Archive for April, 2012

Smith’s Got Talent!

April 16th, 2012 by under Reflections. No Comments.

Alice did a beautiful rendition of the Fugees.

I had a blast last week at the 2nd Annual Smith’s Got Talent performance.  The twelve performances by Smith MBAs included improv comedy, music, dancing, and even a poetry reading of Dr. Seuss!

I participated as well as part of a six person hip hop dance crew.  My 2nd year classmate June is a great choreographer – we did a medley of “Turn up the Music,” “I’m Sexy and I Know It,” and topped it off with “Run the World.”

Graham covers John Denver

I’m really glad I participated in this because the MBA can be very draining.  One of the lessons from the program is that it’s important to have balance and not permit excessive work to result in the atrophy the other parts our identities and lives.

One of the great things about the Smith community is how diverse and creative we are.  Business students aren’t just suits – we’re multi-faceted.  Event’s like Smith’s Got Talent are great ways to discover new things about the people we work with, have fun, and spend time as a community.  I’m so glad to be at a business school that appreciates the multiple qualities we bring with us.

Bollywood by Lakshmi

The Swagger Jackers danced it up!


“What is a Crack in the Door becomes a Door Wide Open:” Bradford Banquet Speaker Offers Words of Wisdom

April 9th, 2012 by under Professional Development. No Comments.

The Bradford Banquet is always a great venue to meet really involved alumni.

Last week, the Black MBA Association and the Latin MBA Association hosted the 19th Annual Bradford Minority Awards Banquet, an event which celebrates excellence in the African American and Latin American communities at the University of Maryland.  The event is a chance to celebrate student contributions to African American and Latin American communities and to recognize alumni involvement with the business school.

Henry Hernandez is an independent consultant responsible for providing thought leadership and strategic direction for diversity and inclusion processes for clients. He has held executive offices at American Express and Pitney Bowes.

This year’s keynote speaker was Henry Hernandez, a former Vice President for SAIC.  Mr. Hernandez’ speech was extremely relevant to the theme of this year’s event: “Leveraging Diversity in Your Personal Brand.”  Trained as a Mechanical Engineer, Mr. Hernandez said that taking risks, having your had up to volunteer for the tough jobs, and leveraging past success into new opportunities is what allowed him to move fluidly into the CIA as an Intelligence Officer, and later into an MBA program and a consulting career.  However, he recognizes that this is sometimes a difficult thing to do for ethnic and racial minorities because of cultural reasons for not wanting to stand out or to not wanting to grandstand and take credit for hard work.

His advice to differentiate ourselves to build our careers and our personal brands included:

  • Figure out what’s important to your boss.  Ask, “What keeps you up at night?” and then try to do something about it.
  • Volunteer for the work no one else wants to do.  People will remember you for it.
  • Don’t burn bridges
  • Keep your relationships warm to maintain the quality of your network; you never know when you will need to use it.
  • Keep your eyes open to opportunities but don’t over think things – you can never fully know the implications of your actions until after you take them.
  • Play up your successes to show what you can accomplish.

I love working with Luanne and Femi, who are among the most energizing and disciplined leaders in our program. Both served as co-Presidents of the Black MBA Association.

Mr. Hernandez is one of the original founding members of the National Soicety of Hispanic MBAs.  Mr. Hernandez later achieved an MBA and served as a strategic consultant for private and government clients.

The Banquet is named after Prof. William D. Bradford, who initiated the annual banquet.  While at the Smith School, Prof. Bradford served as a Professor Finance, Finance Department Chair, Associate Dean, and Acting Dean.

The Bradford Banquet is also the transition event when the Black and Latin MBA boards transition leadership from the 1st Year to the 2nd Year students. Congratulations, everyone!