Category Archives: Clubs/Centers/Offices

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.

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.,;; 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)

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


Justin Fisher:

Latin MBA Student Association (LAMBASA)

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.


Freddy Chacon:

MBA Consulting Club (MCC)

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.


Brendan Collins:

Net Impact

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.


Anna Anderson:

Smith Association of Womens MBA (SAWMBA)

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.


Jessica Waters:


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.