Nov 022015

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Hello again! The first semester here at Smith is already half through and “Term A” has reached its conclusion. While our coursework and career searches are certainly time consuming, the benefits of overcoming the obstacles and achieving our goals are crystal clear.

Today I will discuss a unique quality of the Smith Full-Time MBA: Brand Identity. Every MBA program has their own “brand”, which includes how the school is perceived by both external onlookers as well as internal students and faculty members. However at most schools this brand identity is already written in stone, passed down from one cohort to the next, with an established reputation and an untouchable list of norms. For many MBA candidates, this scenario is just fine! At Smith, we think a bit differently.

Let’s look at the business world as a whole. Many of the most successful brands on Earth (i.e. Apple, Google, etc.) have evolved considerably over time. Apple once put nearly all their focus on computers, however it wasn’t until the company shifted towards consumer products that the brand truly exploded. Google was a mere search engine before it became… well… GOOGLE! In a nutshell: evolution is good (just ask Darwin).

At Smith, we take that concept to heart. “We” can include everybody, whether it’s the Dean, Masters Program Office, Admissions Team, professors, and most importantly- the current students. The Smith brand is constantly evolving, and we believe evolution leads to improvement.

I come from a startup environment. While working for a previous startup company, our teams constantly discussed ways to improve our internal processes, external brand image, and core business offerings. Our ideas were then recorded, solidified, and executed. When I visited the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, that same incredibly passionate startup vibe rang true throughout the program.

At Smith, your voice matters. After every day of our 2-week MBA Orientation, each student completes an in-depth survey in order to collect data on the day’s workshops and enhance the experience going forward. Throughout the ensuing semesters at Smith, there are countless community meeting lunches that are designed to allow anyone to voice their opinion and suggest a way we can improve the program (these lunches also include FREE BUFFET FOOD!!!). At the very beginning of our Smith experience, the legendary Professor Lele led a group discussion with our entire cohort to define what this year’s “norms” will be and to share with all program executives what we as students expect to gain from our MBA experience. From top to the bottom, each person at Smith is striving to evolve and improve.

lifeatsmithLastly, I cannot discuss the Smith brand identity without mentioning our positive and collaborative culture (yes, “CULTURE”, that same word every school claims is their greatest asset, but let me explain). Here at Smith, when one of us succeeds, all of us succeed. The Smith brand has evolved and improved drastically over the years (as the school rankings would suggest), and the most evident proof that we can showcase to the world is the continued success of our fellow classmates. There is no inner-competition in this program, because we know that every individual victory makes each one of us more attractive to employers, gives us another esteemed connection within our closely knit network, and most importantly, continues to improve the Smith brand. Every school is different, but I can assure you that after completing my MBA school search, only Smith captured my passion for evolution, change, and collaborative success.

For more info on my Smith experience or to ask me any and all questions, please email me at Thank you for reading and (with basketball season just around the corner) LET’S GO TERPS!

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