Category Archives: Clubs/Centers/Offices

The Secret to Building a Strong Network

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

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

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

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

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

Negotiating Tips for Your Offer

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

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

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

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

MBAA Clubs: Become a PT MBA Liaison

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

Jewish MBA Association (JMBAA)

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

Responsibilities/Time Commitment
1 to 2 hours a week

Website
http://clubs.rhsmith.umd.edu/jmbaa/

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

Latin MBA Student Association (LAMBASA)

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

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

Website
http://clubs.rhsmith.umd.edu/lambasa/

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

MBA Consulting Club (MCC)

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

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

Website
http://clubs.rhsmith.umd.edu/mbaconsultingclub/

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

Net Impact

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

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

Website
http://clubs.rhsmith.umd.edu/netimpact/

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

Smith Association of Womens MBA (SAWMBA)

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

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

Website
http://clubs.rhsmith.umd.edu/sawmba/

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

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2014 Orientation

by Rahul Shah, PTMBAA VP of Community Development

On August 16th and 23rd, Smith School welcomed the newest incoming class of Part-Time MBA students at Orientation in Van Munching Hall. The two days were divided between the DC, Shady Grove and Baltimore cohorts. They were both great days that combined logistical information about the program, experiential learning exercises and opportunities to network among both current and incoming students.

The PTMBAA board opened up both days with a welcome, followed by words of wisdom and advice from Dean Alex Triantis, Vice Dean Joyce Russell and Chief Academic Officer Shreevardhan Lele. The overall message was very positive and motivating, with all parties encouraging students to really take advantage of the opportunities and resources offered at Smith. Students also had the opportunity to ask questions to Smith School’s senior leadership before breaking out into their respective cohorts.

This year’s orientation theme, “Experience the Adventure”, was really about all the experiential learning opportunities offered here at Smith. This is one area that all of the different centers and departments have been particularly innovative in, and is undoubtedly one of the best ways to learn. Students got a glimpse of some of these activities at orientation, from preparing elevator pitches with the Office of Career Services to preparing a business model canvas with the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, Center for Social Value Creation and the Office of Global Initiatives. The center’s also explained all of the specific opportunities for part-time students including the social venture consulting program, Pitch Dingman Competition, short-term study abroad trips and the latest Portfolio Management Competition through the Center for Financial Policy among others.

In my personal opinion, it’s really these opportunities that differentiate Smith School from all the other programs out there. It’s really these opportunities that allow students to connect with like-minded students across cohorts and across campuses, and what really adds value to the overall MBA experience. Most importantly, it’s really these opportunities that allow students to apply the knowledge from their coursework, and gain even more as a result.

The day also included the current student panel experience, sessions with the various clubs and closed with a networking happy hour that included snacks and drinks. Overall, it was a great day that prepared students with the information they need to be successful in the program.

On behalf of the PTMBAA, we are very excited to welcome the newest incoming class! We wish you all the best of luck in this new phase of your journey and hope that you make the most of your time here. All students are encouraged to partake in the great events planned for the year ahead as they contribute to the cohesive community that is Smith.

Check out pictures from orientation here.

OCS Tip of the Month

dave_gentMake Networking Work For You!

By David Gent, Part-time MBA Career Consultant / DC

Your best next job(s) will come from networking (and HireSmith!) For many, though, the question is how. That is, how to turn a networking conversation into a lead for your next opportunity. The answer: help the person see how you will drive the business and/or organization forward.

Every organization and every manager has a problem, something that “keeps them up at night.” When networking, listen for those problems and then speak to your ability to help resolve the issue.

If you aren’t hearing any problems, ask. Ask questions focused on the competitive landscape and strategic decisions; companies always want to know more about their customers and stakeholders. There are countless questions. But, you have to ask.

Even more powerfully, help that leader see what he or she can’t. Some refer to this as problem finding. Your Smith MBA enables you to frame a problem – or, even better, opportunity – out of ambiguity. Offer that.

Once you discover the what, link it to your experiences, knowledge (hint: your Smith coursework) and competencies. Having a strong elevator pitch is a good starting point to making your case. Another is to offer possible resources you might bring to the situation…with you being the primary one.

Of course, there is some art to the conversation. You have to let the problem unfold and then subtly weave in the ways in which you will add value to that manager and to that company’s go forward strategy. You must listen closely and with focus on what you can bring to the problem. Don’t worry about how you are being perceived (we all do) but rather think like you are in a presentation making a case for a new approach.

But how will you know your networking is working? A key turning point in any conversation is when the person says something like, tell me about when you led that project team. Or, what do you think of this market trend. These questions and ones like them signal that the person is starting to see you as someone who will help; a networking conversation is shifting to an interview.

To learn more about the art of the networking conversation, please schedule a coaching appointment with Dave, Erika, Jeff and Dana, your career coaches, through HireSmith.

Oysters & Wine to bring in the New Year

The middle of January can seem quite gray and gloomy and leave many good reasons to just stay in bed; but in Baltimore the recent all-campus event gave plenty of students a reason to get out of bed and provided nice transition to the new semester and the start of classes.

On Saturday, January 25th, a recent wine tasting event brought together all the cohorts of the Baltimore campus together on the same night.  The event, held at Ryliegh’s Oysters, gave students the opportunity to meet and network with other students from at least 3 different cohorts.  Attendees were able to enjoy award-winning wines that paired beautifully with fresh raw oysters that were provided along with other hors d’oeuvres.  As oysters were being slurped and newly discovered wines being praised many students, new and old, were discussing topics of career planning, future classes, and funny winter break stories.  It was great to see interaction amongst different students and everyone left a little warmer than when they came.  The event was a nice ice-breaker to help everyone forget about all the cold weather and get energized for the new semester.

Dog Adoption Event Benefiting LDCRF

By: Kime Wills

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On November 24th the Robert H. Smith School of Business Community Development Committee partnered with PTMBA students in a Leadership Development class to put together a great volunteer event. Students worked with the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation (LDCFR) to help in the adoption process of over 20 homeless dogs.

Students spent time recruiting potential adopters and spreading the word leading up to the adoption event. They then met at a local PetSmart and spent the afternoon playing with the dogs, walking them, and talking with potential adopters. The rescue group can only have as many dogs as handlers for these events, so every volunteer is a possibility for another dog to be adopted.

The event was a successful and by the end of the afternoon four dogs were able to find a “forever home” with the help of Smith School volunteers. Smith school is looking to continue it’s relationship with the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation as a way to give back to the community.

It’s Official! Girls’ Gamble a Smith Legacy

The Girls Gamble 11.15

by Maria Caceres

The ladies of Smith did it again! The second annual Girls’ Gamble event, led by our own Gina Reilly, PTMBA DC student, was a complete hit. It was an evening filled with poker, a little vino (a special thanks to SAWMBA group for keeping us hydrated), delicious food and new found friends! I had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know several fellow MBAers from our Shady Grove Campus as well as our Baltimore Campus. Our various DC cohorts (1st year, 2nd year and 3rd year) were also well represented, and we had over 15 alumni in attendance!

 

Now, whether it was your very first attempt to a perfect poker face, or you were last year’s World Poker Tour winner, FUN was the name of your game that night. This year’s Girls’ Gamble included various professional poker dealers and instructors, not only providing a night of exciting casino style play, but a thorough teaching of the art of poker. Throughout the evening, each player had the opportunity to run through several live hands, and compete for some fantabulous prizes. What’s poker without the winnings piece, right?

 

After awarding our lucky winners, we were treated to a wonderful and empowering presentation by Sharon Strange Lewis, Director of Graduate Alumni Relations, a fellow Terp, and a 2005 graduate of the Smith EMBA program. Sharon pointed out that our learnings of Poker should be applied to our approach in the business world. In poker, as in business, tenacity, focus and confidence is key when figuring out what is necessary to be the night’s big winner.  

 

A very special thank you to the PTMBAA for all their support and to all those extremely creative and determined Smith women who made this night possible. This was an unforgettable event, and a brilliant reminder of our fellowship and robust presence as women MBAs at Smith.

2013 Sunset Cruise

by Joshua Merry, VP of Outreach: DC
A beautiful day gave way to a perfect evening as Smith students arrived at the Capital Yacht charters. All in all, around 90 Smith school students attended the event. The boat left the dock and headed down the Potomac toward the Wilson bridge, offering a great view of the city on both sides. The boat was big enough to offer students many different places to gather and talk.

When the boat left, the PTMBAA welcomed everybody and encouraged people to enjoy themselves and socialize. With the cruise well on its way, the food was served. The Capital Yacht club did an excellent job of the catering, as people enjoyed veggies, wings & meatballs. As the sun went down, people socialized, networked and enjoyed the evening. It seemed like time flew, as pretty soon the boat arrived at the Wilson bridge and turned around.

People continued to enjoy themselves on the way back, and it was almost too bad when the boat docked back up. However, everybody had a fantastic time and it is safe to say this years Sunset Cruise was a resounding success!

 

Here is a link to the pictures:https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-iYVXbT7FIe0/Ui0bdxKWDjI/AAAAAAAAARE/8NgngZ03Mw4/s576/students_with_testudo.jpg

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Pitch your business idea to a seasoned entrepreneur at the Washington DC campus this Summer!

Pitch Dingman is coming to the Ronald Reagan Building campus on July 18 and August 13 in the evening! Sign up to meet with successful entrepreneurs to pitch YOUR business idea and get feedback and advice. No advance prep needed, just come in prepared to describe your idea in 3-4 minutes. Sign up here:
http://www.slyreply.com/Event/EventDetails.aspx?eid=BQRg4PpR7bs%3D