Student Spotlight – Myisha Gatson

Quickfire Questions

Name: Myisha Gatson
Year: First
Campus: DC Weekend
Company: EngineBlox and Pearl LTC Solutions
Title/Role: Managing Director (EngineBlox) and President & CEO (Pearl LTC Solutions)
Hometown/Current Town: Stockton, CA/Purcellville, VA
Alma Mater(s): Stanford University & New York University (Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service)
Favorite D.C. Area Restaurant: Dukem Ethiopian Restaurant
Favorite Baltimore/D.C. Area Tourist Destination: Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture
Favorite Travel Destination: Bora Bora (I haven’t been yet, but it is at the top of my list!)
Favorite Book: The System
Favorite Movie: It used to be The Color Purple, but now it’s Black Panther
Favorite Song/Artist: I have to choose one?! My top five are Jill Scott, Rachelle Farrell, Amel Larrieux, Ledisi and Bilal.
Currently Binging on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon: This is Us, Stranger Things
Dream Job: Philanthropist, Investor and Entrepreneur
Favorite Podcast: This week in Startups, PulseCheck, Joel Osteen, Oprah Super Soul Conversations
What’s your Guilty Pleasure? What can’t you live without? Wine (shipped directly to me from Napa!); I can’t live without my family #TeamGatson all the way!

Let’s Get to It

Why did you decide to earn an MBA? How did you decide Smith was the right place to earn your MBA? Let’s face it – a graduate degree is a signal to the market about your qualifications. Because all of my studies were focused on non-profit management and policy, I felt I had a disadvantage switching into the business world although my skill sets are applicable. There were also concepts I wanted to understand like financial markets, investments and business valuations that an MPA did not teach me. I knew that as a mother of two small kids, there was no way I could go into a full-time program and I was drawn to the variety of options available through the UMD program – nights, weekends, and in a variety of locations – so I took the big leap and applied. Smith was the only school I applied to. My prayer was that if this was the right move for me that God would open the door and he did!

You already have one master’s degree. What did you earn it in? How will you use it with your MBA? My first graduate degree is a Masters in Public Administration in Health Policy and Administration. While there is some overlap, I think the degrees complement each other well in that I will have a balance between knowing policy, non-profit management and now business management. I am in the process of building a long-term care company so the mix of the two degrees is already working as I establish my business in the health care sector.

Earning an MBA is pretty time intensive, how have you managed the workload with raising a family?  The only way I can do it is with the full support of my husband and kids. My husband leans in when I need the time to study or go to class and my kids understand that when mommy has homework or needs to go to school they might not see me, but I always make it up to them later. 🙂

What has been your favorite class since starting your MBA last year? Why? My favorite class so far has been the marketing management class, even though it was a lot of work, the material we learned was easily applied in real time. I had a group that agreed to use my business for our final project, which helped me gain extra clarity in how to distill my complex product down to its bare bones for marketing purposes.

What do you like best about the DC Weekend cohort? We have a small cohort, which means it is easy to get to know my classmates. I think we are a pretty tight knit group that I hope will stay in contact well beyond our time.

Student Spotlight – Josh Hinshaw

Quickfire Questions

Name: Josh Hinshaw
Year: Second
Campus: Baltimore
Company: TE SubCom
Title/Role: Manager, Fleet Operations
Hometown/Current Town:  Cleveland, Ohio/Annapolis, Maryland
Alma Mater: U.S. Naval Academy
Favorite Baltimore Area Restaurant: HomeSlyce (Federal Hill location) for Thursday $5 sandwiches, but my actual favorite restaurant is Boatyard Bar and Grill in Annapolis (Eastport).
Favorite Baltimore/D.C. Area Tourist Destination: Anywhere on the Chesapeake Bay sounds good to me!
Favorite Travel Destination: Argentina
Favorite Book: All of Malcolm Gladwell’s books…
Favorite Movie: Christmas Vacation
Favorite Song/Artist: Band: Journey
Favorite Podcast: NPR’s All Things Considered
Currently Binging on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon: The Crown
Dream Job: Run an offshore (sailing) experiential small unit leadership development program
What’s your Guilty Pleasure? What can’t you live without? Coffee

Let’s Get to It

You are a Fleet Operations Manager for TE SubCom. Can you tell us about your day-to-day job and how you decided to take on that role? My day-to-day job is to manage the movement of our fleet of cable ships, and ensure all necessary maritime arrangements have been made and considered for each port call and region of operation. I work with numerous support elements within our company to include project coordination, port engineering, logistics, procurement, staffing and numerous other departments in support of vessel operations. My favorite part of the job however is improving operational processes, policies and procedures. The role was a nice fit given my previous experience as a Surface Warfare Officer in the Navy, and I feel very blessed to have my position at TE SubCom.

Were there aspects of your current job you were looking to further by earning an MBA or are you hoping to change career paths? Essentially, how will you use your degree, once you graduate? My decision to earn an MBA was mainly driven by my transition out of active duty military and into my current job. Although I am very thankful for the leadership lessons, world travel and unique life experiences the Navy afforded, I found myself lacking formal training in accounting, finance, marketing and other core business competencies that would help me excel in my new career. My company’s main source of revenue is generated by designing, manufacturing, installing and maintaining transoceanic fiber-optic cable systems. Our core courses along with negotiations, project management and strategy electives have already helped me communicate more effectively with senior management.

Do you feel that your work experience has helped you excel in the MBA program? If so, how? I absolutely feel that my work experience has helped me succeed in the program. My previous job prepared me to excel in groups while leveraging and learning from the talents of others. My current job has given me the ability to apply and re-affirm the lessons I’m learning on an almost daily basis.

You are also a new father! How have you learned to manage your time with school, work and a new addition to your family? What advice do you have for your classmates? I am, and I couldn’t be happier! Haha how have I learned to manage time with school, work, and a new addition to my family?…well you just do it. I’d be lying if I said I was getting great sleep or have figured out how to manage my time better. Time with family has just become that much sweeter. As for advice, if you are going to school to better support your family in the future, well then there’s your motivation. That said it’s more than okay to get distracted by a little one every once in a while. Don’t lose sight of what’s important…

What is your favorite memory from graduate school, so far? Hmm that’s a good one. So many fond memories from our cohort. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the Pepsi Challenge we conducted where we could see through the tape on the cans. Bless his heart, but our professor (whose identity will be spared) was so impressed with our taste buds…

Student Spotlight – Josh Brickman


Quickfire Questions

Name: Josh Brickman
Year: Second
Campus: Baltimore
Company: Under Armour
Title/Role: Manager, Data Engineering
Hometown/Current Town:  Annapolis and Baltimore, Maryland
Alma Mater: University of Maryland
Family/Pets: I have two older sisters, and currently live with my fiancee (Liz) and our rescue pitbull (Sheldon)
Favorite Baltimore Area Restaurant: I’m allergic to onions and garlic, so restaurants are tough for me…any good steak joint is a win
Favorite Baltimore/D.C. Area Tourist Destination: Camden Yards
Favorite Travel Destination: I went to South Africa for my study abroad, and that was amazing. My honeymoon will be in Thailand, so that may take the top spot.
Favorite Book: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
Favorite Movie: Snatch
Favorite Song/Artist: My musical taste is similar to a middle schooler, currently a big fan of Havana…
Favorite Podcast: Serial (Season 1, of course)
Currently Binging on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon:
The Path
Dream Job: Travel blogger (without the blog though…)
What’s your Guilty Pleasure? What can’t you live without? Old Bay

Let’s Get to It

Have you always been interested in information technology or is it an industry you became interested in later in life? What interests you about IT? I’ve always been a numbers guy, and all of my career has been focused around data and data analytics. I was never in IT until I came to Under Armour, but it’s really interesting to learn about how all of the systems we take for granted actually work.

Tell us about your role at Under Armour? For the past two years, I have managed our data conversion team for an enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementation project for Under Armour. Soon I will be shifting to a more functional role focused on improving our technology platform for our operations in China.

You led efforts to switch Under Armour’s entire database. Can you tell us about how it came to fruition and what the ultimate process was? What are some practical learnings from the experience? Under Armour went from having two ERP systems (one for Wholesale and one for Retail) into one ERP system which combined the two. In a nutshell, my team pulled the data from the old systems, transformed it into data the new system needed, and loaded to the new system. I had almost no experience with both the old and the new system functionality, so my practical learning was to ask a TON of questions until I felt comfortable I could understand all of our processes at least at a high level.

You also managed a team of more than 20 employees. What is that like on a day-to-day basis? What is your number one tip for being a good manager? Managing a large group forces you to focus on the bigger issues and not to sweat the small stuff. If an issue seemed minimal, then I would simply follow up at a later point. If it’s truly a big issue, then we need to discuss the finer points of the problem and come up with a solution. My number one tip for being a good manager is to be comfortable with change and focus on solutions, not problems.

Can you tell us how your experience so far in the MBA program has influenced your work product? Time is definitely in short supply when you’re working full-time and going to school – my time in the program has forced me to be more efficient. Let the small stuff slide and focus on the big stuff.

What’s your favorite memory from your experiences on the Baltimore campus? Those 15 minutes before class when you’re catching up with friends on campus are a great escape.

Making Time for Professional Development

While Balancing Life, School, and Work

By Mara Da Silva and Jaclyn Walkins

Spring is almost here, which means first-year students have three terms under their belts and older students may be approaching graduation. Professional development is equally important for both groups, but it can be difficult to find the time as students balance life, school, and work.

The key is to manage your time intentionally, for which organization is essential. It’s easy to get caught up in your immediate responsibilities, but planning out your days and sticking to a schedule will allow you time to decompress while looking for professional development opportunities. Pooja Sampathi, a second-year DC evening student, talks about how she keeps herself organized: “I find utilizing a planner is helpful to prepare for the week and semester ahead. I like to see an overview of my schedule – what assignments are due so I can break up homework/readings each night, and what networking or work events are upcoming, etc. The ‘holes’ in my calendar help prioritize other areas of my life.”

To stay organized, create a folder for professional development and treat it like an ongoing project. Fill it with job opportunities, networking contacts, deliverables from the OCS Be Fearless career curriculum, etc. The Office of Career Services (OCS) and Masters Programs Office’s emails contain valuable information about upcoming events and opportunities, so make sure to read them over and add any dates to your folder.

To capitalize on all your newly-gathered information, try setting aside increasing increments of time for professional development and working it into your existing schedule. Adam Shpall, Assistant Director and part-time MBA Career Consultant for OCS, recommends the book Never Eat Alone, describing its message as “if you are eating alone, then you are missing out on the opportunity to connect.” Try eating lunch with someone new every day or week, whatever works for you – it’s an easy way to work networking into your day. Adam also suggests The Kaizen Way for an easy-to-implement method of gradually increased time allocated to an activity, in this case, professional development.

Erika Harrigan, the Baltimore campus OCS Career Consultant, talks to students about “making a habit of starting each week and day with a plan” and paying particular attention to priorities. She suggests periodic check-ins to make sure that your priorities are in line with your daily activities. “When you focus on executing your daily plan and eliminate energy-depleting behaviors,” she says, “you may be surprised how much more efficiently your day can run and may realize that you can find some time to devote to your personal career development if it is not already a priority.” The Harvard Business Review article “Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time” is a great resource for how to change energy-depleting behaviors.

Finally, don’t neglect your mental health. Lawrence Galloway, another second-year student, talks about the importance of practicing self care saying, “I find it helpful to stay organized and plan ahead – ultimately, find some time in my schedule for me. My “me time” is the gym. It is at 4:00 AM, but it is the sacrifice I make to get a jump start to my day, reflect on my schedule, and just clear my head. I find that I am more peaceful, prepared, and focused throughout the day.” Keeping all areas of your life in perspective and taking a holistic approach can help you stay balanced; Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived Joyful Life is a great resource recommended by Julie Neill, the Shady Grove OCS Career Consultant. Also, lean on your support system, whether it be a mentor, significant other, or friend. These people will remind you that balancing such demanding facets of life is difficult for everyone and help you see things in a more positive light.

With these tips in hand, professional development can become an integral part of your MBA experience. Practice makes perfect!

Student Spotlight – Enrico Clarke

Quickfire Questions

Name: Enrico Clarke
Year: Second
Campus: Shady Grove
Company: Fannie Mae
Hometown/Current Town:  Germantown, Maryland
Alma Mater: University of Maryland
Family/Pets: Mom, dad, two brothers and two sisters
Favorite Baltimore Area Restaurant: Chipotle
Favorite Baltimore/D.C. Area Tourist Destination: National Mall
Favorite Travel Destination: New York and Dubai
Favorite Book: Rich Dad Poor Dad
Favorite Movie: The Dark Night
Favorite Song/Artist: Jay – Z
Currently Binging on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon: The Office, but desperately waiting on Game of Thrones to return
Dream Job: A Dallas Cowboys Executive
What’s your Guilty Pleasure? What can’t you live without? Cheesecake especially Juniors in NYC

Let’s Get to It

Why did you decide to become an Ambassador? I am a big University of Maryland advocate. A majority of my family are Terps, so I want prospective students to feel the same type of enthusiasm for the school. Being a Smith double Terp makes it a little easier to lend a helping hand to new students because of my years of Smith knowledge.

How do Ambassadors, particularly in Shady Grove, support the PTMBA program at Smith? We support admitted students by answering their questions and concerns. We also allow prospective students to shadow us as we attend our classes.

What are some of the main differences between going to UMD for undergrad and grad school? The grad school class sizes are much smaller and a little more personable. Being in a humongous lecture hall sometimes give you that little fish in a big pond feel, but you don’t actually experience that here. Faculty and staff are more accessible.

Can you discuss how you will use your MBA in your career? My MBA will help propel my career. A majority of the directors at my company have advanced degrees so this will assist me in getting to a higher level. I have also gained a strong network within my cohort. More importantly, it will help to enhance my professional as well as management skills.

Can you go into specifics on how you will use your MBA at Fannie Mae? Are you hoping to advance in your career at Fannie Mae or make a career change? My MBA will definitely help me to advance in my career. The plethora of finance courses that I have taken has proven to be very beneficial. A lot of the concepts that I learned in my capital markets class apply directly to my day to day. The qualitative courses such as the leadership ones will also be beneficial since they enhanced my managerial skills. This type of knowledge will be vital at the next stage of my career.

Student Spotlight – Jyoti Sardana

Quickfire Questions

Name: Jyoti Sardana
Year: Second
Campus: Shady Grove
Company: NFLPA (National Football League Players Association)
Hometown/Current Town:  Silver Spring, Maryland
Alma Mater: University of Maryland
Family/Pets: Mom, dad, two brothers, two nieces, two nephews and two sister-in-laws
Favorite Baltimore Area Restaurant: Cava
Favorite Baltimore/D.C. Area Tourist Destination: The National Aquarium in Baltimore
Favorite Travel Destination: Dubai
Favorite Book: The Alchemist
Favorite Movie: 13 Going on 30
Favorite Song/Artist: Female – Beyonce & Male – Bruno
Currently Binging on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon: Desperate Housewives – no judgment please…I’m a few year late
Dream Job: NFLPA – I actually started in mid-March when I left my former job at Morgan Stanley
What’s your Guilty Pleasure? What can’t you live without? Brownies

Let’s Get to It

Why did you decide to become an Ambassador? I wanted to help prospective/admitted students as they transition back into a school. It isn’t an easy process, so I wanted to lend a helping hand. I’m also a track Rep for my Shady Grove campus, so I thought becoming an Ambassador would be a good opportunity for me to put myself out there even more.

How do Ambassadors, particularly in Shady Grove, support the PTMBA program at Smith? We attend information sessions, Super Saturdays, and call admitted students congratulating them on getting into the program.

What are some of the main differences between going to UMD for undergrad and grad school? The social events of course! When I went to UMD for undergrad, it was hard to know everyone because the school was so big. Grad school is a bit smaller, so it’s easier to get to know everyone as well as really get involved in the program.

Can you discuss how you will use your MBA in your career? I feel as though my MBA has allowed me to grow on a personal level as well as a professional level. I’m more confident in my abilities, and I will definitely use it in my career. Networking is also very important, and I will definitely take that with me as I further my career. Networking allowed me to land my dream job at NFLPA. Last, but not least, I will take all the information that I have learned in class and apply it to my career at the NFLPA!

How was it searching for a new job during the middle of a MBA program? And how has the transition been to your new position? It was a bit difficult just with working and attending classes but Career Services is amazing and helped with the transition! I was able to update my resume and have a mock interview with Career Services so I definitely think that helped. The transition has been great at my new job!

Student Spotlight – Michelle Vivoli

Quickfire Questions

Name: Michelle Vivoli
Year: First
Campus: Baltimore
Company: Textron Systems
Hometown/Current Town:  San Antonio, Texas
Alma Mater: The University of Texas at Austin
Family/Pets: Mom, Dad, one sister, and I have a dog back home in Texas named Carly
Favorite Baltimore Area Restaurant: Pappas – for crab cakes
Favorite Baltimore/D.C. Area Tourist Destination: Shopping in Georgetown
Favorite Travel Destination: Florence
Favorite Book: I’m going to have to go with favorite series, Harry Potter
Favorite Movie: Anything Disney
Favorite Song/Artist: I really just listen to the Top 40 on the radio
Currently Binging on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon: Shameless
Dream Job: To work for Disney
What’s your Guilty Pleasure? What can’t you live without? I have a major sweet tooth! I cannot live without cupcakes or cookies

Let’s Get to It

Why did you decide to become an Ambassador? I was really looking for a way to get involved at Smith. When I was presented with this opportunity it sounded fun and a great way to share my experiences with prospective students.

How do Ambassadors, particularly in Baltimore, support the PTMBA program at Smith? As Baltimore Ambassadors, we assist with class observations and show the prospective students around the campus, attend info sessions and help answer questions they have.

Have you volunteered to support the PTMBA program in previous capacities? If so, how? Also, What advice do you have for students who are hoping to get involved within the PTMBA program? As a first year, I spent my first semester adjusting to my schedule change, and getting to know my cohort. I have attended events hosted at the Baltimore campus, as well as, the PTMBAA social events. For students hoping to get more involved, I would say to take advantage of all of the opportunities available to us! It is a great way to learn something new or meet someone new.

What have you learned so far as an Ambassador that can be valuable for your classmates to know? I learned more about the admissions process, and that Smith accepts the best candidates! We should all be proud to be Terps!

Do you feel that the MBA program is helping you achieve that goal and how? I’m currently considering a career change. I work in IT, and one reason I wanted to get my MBA was to make the transition into a more business-focused role. I am still deciding what specific path I want to pursue, but I know an MBA will help me determine and prepare for the role I want to pursue.

What other programs and/or activities are you looking forward to most for the rest of your MBA program? What programs have you enjoyed most thus far? I am looking forward to going on one of the Global Experience trips! I studied abroad during undergrad, and it was such an incredible experience. I know I want to do it again. Overall, I really have enjoyed getting to know my cohort. Our cohort bonded pretty quickly and going to happy hour with everyone is always fun. I’m excited for more shenanigans to come!

Student Spotlight – Mark Costello

Quickfire Questions

Name: Mark Costello
Year: Second
Campus: Baltimore
Company: Ryerson
Hometown/Current Town:  Sycamore, Illinois
Alma Mater: Northern Illinois University
Family/Pets: Mom, Dad, one sister, and two brothers
Favorite Baltimore Area Restaurant: Anywhere that serves brunch
Favorite Baltimore/D.C. Area Tourist Destination: Fort McHenry in Baltimore
Favorite Travel Destination: Kyoto, Japan (opportunity to visit during the program!)
Favorite Book: The Better Angels of our Nature by Steven Pinker
Favorite Movie: Shaun of the Dead
Favorite Song/Artist: Such a tough question; love music! Bands I am really into right now: Mastodon, Greta Van Fleet, and Highly Suspect
Currently Binging on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon: My Business Law Textbook; it is a real page turner.
Dream Job: A judge on Chopped or to become Anthony Bourdain’s successor
What’s your Guilty Pleasure? What can’t you live without? Mimosas

Let’s Get to It

Why did you decide to become an Ambassador? I am proud to be a Smith Ambassador and want to help support the UMD brand. When my cohort mistakes me for being a “double terp,” I take it as a compliment.

How do Ambassadors, particularly in Baltimore, support the PTMBA program at Smith? As Ambassadors, we help provide a resource to incoming/prospective PTMBA students. It is a big decision to make and hopefully we are there to help answer some of the questions surrounding the program.

Have you volunteered to support the PTMBA program in previous capacities? If so, how? Also, What advice do you have for students who are hoping to get involved within the PTMBA program? Yes, I made the decision to be more involved in grad school than I was in undergrad. I am a Baltimore Track Rep for my cohort and have attended many networking, career development and social events. Meeting students from other cohorts is a great way to get involved and it opens up doors.

What have you learned so far as an Ambassador that can be valuable for your classmates to know? I have learned how much actually goes into the admission and selection process. UMD has a vast network and I am happy to be a small part of it.

How do you manage to attend various events and meet people at all the campuses given that you are based in Baltimore, since many students at all of the campuses find it difficult to venture outside of their home campus? Students at the other campuses were extremely welcoming which made me want to attend more events to meet different students. The opportunities are there if you are willing to take advantage of them. Gotta rep Baltimore!

Can you tell us about your recent experience in Singapore and Japan through the Global Studies Program? I had an amazing time during the global studies trip to Asia. Singapore is an unbelievable place that has been able to accomplish so much growth, while Japan is beautiful country with such fascinating culture.

Would you recommend that other students take part in the program, in particular this trip? What surprised you the most about your trip? I would recommend everyone take advantage of one of the global studies programs if possible. I expected Tokyo to be similar to any other international city, but the traditional Japanese culture is still very pronounced in the city. I was surprised by how patient the Japanese were in dealing with us. I was also surprised with what Singapore has been able to do in terms of planning and development with such limited space and resources.

Student Spotlight – Randy Zmuda

Quickfire Questions

Name: Randy Zmuda
Year: First
Campus: DC Weekend
Company: Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA)
Hometown/Current Town:  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Alma Mater: Radford University
Family/Pets: My wife, Teryn and our baby boy, Cannon Zeyn
Favorite D.C. Area Restaurant: Iron Gate (“Oh, he fancy!”)
Favorite Baltimore/D.C. Area Tourist Destination: Love me a good ol’ Big Bus Tour but it’s gotta stop at the Lincoln Memorial!
Favorite Travel Destination: On our honeymoon we started in Paris, France and drove through the country stopping at AirBnBs along the way — that was incredible!
Favorite Book: Of Mice and Men
Favorite Movie: Forrest Gump
Favorite Song/Artist: Anything ‘90s
Currently Binging on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon: Bouncing between The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel & Schitt’s Creek, but apparently I need to see Black Mirror.
Dream Job: Owning the Pittsburgh Steelers
What’s your Guilty Pleasure? What can’t you live without? Guilty Pleasure – SURVIVOR, yes it’s still on and if you know anyone in the casting department… (wink-wink!)
Can’t live without my family or friends. Also, water.

Let’s Get to It

Tell us a little bit about the Ambassador program? How long do you serve as an Ambassador, can anyone become an Ambassador, etc.? The Ambassador program is designed to offer prospective students insight into the various programs, schedules, and otherwise opportunities offered within the PT MBA program. It provides a current student perspective. For me this offered a little bit more of a candid conversation. It is a one year commitment. Any current student can apply for the opportunity. I believe one student from each program location is selected. I am very grateful for the opportunity!

Why did you decide to become an Ambassador? The decision to commit to a PT MBA program is massive. For me, coming to that decision ahead of having a baby and working full-time was very daunting. I was quickly alleviated of that concern and stress by all the wonderful people I met in my journey selecting a school, applying, attending information sessions, Super Saturday, orientation, etc. The Ambassadors that I had the privilege of meeting had a huge impact on my decision. They were informative and inspirational. I knew, should the opportunity present itself, it was the perfect fit for me. That made it all the easier to “pay it forward”. It really is an impressive community!

How do Ambassadors support the PTMBA program at Smith? Ambassadors serve as another resource for the PTMBA program. We are a resource to the program in any information sessions, events, orientations, etc. More so, we are a resource to prospective students. We offer insight and often, candid conversation, from a real-time, we’re in the mix of it as we speak, perspective. The questions and concerns prospective students may be facing, are more than likely, the very same questions and concerns we had this time last year or two. Being able to speak to that is very valuable.

Have you volunteered to support the PTMBA program in previous capacities? If so, how? Also, What advice do you have for students who are hoping to get involved within the PTMBA program? I signed up during orientation to get involved with one of the PTMBAA committees. There are also Track Reps for your cohort and later we’ll have the opportunity to run for the PTMBAA Board. From my experience, those who want to get involved tend to ask questions and exert that extra effort to make it happen. But even without that, you are very informed. My advice to anyone interested would simply be to talk to people. Connect. Ask questions. I am happy to serve as your resource, your champion.

What have you learned so far as an Ambassador that can be valuable for your classmates to know? I’ve learned a great deal. I have had great phone conversations, email exchanges and in-person introductions from class spectators. Additionally, sitting in on Information Sessions has afforded me the insight into what questions students are asking, what they are looking for, where they have concerns, and in some cases, what they will bring to the table. The value in that is knowing the caliber of prospective students for the PT MBA program is high. I am confident our already wonderful network will continue to thrive.

Student Spotlight – Kavanaugh Livingston

Quickfire Questions

Name: Kavanaugh Livingston
Year: Second
Campus: DC Evening
Company: United Nations Foundation (UNF)
Hometown/Current Town:  Portsmouth, Rhode Island
Alma Mater: Johns Hopkins University
Family/Pets: My husband Daniel, and one spider plant
Favorite D.C. Area Restaurant: Sally’s Middle Name
Favorite Baltimore/D.C. Area Tourist Destination: Freer Sackler Gallery
Favorite Travel Destination: Borneo, Malaysia was definitely the most memorable. My husband and I hiked up Mt. Kinabalu and reached the summit of more than 13,000 feet.
Favorite Book: Embracing Defeat
Favorite Movie: My Cousin Vinny
Favorite Song/Artist: Rush
Currently Binging on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon: Dark
Dream Job: Managing an international foundation
What’s your Guilty Pleasure? What can’t you live without? Ben & Jerry’s — all of the flavors

Let’s Get to It

Tell us a little bit about the Ambassador program? How long do you serve as an Ambassador, can anyone become an Ambassador, etc.? You have to keep your ears and eyes out when the informal announcement for an Ambassador position comes out, but if you enjoy meeting with a variety of people and engaging with the broader Smith community you should consider serving as an Ambassador. You are one of the many friendly faces to prospective students. And without a doubt, the experiences of prospective students with Ambassadors can help determine their decision to enroll in Smith. The role comes with a year-long commitment and a suite of responsibilities, but it is really fun! I’m really glad I made the decision to be an Ambassador.

Why did you decide to become an Ambassador? Smith has helped me grow and develop professionally and personally. To this end, I thought it was important to contribute to an institution that has made a positive impact on my career and future prospects. I’ve met many wonderful faculty, classmates, friends, and staff at Smith, and serving as an Ambassador allows me to give back to a community that has supported me for the past year-and-a-half. I believe many more students can benefit from the Smith experience, and as Ambassador, I have the privilege to help spread this message.

How do Ambassadors support the PTMBA program at Smith? While Ambassadors are representatives of the Smith School to prospective students, we can feed thoughts and concerns from students to Smith faculty and staff. Ambassadors don’t just focus on projecting a positive and approachable image of Smith; we also provide outside perspectives to help the Smith PTMBA program continue to grow and improve.

Have you volunteered to support the PTMBA program in previous capacities? If so, how? Also, What advice do you have for students who are hoping to get involved within the PTMBA program? I volunteered to speak on a student panel during the 2017 August orientation, which I greatly enjoyed. In many respects, I think we are all Ambassadors for Smith–I am sure we talk about it all the time! But if you want to create a positive experience for current and prospective students, there are many ways you can do this: volunteer for the PTMBAA Board, serve as a track rep, offer constructive suggestions to staff and faculty to improve the program, connect people within your network and with your employer, and encourage family and friends to consider pursuing their MBA with Smith. If you have any ideas and questions, feel free to reach out to me or Randy!

What have you learned so far as an Ambassador that can be valuable for your classmates to know? I am continually impressed with the breadth of programs and opportunities that Smith offers. I continue to learn something new about faculty research, student projects, and new initiatives. As part-time students, we have many competing priorities to contend with, but if we have the time to participate in different events, take a class outside of our comfort zone, or travel to a different country through a global course, we will learn so much more about ourselves and meet many new people.