, and his committee, held the first community service event of the year in mid-August, and assisted MPO in planning and executing a successful orientation.


Saad Irfan, VP of Professional Development, has been working with OCS to host workshops to give all of us the opportunity to prepare for upcoming MBA career conferences and expos.


Tanasha Dalton, VP of Special Events, and her committee, have planned successful Happy Hours and, most recently, the Smith Sunset Cruise. Over 140 alumni, Smith students (Executive, full-time, and MS) and friends attended the cruise.


Michelle Gallagher, VP of Marketing and Communications, and her committee, have done an awesome job of revamping the newsletter to keep you abreast of events and topics of benefit to the community. A PTMBAA video was produced over the summer, in time for orientation, as an introduction of the board members to the incoming class. Big props to Kenny Pankey, Director of Creative Content on the M&C Committee, for all the hours he committed to this introductory video.


Luis Arias, VP of Finance, has been working behind the scenes to create sound budgets for all upcoming events and supporting board members.


Nedgie Metellus, Executive Secretary, ensures our meetings take place, our action items are tracked, and minutes are taken and distributed. She is also helping the rest of the board with the various initiatives and programs we will be offering you this year.


As for me, I just wave, smile, and kiss babies. Ha! I kid! I’ve been working inside and outside the Smith community to provide additional networking opportunities and address concerns. I’ve been in contact throughout the summer with the faculty, full-time, EMBA, MS, and PhD board members to collaborate on various topics and issues of interest to the part-time MBA community. I’ve also been in contact with presidents of student governments at local universities, such as Johns Hopkins, Georgetown and George Washington University to promote the idea of area networking events between Smith and other graduate programs. In addition, the PTMBAA has partnered with the Professional Communications Club (PCC) to establish a Smith Toastmasters Chapter. To keep last year’s board initiative alive, the PTMBAA will soon launch a line of Smith gear for purchase — stay tuned.


There’s so much more to share, but I will spare you until next time!


Please feel free to reach out to any of us on the board with questions, issues, concerns or ideas that may be of interest to the Smith community.


We look forward to working with you this year to create an even better Smith experience!




Jose Vides

2015-2016 President, PTMBAA

2014 – 2015 PTMBAA Board: Year in Review

Lucas Horne, 2014 -2015 PTMBAA President
Lucas Horne
2014 -2015 PTMBAA President

Dear Part Time MBA Students,

At the end of my tenure as your Part Time MBA President I wanted to give an update to the goals we set forth at the beginning of our term here.  I attempted to make this short, but failed miserably, so I’ll apologize up front for that.  It’s hard to be brief given everything our team has done this year, as it truly has been a great year with a lot of PTMBAA firsts.

In our collaboration with the Full-Time MBA Association we have taken a couple important steps.  In our mind one of the most important is that our team has led the effort to make Monte Carlo the cornerstone Smith master’s program social event of the year.  The effort paid off in spades as the attendees included EMBA, PTMBA, FTMBA, MS students and alumni from each program.  We also welcomed the Dean and many faculty and staff to the event, creating the most diverse social event that Smith has planned in years.

We have also established a precedent that FTMBA clubs should have at least one member on their board in order to receive PTMBAA funds.  This step was taken to ensure that clubs start networking with the PT community more in order to open the door to those resources for us.  I believe this effort will grow in the years to come, resulting in much greater opportunities for PTMBA students.

Our team has far surpassed what I thought possible in supporting me with our goals throughout the year, but they’ve all had great achievements of their own.  Rahul Shah has led 6 community service events, the most impressive of which was a competitive clothing drive which resulted in 550 winter garments for those in need.  Megan Allums has planned not only the first but also the second PTMBAA Golf Tournament, pairing PTMBA students with alumni, EMBA, and Smith Staff.  Winstonn Tubbs, despite graduating in winter, has consistently solicited feedback from students to improve the PTMBA communications ensuring students always receive the most relevant content.  He really did an amazing job revising the weekly emails and newsletters to make them cleaner and more visually appealing while actually packing in more pertinent information for the students.  His efforts were even recently recognized by the Dean, as they’ve requested to have a regular column in the newsletter to provide more information directly to us, so keep an eye out for that (and thank Winstonn)!

Lisa Derr has also contributed significantly in a way that I’m sure many of you appreciated.  She’s started a regular happy hour in DC to welcome us back to new terms, allowing us to let off some steam at Penn Social while networking with other students and even alumni that have showed up.  Scott Graham, in addition to his role as VP of Finance, actually spearheaded some awesome events including Smith @ the Park and the Boat Cruise.  You can also thank Scott for all the new Testudo’s on the campuses.  He worked with MPO for almost the entire year in order to help us feel like we’re part of the Terp community as we come in to class.  In fact, Scott loved the extra work so much he’s coming back for a second round as the new VP of Outreach for Shady Grove!  Drew Smith has also done a great job keeping Baltimore engaged, even going so far as to schedule a limo for students to come down to DC Monte Carlo.

I’m also proud of our team for collaborating so well on some joint events.  Patrick Yu, Megan, and Lisa did a great job planning the first Holiday Party to bring students from multiple campuses together before the holidays.  They really pulled off a great event despite budgetary constraints, hats off to them for that!

Last, but absolutely not least, I think Rembe Rodriguez has been an integral part of our team.  Not only has he helped me stay on track most of the year (not an easy feat in and of itself), he’s collaborated on most of the events throughout the year.  He’s even planned tailgates which he couldn’t attend.  I think our whole team would like to thank Rembe for his contributions throughout the year.

Throughout the year many of you have approached me to chat and many times “Hey” was preceded by “When are we getting our shirts?” with a tone I can only liken to Joffrey, from GoT.  Well, as often happens with temporary positions, at the very end of our tenure I’d like to announce that I’ve finally delivered on our campaign promise (the same cannot be said for Joffrey, I’m afraid).  With a huge amount of help from Rembe and Winstonn, we’ve opened a temporary site for PTMBA Donations that will, in return for your donation (and a small additional fee), provide students with apparel printed or embroidered with a casual Smith logo.  I hope you all order enough to last a long time, as we’re not sure when we’ll see the likes of it again!

I really do think we’ve accomplished a lot over this past year, and I want to thank all of you for providing me and our team the ability to serve on the PTMBAA board.  I would also like to thank all of you that served on PTMBAA committees, as I know many of you provided an unmeasurable amount of value to us all.  I’m hoping that the strides we have made will serve as building blocks for future boards and in time create a stronger and more united Smith MBA program.

Lucas Horne is the 2014-2015 President of the PTMBAA and a 2015 MBA Candidate. After graduating from Lynchburg College in 2009, Lucas began working for Freddie Mac as an accountant. In this role Lucas developed and led multiple initiatives, including the deployment of a $.6 million+ new software development project and the development and implementation of two corporate-wide leadership development programs. Lucas also led a $7 million+ financial software upgrade before transitioning into a new role as a Systems Analyst where he leads multiple pieces of a $10 million+ software upgrade. In his spare time Lucas enjoys exercising and relaxing with his friends.

Electives: How to Choose Them

procBy Dr. Paulo Prochno, Clinical Professor, Department of Management and Organization

One of the strengths of the Smith School’s MBA program is our wide choice of elective courses. Among so many interesting options, it’s important to take a more strategic approach when choosing which courses to take. I bring here a few tips to help you in that process:

  1. Choosing between breadth and depth: one of the benefits of an MBA is the ability to develop a broad view about business. At the same time, your career prospects are enhanced if you know deeply about one area. The good news is that you can do both: you should choose one vertical and go really deep into that area, but at the same time take electives in other areas that will give you a broad strategic view about management. So my suggestion is: don’t try to go for depth in more than one area, so you can have enough credits to go for breadth as well. A balance of hard and soft skills is very important to make you a better professional.
  2. Asking for advice: ask your peers and faculty primarily about course content, so you can make a decision based on whether the content fits your desired career plans. Faculty teaching the core courses are a great resource to help you choose specific electives in their areas; PT MBA faculty directors can give you broader advice on how to approach the electives choice based on your career objectives, and can also direct more specific requests to other faculty.
  3. Increase your network: most participants in the PT program will remain in the area throughout their careers. Your years as an MBA student are a great opportunity to enhance your local network, so it makes a lot of sense to take at least one course in a different location. The extra commuting time is a small investment compared to the benefits of a broader network!

2015 Winter Study Abroad

By Lauren Beilin, Program Manager, Office of Global Initiatives

During winter break of 2015 the Robert H. Smith School of Business will be sending over 100 full-time and part-time MBA students on global business programs led by Smith faculty to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Santiago, Chile, and to Singapore and Tokyo. By participating in a short-term program abroad, students will be able to apply discipline-based knowledge acquired in the classroom to solve real-world problems faced by companies in a global business environment. The faculty-led short-term Global Business Programs are a 4-credit Smith Experience course series that are open to all 2nd year full-time and part-time MBA students. These programs include:

  • On-campus courses that prepare students pre-departure and upon re-entry
  • On-site company visits
  • On-site applied learning that will help students to immerse themselves into the host culture both within and outside of the business realm
  • Opportunities to collaborate effectively with people in or from a different cultural environment, specifically in negotiation, conflict resolution, management, and teamwork.

The short-term global business programs each have a different academic focus and travel to a wide variety of destinations. Students choose programs based on opportunities to develop expertise in their field of interest and based on the opportunity to network with colleagues, faculty and international company executives in their field. Also during the travel component of the program, through experiential and applied learning, students will have opportunities to immerse themselves into the host culture – for example by taking a cooking class to learn about local cuisine, participating in a service-learning project, or doing micro consulting with local students in the host city. Each Spring the Office of Global Initiatives announces the new program topics and destinations, which are subject to change each year.

Where are students going this Winter break?

Santiago, Chile – led by Professor Bennet Zelner with a focus on Chilean companies and their domestic and global expansion strategies.                                                                     Highlight: Visit to Kingston Vineyard where students will discuss export and marketing strategy for an entrepreneurial vineyard.

United Arab Emirates – led by Professor Hassan Ibrahim with a focus on mega-project management in the Middle East.                                                                                                     Highlight: Visit to the Ministry of International Cooperation and Development and the large real estate developer in Dubai, Nakheel Properties.

Singapore & Japan – led by Professor Martin Dresner with a focus on examining the similarities, strengths, and potential trouble spots for both Singapore and Japan’s economies.                                                                                                                                               Highlight: Visit the Singapore Stock Exchange and alongside MBA students from Waseda University in Tokyo, a visit to Walmart Japan. For more information visit the Office of Global Initiatives website. For questions please contact Lauren Beilin, Program Manager, at

PTMBAA Warm Clothing Drive Recap

  #1 Shady Grove Campus                                           #2 Baltimore Campus

By Rahul Shah, VP of Community Development

This past November, the PTMBAA held a Warm Clothing Drive at all three satellite campuses. The objective was to collect warm clothes that would go on to benefit local families in need this winter. To make the donation drive more exciting, it was structured as a friendly competition among the cohorts! Each cohort had their own donation bin at their home campus. The cohort with the highest overall level of donations would be awarded $250 to their cohort budget, while the “Most Generous Cohort”, with highest average donations per student, would be awarded $100.

This initiative was a HUGE success and students contributed over 525 warm clothing items! This came out to 155 donations from DC, 180 from Baltimore and 190 from Shady Grove. Donation items included heavy winter jackets, light jackets, sweaters, blankets, gloves, hats scarves and more. These donations will no doubt go to those in need warm this winter, and more winters to come. Just think about how many hundreds of families will be more comfortable due to our student’s generosity.

Despite their size of only 29 students, the 1st Year Shady Grove cohort raised the most with a total of 119 donations! They also had the highest average donations, with 4.1 per student, and ended up sweeping the competition.

Due to the overwhelming participation, donations will be distributed to three wonderful organizations in order to hit the streets as quickly as possible – A Wider Circle, Community Touch, Inc. and Victory Outreach. All of these organizations have a proven track record of serving underserved communities all over Maryland, DC and Northern Virginia. The PTMBAA will also be holding a community service event with A Wider Circle this January so that students can witness first hand how their donations are utilized.

The PTMBAA would like to thank all students, track reps and MPO staff for their support, participation and leadership throughout the competition.

Top 5 Cohorts! (Overall donations)

  1. Shady Grove 1st Year – 119 donations
  2. Baltimore 2nd Year – 94 donations
  3. Baltimore 1st Year – 78 donations
  4. DC M/W 1st Year – 38 donations
  5. Shady Grove 3rd Year – 37 donations

Top 5 Most Generous Cohorts!

  1. Shady Grove 1st Year – 4.1 donations per student
  2. Baltimore 1st Year – 1.39 donations per student
  3. Baltimore 2nd Year – 1.32 donations per student
  4. DC Saturday 2nd Year – 1.08 donations per student
  5. Shady Grove 3rd Year – 0.77 donations per student


The Global Equity Fund goes to NYC

By Rahul Shah, VP of Community Development

On Thursday, November 6th, the Global Equity Fund made their annual trip to New York City. The Global Equity Fund is a student-run investment fund made up of 20 PT MBA and MFin students. For school credit, students manage $500,000 from the university’s endowment, investing in Global Equity ADR’s. We research companies, build valuation models and pitch investment opportunities to the team. The objective of the New York City trip was to meet with Asset Managers and other practitioners in the field of investments. It was a great learning experience that all members benefited from.

Taking an early train from Union Station, our first meeting was at BlackRock, the world’s largest investment firm. Students met with the Global Head of Event Driven Equity Strategies, Mark McKenna. This new division of BlackRock focuses on global events including M&A arbitrage, divestitures and management changes to lock in a profit. Mr. McKenna shared a presentation highlighting the investment strategy, historical returns and examples in practice that was very educational. We also discussed his professional career, starting as a Nuclear Engineer, and how his path led him to where he is today.

The next day, students woke up early and went to the New York Stock Exchange for the opening bell. We first met with John Tuttle, NYSE Head of Corporate Affairs, and learned about the history of the exchange. I was amazed to learn about how operations, the building and surrounding area had evolved since their inception in 1817. After the opening bell, students had the opportunity to speak with different market makers on the floor of the exchange. The market maker we spoke to explained her functioning role in the NYSE, how she carries out her tasks, and different challenges in her position. Having been on the floor for 20 years, she witnessed a lot – the rise of technology, multiple crashes, and a work force that went from 5,000 on the floor to less than 500.

After leaving the NYSE, students went to Annaly Capital Management, the largest Mortgage Real Estate Investment Trust firm in the world. We first received a presentation on this specific type of investment firm, learned about the mortgage securitization process and other aspects of the industry. We then met with multiple employees, including their Capital Markets Manager, Portfolio Manager, Head of MBS Trading and Chief Technology Officer. It was very interesting to get such a broad perspective on their operations. We were also able to ask questions and received great tips on how to advance our professional careers in investments.

Overall, it was a very educational weekend. I met with top practitioners in the field, built a stronger relationship with my fellow Global Equity Fund members and enjoyed a wonderful weekend in New York City. It was great to see the knowledge from my coursework applied at such high levels of strategy and investments, and I feel very fortunate to be a part of this experiential learning opportunity.

Smith PT MBA Students Volunteer with the Girl Scouts of America

By Holly Smith, Community Development Committee

On Sunday, November 9th, 2014, a group of part-time MBA students and I gathered in Millersville, Maryland. We were volunteering with two Girl Scout troops, consisting of thirty 4th grade girls. The objective was to teach them basic financial skills to become knowledgeable, confident, and self-reliant consumers and business leaders. The Girl Scouts of America is a non-profit organization that fosters courage, confidence, and character in young women who strive to make the world a better place. I had the pleasure, along with two fellow part-time MBA students, Jill Alarcon and Lauren Jayne, of organizing the event in coordination with the PTMBAA Community Development Committee.

The event began by welcoming the Girl Scouts, and reciting the Girl Scout Promise. All of the volunteers then introduced themselves to the group; part-time MBA student volunteers Erica Pitkow and Caitlin Bender explained to the Girl Scouts what a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) is and why it is important to them. It was important for us to explain to the Girl Scouts the importance of education and the possibilities education can bring them in the future.

After the introductions, Girl Scouts were split into three groups of ten, and each group was led by two to three volunteers. The event consisted of five different activities that were designed so the Girl Scouts would better understand the difference between a need and a want, to identify what triggers their wants, and to develop a savings plan. After each activity, the volunteers rotated to a different table so they would each get a chance to work with every group. The most popular activity by far was the blind taste test, in which the Girl Scouts blind taste tested name brand and store brand apple juice and wheat crackers. It was interesting to see that a lot of the girls preferred the store brand food items. We thus discussed with them the tradeoffs for purchasing brand name versus store brand items.

Once all five activities were completed, we brought the energetic Girl Scouts together as one big group to discuss what they learned that day. One Girl Scout commented, “The most important thing I learned today was that you should be careful of what you should shop for and [sic] some stores are more expensive than others”. Another Girl Scout added, “I learned that making a savings plan is important”. What made the experience truly rewarding was seeing the excited looks on the Girl Scouts’ faces, and hearing positive feedback from the troop leaders. “We had so much fun,” two Girls Scouts told me. The feeling was mutual, not just for me, but for all the volunteers who contributed their time to help such a great organization developing our future leaders.


The PTMBAA Community Development Committee along with Holly Smith, Jill Alarcon, and Lauren Jayne owe special thanks to all the students and their friends and families who volunteered their time at this event.  Student volunteers included Erica Pitkow, Caitlin Bender, and Anusha Nallapati. 

Holly Smith is a third-year part-time MBA student at the Baltimore campus. She currently works as a Contracting Specialist for the Department of Defense. In her spare time, she enjoys playing and coaching volleyball, spending time with family and friends, and traveling.



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

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.