Sep 202017



Saturday, October 7, 2017
9 a.m.–3 p.m.
Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland
Van Munching Hall, College Park, MD

If you’re thinking about getting an executive MBA, attending a program like “EMBA for a Day” will be a huge help in your decision-making process. Heading back to school can be daunting for someone who is at an executive level. You’re already winning in your career, but you want and need that extra polish to help you outshine your peers. It’s likely been more than a decade since you had to sit in a classroom for hours on end and spend most of your spare time studying.

Meeting other people who are at that same point in their careers is such a rewarding experience. I can say over and over again how great I think the EMBA program at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business was for me, but you won’t really understand what I mean until you see it, experience it, live it 24/7.

One day in the EMBA will give you a taste of what is to come in the program. Coming to EMBA for a Day might make you more nervous… but it’s going to be that excited nervous anticipation that comes with knowing you’re going to make a big decision that’s going to change your life.

Keep in mind that just wanting to get into the Maryland Smith EMBA program is not enough – you need to get accepted first! It’s not pay and play at a top-ranked school like Smith… but that makes the payoff at the end so sweet, right?


Jun 232017

Terps – Save the date for the 2017 #UMDSocial conference on August 3. I’m working on the planning committee and we have a very exciting keynote speaker and agenda lined up! A registration link will go out next week via email to the “UMD Communicators” list and the website will be updated. Seating is very limited, so you need to sign up ASAP in order to get a spot. This free event is for staff, students and faculty at the University of Maryland’s College Park campus. 

#UMDSocial 2017



Jun 222017

Summer Reading List 2017

I can’t believe it’s been 14 years since I started doing the ‘Summer Reading List for Business Leaders” at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. It is a really fun project that I enjoy doing each spring, and it’s typically our most read website story of the year.

I send out a call for recommendations at the beginning of May and give faculty members and administrators about a month to submit their suggestions, which include a short review about the book stating why they recommend it. 

I particularly like this year’s list, even though I’ve only read one of the books so far:

I personally recommend The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis. The author gives great insight into how we make decisions as he tells the story of two trailblazing psychologists: Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. For example, you’re playing roulette and it’s hit black 10 times in a row, you think: red has to come up next, right? Nope. Probabilities don’t change according to past results… Bayes’ Theorem / Gambler’s Fallacy / Law of Small Numbers. Learn about cognitive biases: the Anchoring Effect, Framing, Overconfidence Bias, Regression to the Mean, and the Halo Effect. Very interesting!

Complete list of books for your summer reading

Jun 202017

A new ranking by the Financial Times, released on June 19, 2017, recognized the Master of Finance program at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business as No. 4 in the nation and No. 38 in the world. This is the first time that Maryland Smith participated in the MFin rankings survey, so this is pretty awesome news! A lot of our MBA students do a double degree with MFin. Congrats to all of our MFin students, alumni and faculty!


Jun 152017

National Geographic Chasing Genius Challenge

Terps – National Geographic needs your big ideas! Help solve three of the most critical issues facing our world:

  1. Making our planet more sustainable
  2. Addressing growing needs for improving global health
  3. Ensuring we will be able to feed nine billion people by 2050 

Big ideas, the ones capable of fundamentally changing the planet, could come from anywhere, says Crista Gibbons, vice president of client solutions, strategy and operations at National Geographic. Crista graduated from the part-time MBA program at University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business in 2004 and leads a new initiative at National Geographic, called “Chasing Genius.”

To enter, create and submit a one-minute video describing your “genius” idea and the solution it provides to the Chasing Genius community. Submissions will be evaluated on the following criteria: innovation, creativity, viability and inspiration. Members of the Chasing Genius Council will select three winners and the general public will have the opportunity to choose an additional “People’s Choice” winner through the Chasing Genius platform. The four winners will receive $25,000 each to take their ideas further.

Learn more and apply today at

The deadline for submissions is July 31, 2017.


Repurposed content from this story I wrote for the Smith School website.

Jun 062017

Arfords at Ravens Stadium

Maryland Smith alumni, family and friends enjoyed an afternoon full of activities on June 3, 2017, at Smith Alumni Day. The event was held in the North Club at M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens. Attendees went on stadium tours, snapped photos with Testudo and Poe (the official mascot of the Ravens), and enjoyed a tailgate-themed buffet, stadium tours, games, contests, balloon animals, face painting, and a moon bounce.

This was particularly fun for me and my family since we are huge Terps and Ravens fans! 


May 282017
MBA Awards Banquet, Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland

MBA Awards Banquet, Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland

Commencement is always my favorite time of the school year. All of the students are so excited and relieved that they’ve made it through business school! This year, we revamped our graduation signs and got a photo booth for the MBA Awards Banquet. It was a lot of fun and the signs were a big hit. Our previous signs were really boring black on white – the new signs, as you can see, are vibrant and fun. It was easy to get people to use the photo booth at the banquet and participate in our commencement highlights video. People kept coming up to us and asking to use the signs for photos. Only issue was the glare from the flash at some angles – lesson learned to print on a more matted material next time.

MBA Banquet Highlights Story

Commencement Highlights Video:

Commencement Highlights Story, Full Video

May 222017

Commencement Speaker 2017

This year’s commencement keynote address at the Maryland Smith Bschool ceremony on May 22, 2017, was delivered by  Richard Dickson ’90, who serves as president and chief operating officer at Mattel with responsibility for all aspects of the toymaker’s portfolio of iconic brands, including Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, Monster High, and Thomas & Friends, as well as Toy Box, Mattel’s hub of toy innovation and invention.

As I listened to his speech, I thought to myself that his personal branding advice was really practical and relevant not only the to the new graduates, but for everyone in the audience at the Xfinity Center and those watching the live stream. At a few points during his speech, my colleagues and I broke out into spontaneous applause.

Dickson told graduates he had a big dream when he graduated from the University of Maryland – he wanted to run a large company with well-known brands in California, and he wanted to have a family “and be able to give them everything I possibly could to make their life experiences wonderful.”

He recalled how he went from bussing tables at SeaWorld in San Diego to leading one of the world’s most-loved toy brands, creating his own personal brand along the way.

“We each are defined by our own values, mission, character and boundaries,” he said. “Authentically living up to your promises and potential make your personal brand effective, and will make you more successful.”

He told the graduating students they can now stop focusing on their GPAs and start focusing on their GPS,  “The internal compass that helps you navigate the world and your career.”

“A lot changes in your life with this milestone today,” he told them, “but the most dramatic and most important change may be the firehose of decisions large and small you’ll now be facing every day. And that’s where personal brand management helps so much.”

Finally, he imparted some practical advice to the graduating students.

  • Look people in the eye. Give them a firm handshake, a sincere smile and speak clearly
  • Check your spelling
  • Write thank you notes (on paper)
  • Respect experience
  • Think before you post
  • Fail forward. Failure is inevitable; learn from it

This is an excerpt from the story I wrote for the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business website. Check out the entire story, see video and photo highlights here.