Student Spotlight – Benjamin Leatherbury

Quickfire Questions

Name: Benjamin Leatherbury
Year: First
Campus: DC 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
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.

The PTMBAA Fun Fund

Luis Arias headshot

By Luis Arias, 2015-2016 VP of Finance, PTMBAA

Brunchin In Baltimore
Brunchin’ In Baltimore

As VP of Finance for UMD’s Part-Time MBA Association, I am responsible for managing the association’s funds by ensuring they get used responsibly. After all, the association receives its funding from you, the students!

Each semester, all Part-Time MBA students pay $75 to the association which is included in your tuition billing statement. The association uses these funds to organize many events and activities (such as the annual Sunset Cruise, professional headshots and PTMBAA Holiday Party) for the part-time community. The benefits of scale that we receive from collectively using the community’s funds allow us to hold these events at a lower cost to students.

The Holiday Party and Sunset Cruise are our two signature events made possible by pooling the community’s fees into one common fund. These large scale events would not be possible without your contribution.

DC headshots
DC Headshots & Networking

Other examples are the professional headshot events (held on each PT campus) where the cost to each student is $30. Similar services for an individual can cost around 10 times as much. The PTMBAA spring and fall golf tournaments allow current students and guests to enjoy a day of golf and refreshments at the UMD golf course at a cost lower than if they were to attend on their own.

The association also uses the funds to plan events in order to promote networking within the Smith community (part-time, full-time, online and EMBA) and with other business schools in the area. The track reps for your cohorts receive a yearly budget from the association to organize events for their respective cohort. Lastly, the PTMBAA works closely with the Full-Time MBAA and provides funding for school-wide events (tailgates, Monte Carlo, clubs, etc.) that are of value and accessible to part-time students.

In closing, I hope that you partake in many more PTMBAA events so that you may see the benefits of your contribution. The PTMBAA is continuously looking for input on the events we organize – your feedback and suggestions are greatly appreciated!

My final act as a PTMBA student: A Low-carbon case competition at Yale

Shola Akinmeji headshot

By Shola Akinmeji

I remember my excitement after I discovered a class titled “Sustainability & Investing” was offered this fall. It was the first finance course that allowed me to apply my Sustainable Energy Engineering background. The class did not disappoint as it was taught from a finance and natural resources perspective. Despite the atypical subject, the consensus among fellow students was very positive. We learned a lot and left the class yearning to test our newfound knowledge in the freshly pioneered space that exists between making money and social justice. We got the opportunity when when one of our classmates, Jun, suggested we enter a Low-Carbon Portfolio Case Competition hosted by Yale University on behalf of Commonfund. The case competition tasked contestants with building a socially responsible portfolio that provided investment opportunities to utility endowments.

Group ShotAt first, I was reluctant to join the team because it only prolonged my long awaited celebratory relief for completing my MBA. However, once Jun secured an angel investor who offered to cover all of our application fees, I signed up with the knowledge that this would be my final act as a PTMBA student. Jun assembled a strong, but balanced team of full-time and part-time students. Our group was rounded out by my fellow PTMBA buddies, Jeff Schwartz and Saad Irfan, and Eric Chen, a full-time MBA student. We entered the contest with our eye on the $10,000 prize money.

We only had 15 days to work on the case. Working around our schedules proved to be very challenging due to our competing professional and school schedules. Jeff and I had both finished the program but we travelled a lot for work, Eric and Jun were in the full-time program with a heavy course load, and Saad was still in the part time program and working full-time. We worked around our schedules by using Google Hangout to host meetings during odd hours.

image1Our group had a unique advantage over other groups as it was comprised of experts in sustainability, corporate finance, private equity, and policy. Thanks to the diversity of skill-sets in our group, we developed a strong response to the case and a solid portfolio. We tested our portfolio against multiple outcomes through scenario analysis and developed strong metrics for measuring our impact.

Sadly, our presentation and well thought of responses to questions weren’t good enough to satisfy the two judges. I wonder if the fact that we went up against a Yale team in the first round had something to do with it. Perhaps I should also mention that both judges were Yale alumni and Yale adjunct professors…

Controversy aside, we had a great time working on this case. It brought our group together and created the perfect opportunity to apply what we learned in class to provide a solution to a major problem of our time.

Shola Akinmeji is a Part-time MBA student with a Corporate Finance concentration graduating in December 2015. He holds a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering degree from Morgan State University and a Masters of Engineering in Sustainable Energy Engineering from the University of Maryland. He leads a team of engineers and energy consultants in Booz Allen Hamilton’s Energy Consulting Business. He aspires to develop energy projects in developing countries, with particular interest in his home country of Nigeria. In his free time, he is an adrenaline junkie and Netflix binger. 

Our First Six Months!

Wow. The PTMBAA Board has realized that we’re already half-way through our tenure – and yet it feels like we’ve only just begun.

When we campaigned in April we made several promises to the PT community, including increased student engagement through professional and social events, paying it forward to the DMV community, and growing and strengthening connections within the Smith School and industry partners.

The 2015 Smith School Business Summit at the Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards, in Baltimore MD, photographed for the University of Maryland, 13 November 2015.
Smith School Business Summit

So far, we’ve sponsored several professional events including headshots, a golf tournament, a salary negotiations workshop and the Smith School Business Summit. We’re working more closely than ever with the Office of Career Services (OCS) to deliver value-added events tailored towards working professionals. And the PT community is not just attending – we’re also being actively recruited by OCS to help run these events. A case in point is the inaugural session of: Marketing & Finance Super Day: It’s All About the Markets. (Volunteers still needed!)

Every month the PTMBAA has showcased an opportunity to give back to the community. We’re proud to have provided worthwhile opportunities such as the Lucky Dog Adoption Event and this month’s Movember Fundraiser.

151121 B-school HH
DC Business Schools HH

This year we’ve instituted monthly happy hours – much to the delight of our community and other Smith students in the EMBA, OMBA, FTMBA and Masters programs. These have provided a wonderful opportunity to welcome incoming PT students and for us to connect with other area business schools. The DC Business Schools happy hour event on November 21st sold out a week beforehand!

In addition to happy hours, we’ve been bringing other events to all three campuses including tailgates, brunches and wine tastings. Our Holiday Party received an overwhelming response – with tickets selling out a month before the event!

DC Track Rep Dinner
DC Track Reps Dinner

Behind the scenes, the PTMBAA has been working hard to increase involvement and engagement within our student community. We’re actively meeting with Track Reps and working with our Committee Members to plan and execute events of interest to PT students. (It’s never too late to join a committee!)

As we wrap up our first six months we look forward to bringing you more worthwhile events in order to improve your professional skills – yet have some fun too! Here’s a sneak peek:

  • 14th Annual Monte Carlo Gala
  • Nationals Baseball Game
  • Brunchin’ In DC
  • Headshots in Baltimore
  • And more!

There are more ways than ever to get involved – and have fun! – in the Smith PT community. We hope to see you at a future event!

Smith Women in Business: Always Negotiate

jsg- headshot

By Jessica Gershuny

As the Director of Women’s Initiatives for the PTMBAA, I think a lot about the skills that women must use to succeed in the classroom and the boardroom. From a candid conversation had over champagne last spring to a toastmaster-style public speaking workshop, Smith Women in Business events have brought together part-time students to discuss gender-related challenges and to strengthen core business skills. Our most recent event, the Power of Negotiating with Kim Keating, took place at the DC campus on September 30th.

The ability and willingness to negotiate for salary or professional advancement is a critical, yet often underdeveloped, skill set. Studies have shown that fewer than 50% of job candidates negotiate for salary, and women are 30% less likely to negotiate than men. So how do MBA candidates empower each other to know their worth and not leave money on the table? Further, how do we leverage our B-School experience to ask for that raise or promotion before graduation day?

Jess with Kim Keating

Kim Keating, CEO & Founder of Keating Associates is an expert in salary negotiations and committed to helping women identify their value and get paid their worth. Kicking off the workshop, Kim addressed the fears we face when choosing to negotiate and key action steps to take before entering a negotiation in order to maximize your financial gain. She emphasized the importance of conducting salary market research and developing a BATNA (Best Alternative To A Negotiated Agreement). These steps allow women to make informed decisions at the negotiating table and know when to walk away.

Key Takeaways

  1. Do your homework and know the market rates before getting to the table.
  2. Silence is golden and can be a powerful negotiating tool. Don’t be afraid to pause.
  3. Ask data-driven questions during the interview process, and request sources for the interviewer’s salary quotes.
  4. Make an informed decision. Understand your BATNA as it relates to the full compensation package. Prioritize your ‘must haves’, ‘great to haves’ and ‘nice but not necessary to haves’. Know when to walk away.
power poses - smith
Power poses!

At the end of the event, the workshop attendees took an oath that we will never take the first offer (no matter how awesome it is) ever again. This measure will ensure that we hold each other accountable and support each other throughout our career negotiations.

I am grateful for the women in our cohort, including Michelle Gallagher, for making this event a reality. Although the worth of many things in life can be negotiated, you simply can’t put a price on you very own network of capable, collaborative businesswomen. #knowyourworth #getpaid

Jessica Gershuny is the Director of Women’s Initiatives for the Part-Time MBA Association. Her focus at Smith is Human Capital and Organizational Behavior. She highly recommends the Smith elective: Collaborative and Competitive Negotiation. In her day-job, Jessica is a certified federal and graduate school career coach with over five years’ experience in talent acquisition and coaching. She is passionate about women’s empowerment in and out of the workplace. Find her on LinkedIn.


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