Jul 302015
 

Alumni Blog_Adrian_Lee_AmazonBy Adrian Lee, DC Part-time MBA Tues/Thurs Program – Graduated: May 2014

Four years ago this fall, I was in your shoes, preparing to head back to school part-time and questioning whether I would be able to balance work, school, and life as well as whether the Smith MBA was the right place. If you asked me then, where I hoped to be after graduation, I would have probably said DC or Dallas (close to family) and probably named off a large consulting firm or bank. However, today, I’m cross country, working for Amazon, and living in a city (Seattle), I had never thought I would live. It’s been almost six months and its still feels a bit surreal, but overall it’s amazing and has been quite a whirlwind.

Reflecting back as I write this, I am so thankful for my time at Smith, the friends and connections I made, the professors and staff, and the in-class and extra-curricular experiences I had. I know for if it wasn’t for Smith and the experiences I took advantage of and leveraged, I would not be at Amazon. It wasn’t just the program coursework, it was the accumulation of many experiences, which I hope you all will take advantage of as well.

As you know, the coursework and the program itself offers a robust foundation to accounting, finance, marketing, supply chain, and whatever path you chose. From my 54 credits, the most important lesson I learned came from my Creativity for Business Leaders class and it actually wasn’t directly related to creativity. Rather it was the idea of getting uncomfortable and doing one thing that scared you. Thanks to this lesson, I took classes that challenged or scared me even up to my last semester, I ran for Part-Time MBA President, and also when moving across country and taking a position with Amazon presented itself, I replied “hey why not”.

I also can’t emphasis enough how much I gained from the extracurricular activities and network. It actually was one of these events that was the beginning of my journey to Amazon. Back last fall, I attended the Women MBA Conference in DC. I had looked at the list of employers and was really not interested in many on the list, however I decided to attend because it would at least be good practice and also because I wanted to see some of my co-hort mates. Amazon wasn’t on the brochure, but they ended up being there and I decided I might as well visit and chat with them. Ultimately, I ended up speaking with a finance manager, who ended up bringing me onto her team two months later. Exhibiting that you really never know what could happen.

Since then, my life in Seattle has had its ups and downs, but primarily up. Amazon is definitely a challenging and fast moving environment. The teams are very much interconnected, so you get a lot of diversity in work tasks, and a lot of ownership due to the fast-moving nature of the business. Within a month, I was looked on to make on-the-spot decisions and lead initiatives. The environment is also quite bizarre, yes dogs do roam the halls, managers wear sweatshirts and shorts to work, and people speak quite candidly. In some ways, it feels like an extension of my MBA, (+dogs) as there is still much to learn.

Good luck to you all and I hope you leverage and create as many opportunities as possible to make the most of your time at Smith. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn.

 

Adrian Lee is a spring 2014 graduate of the part-time MBA program. During her time at Smith, she was part of the Smith SWAGers (aka the Tues/Thurs DC cohort), served as the President of the Part-Time MBA, and had the chance to travel to Brazil and South Africa as part of Smith’s short-term study abroad programs. She spent nine years in DC after college working for various consulting firms before moving to Seattle to take a position with Amazon. She currently works as a financial analyst in Amazon’s transportation division. In her spare time, she is enjoying exploring her new city, making new friends, sailing, and hiking in the PNW.

 

Jul 232015
 

Julie Neill headshotBy Julie Neill, Assistant Director, PT MBA Career Consultant

Is advancing your career one of the main reasons you want to get an MBA? If so, then you’re not alone as this holds true for the vast majority of our part-time students. While our faculty will teach you the skills and knowledge required to do that senior level job, our career coaches will teach you everything you need to know on how to land that job!

Part of the value proposition of the Smith MBA is undoubtedly the career-related assistance provided by its Office of Career Services, fondly referred to as “OCS”. While OCS serves all student populations at Smith, it boasts four career coaches dedicated to specifically serving our Part-Time MBA students with a presence at each of our campuses in Baltimore, DC and Shady Grove.

OCS coaches assist students with a myriad of career-related issues including making a career transition, positioning yourself for an internal promotion, job search strategies, resume writing and interviewing. As long as it’s career-related, our coaches are here to assist you! Moreover, we offer appointments during times that are convenient for you, e.g. during the evening right before class, and we provide coaching remotely via phone, Skype and Google hangout in case you can’t make it to campus. We recognize the significant challenges of balancing work, life and school.

In addition to coaching, OCS organizes career-related programming and networking events throughout the year because we know that it’s not just what you know, but who you know that counts! This past year, we greatly expanded our programming for part-time students including hosting our first ever career fair specifically for working professionals, a networking night in DC in which over 100 students and alumni attended and most recently, a hugely successful MBA Career Boot Camp.

The MBA Career Boot Camp was a day-long event which featured workshops in the morning that focused on topics related to making a career transition and accelerating your career followed by lunch and a keynote speaker from one of our corporate partners, Gallup. During the afternoon, students had the option of choosing to sit in on one of four functional alumni panels – finance, marketing, consulting and human capital. Each panel was moderated by one of our faculty members and then followed by a mini-case competition in which students worked in teams on a related case. Each team then gave a short presentation to our panel of alumni judges. Given the success of the event, you can be sure it will be repeated in the coming year!

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One of the biggest events OCS hosts each year is our Smith School Business Summit. This signature event aims to bridge the gap between academia and industry by bringing together business leaders and professionals from throughout the region with our students, alumni and faculty to discuss cutting-edge issues facing the business community. This year’s summit will be held in Baltimore on November 13th and aims to be our largest summit yet with the goal of close to 800 participants.

Julie Neill is an award-winning career services professional with a diverse background including over 14 years of experience working in higher education, government and the nonprofit sector in the US and overseas.  Julie’s work has been recognized by the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE) for innovation in career services, and in 2010, she was awarded a Fulbright Award to Germany for higher education administrators.  Julie currently coaches part-time MBA students at the Shady Grove campus.

Jul 162015
 

By Monica Bautista, DC Weekend MBA Program & 2014 Forté Fellow

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to spend the weekend with excited and driven women MBA candidates at the Forté MBA Women’s Leadership Conference. Attendees ranged in age and experience, and came from many different places including Canada, California, and China. The theme for this year’s conference was Let’s Power Up! Fast Forward your Career with Strength and Character.

The weekend started with a quick welcome session followed by a networking reception for Forté Fellows where new classmates got to meet, and old friends were able to reconnect. The next morning a lively and energetic speaker, Cindy Solomon, welcomed us to the Leadership Conference and inspired attendees with her wisdom and humor. She encouraged us to find and develop our courage, confidence, power, and potential. Cindy recommended that women take time each week to sit and think about their accomplishments and strengths, and how to articulate them to people they meet. She motivated us to use our networks and to create strong relationships with mentors and sponsors in our lives. Finally, she noted that women should take action in spite of their fear, go after what they want, and recognize that they’re already great.

Later in the day concurrent sessions allowed attendees to learn about different industries such as Finance and Marketing, discuss changing career paths, and get advice from women leaders working at companies such as Whirlpool, Chevron, AT&T, Exxon Mobil, and Walmart. Some helpful advice from day one included:

  • Take advantage of all the resources in the Office of Career Services
  • Look at the Vault Guides to research industries and companies
  • Stay true to yourself when making your next career decision
  • Build and maintain relationships
  • Lead authentically

At the end of day one, attendees had the chance to show off their new and improved confidence and networking skills at a career fair with over 20 different companies. Two quick tips for your next career fair: leave your most wanted company for last so you can practice with others, pick one thing that interests you most about each company you plan to talk to.

The final day of the conference was more focused on finding the right career path, and developing the skills needed to have a successful career. Sessions included topics such as communication strategies, negotiation, working globally, leadership presence, entrepreneurship, time management, working with men, and getting ahead in the corporate world. Helpful advice from day two included:

  • Develop your expertise, a core set of skills that define you, know your competencies, and cultivate your brand
  • Be quick on your toes, prepared for anything, and ready to say yes to opportunities
  • Meet people at firms you want to apply to and show your interest in the firm
  • Men are people too, take gender out of it and use open ended questions to find common ground

The conference ended with a panel of women who shared how they used their education, experience, and corporate jobs to do good in the world. From this panel we learned that it’s ok to change what your passion is and it’s normal to give up on a dream and go towards something else that you’re drawn to. Jane Mosbacher Morris of To the Market, suggested a simple exercise to develop your goals: write your bio set five years in the future, what goals do you need to accomplish to make it come true?

Check out some of the goals, dreams, and ambitions of conference attendees in Forté’s video from the conference.

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Monica Bautista graduated magna cum laude from Portland State University with a BS in Health Studies: Community Health Education. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist and works as a Program Analyst in the Bureau for Global Health at the United States Agency for International Development. Prior to her current role with USAID, Monica served as a Graduate Fellow in the Office of Senator Richard Durbin, and at the Health Resources and Services Administration. In her free time, Monica volunteers with HIPS as a Mobile Health Outreach Volunteer. Monica chose Smith because of the wonderful people, the ability to tailor the curriculum to her needs, and the convenient schedule and location. Monica appreciates the welcoming atmosphere created by Smith faculty, staff, students, and alumni, as well as the opportunity to learn from talented professors, and impressive classmates.

Jul 092015
 

We love hanging out with our newly admitted Part Time MBA students. We also love hot dogs and baseball games… so we really loved this year’s Nationals and Orioles games!

On Monday, June 15th we watched the Baltimore Orioles take on the Philadelphia Phillies. Then, on Wednesday, June 24th we watched the Washington National’s play the Atlanta Braves. Both games were a great opportunity for admitted students to enjoy watching the game, munching on some ballpark food and chat with other admitted students, current students and Smith staff!

A great big “thank you” to everyone who made it out!

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Jul 022015
 

Thank you to everyone who entered our PT MBA contest in the month of June. This month’s winner is…Ellen Berlinghof!

Ellen’s number was chosen by the random number generator and she is the winner of a Kindle Fire HD6. If you entered the contest in June, you still have 2 more chances to win.

Do you want to enter our contest to win a Kindle Fire HD6 Tablet? We are giving one away EVERY MONTH from now until August.

Here’s how to enter:
Step 1: Follow us on twitter at @SmithPTMBA
Step 2: Tweet us a message using #WhySmithPTMBA with why you are applying
Step 3: Leave a comment on any blog post on the PT MBA blog (this post or any other!)

Winners will be drawn on a monthly basis using a random number generator. Once you win, you will be ineligible to win again until 2016. Winners will be announced on the Smith PT MBA twitter feed and blog.

Good luck!

Prize specs: Kindle Fire HD6, Black, 6” HD Display, Wi-Fi, Front and Rear Cameras, 8 GB, value $99.

Jun 252015
 

Kindle Fire pic

 

Do you want to win a Kindle Fire HD6?

Well, you still have a couple chances to be a winner. We’ve given away a Kindle Fire HD6 every month since January and still have THREE more to give away for June, July and August!

Here’s how to enter:
Step 1: Follow us on twitter at @SmithPTMBA
Step 2: Tweet us a message using #WhySmithPTMBA with why you are applying
Step 3: Leave a comment on any blog post on the PT MBA blog (this post or any other!)

You MUST do all three steps to enter the contest… so start your clicking now!

Good luck!

 

Prize specs: Kindle Fire HD6, Black, 6” HD Display, Wi-Fi, Front and Rear Cameras, 8 GB, value $99. Winners will be drawn on a monthly basis using a random number generator. Once you win, you will be ineligible to win again until 2016. Winners will be announced on the Smith PT MBA twitter feed and blog.

Jun 182015
 

 

coffee pic

If you’re following us on Twitter  or Instagram, you may have seen that we occasionally post pictures of coffee cups and delicious looking donuts. After you finish salivating over the Krispy Kreme doughnut, you probably wonder what’s going on with Smith’s PT MBA program.

Is Julie just pretending to be cool by taking pictures of her food again? Nope, not this time! That’s just our fun way of drawing attention to our Info-To-Go Coffee Chats!

We have them by each of our campuses in Baltimore, Rockville and DC as a chance for you to stop by and chat with a member from the admissions team. This isn’t a full-on information session, just a quick morning event where you can ask a question or two and still make it to the office on time. As an added benefit, we will even buy you a cup of coffee too. Or, if you’re meeting Julie at the Rockville Krispie Kreme, she’ll throw in a doughnut!

Click here to see this month’s scheduled chats and register online!

Jun 112015
 

Great news for those of you who would still like to apply for our Fall 2015 Part Time MBA program! We are currently accepting applications on a rolling basis for the Part Time MBA program that will begin this fall.

We have a limited number of openings for the Washington, DC Evening Part Time MBA program, the Baltimore Evening MBA program, and the Shady Grove Blended MBA Program.

Smith’s MBA programs only start classes in the fall term, so our next entry point will be Fall 2016. While we’d be happy to help you with an application for that time as well, starting your MBA at Smith this fall is still an opportunity, but you will need to act quickly.

Good luck with your application and please do not hesitate to reach out to our Admissions team with your questions at PTAdmit@rhsmith.umd.edu or 301-405-2559.

Jun 042015
 

Thank you to everyone who entered our PT MBA contest in the month of May. This month’s winner is…James Tvrdy!

James’ number was chosen by the random number generator and he is the winner of a Kindle Fire HD6. If you entered the contest in May, you still have 3 more chances to win.

Do you want to enter our contest to win a Kindle Fire HD6 Tablet? We are giving one away EVERY MONTH from now until August.

Here’s how to enter:
Step 1: Follow us on twitter at @SmithPTMBA
Step 2: Tweet us a message using #WhySmithPTMBA with why you are applying
Step 3: Leave a comment on any blog post on the PT MBA blog (this post or any other!)

Winners will be drawn on a monthly basis using a random number generator. Once you win, you will be ineligible to win again until 2016. Winners will be announced on the Smith PT MBA twitter feed and blog.

Good luck!

Prize specs: Kindle Fire HD6, Black, 6” HD Display, Wi-Fi, Front and Rear Cameras, 8 GB, value $99.

May 282015
 

So, Math Camp — what is it? Do you need it? Is it painful? Just to give you an idea of where I stood when I took it, I’m a software engineer, so I had a quant background. But I hadn’t taken a math class since college, so I felt a little rusty.

After taking it, I felt it was a pretty good overview of the math you’d need for your MBA classes. There’s a quiz included with the flyer on Math Camp, it’s worth looking at, since it’ll give you a decent idea of the kinds of things that are covered.  Even if you can’t make Math Camp, you should probably at least study up.

The kinds of topics they cover are:

  • Arithmetic, Sets, Counting Rules
  • Probability
  • Random Variables
  • Algebra I
  • Algebra II
  • Differential Calculus I
  • Differential Calculus II
  • Compounding and Discounting
  • Annuities and Perpetuities

Annuities and Perpetuities are especially important; they probably weren’t covered in your undergrad math class, and they’re used a lot in your MBA classes, so pay attention to that one.  Your professors in the core classes you take first semester are going to assume you know the things from Math Camp, so be ready.  Camp last for three days, and costs $350.

Bottom line, if you don’t do a lot of math in your day-to-day work and don’t want to have to jump into things cold, Math Camp’s a good idea. The lectures are done by Professor Lele, who’s a good guy that you’ll probably have classes with.

There are a few things they don’t tell you that you’ll want to know.  Firstly, if you’re not familiar with College Park campus (which is where Math Camp is held), it is not within walking distance from the Metro. There’s a shuttle usually, but over the summer it doesn’t run on weekends, so check the Shuttle-UM site to see if you need to make other arrangements.  Also be aware that the building where they do the classes has the air conditioning turned down when they do Math Camp, so dress for summer. By the last day even Lele was in shorts and sandals.  By the way, if you’re wondering what kind of calculator you need, they say you need a financial calculator, but I was fine with the TI that everyone uses in high school.  The work load isn’t bad, some lectures followed by a few problems they give you to practice.

Overall it’s a class worth taking. Even if you have a math background, it’s better to know you’re ready than to hope you’re ready; when you start in on a finance class you’ll want to be straight on all your math skills.   And you’ll make some great contacts with your fellow Smiths from the other cohorts that will last through the program and beyond.

Are you an admitted student interested in Math Camp?
Your on-campus advisers will start sending you weekly emails in June… be sure to check them out because it will have information on this year’s Math Camp dates!

 

Robert Goodman is a 2012 graduate of the Smith PT MBA program.  This post was originally published in November 2012.