Archive for October, 2011

Hospitality & Travel Club at Smith

October 31st, 2011 by under Smith Clubs. No Comments.

Next week Clay Gaynor, Narda Ipakchi and I will state the case to the MBAA to create a Hospitality & Travel Club at Smith for the first time. Our presentation will be the culmination of many months work identifying the need and strategizing how to implement the club.

The DC-area is home to 3 major hotel companies

Few people come to Smith realizing that it lays in the center of the country’s hospitality industry. Just miles from College Park are three of the biggest companies in the hotel business – Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide and Choice Hotels International.  Surrounding DC are three major airports, all of which serve as airline hubs. Throughout the city and metro area are restaurants and restaurant groups started by entrepreneurs with a passion for food and/or beverage. Until now Smith students have not had a way to tap into these markets.

While this would obviously be exciting to a club co-founder, I also believe it represents a big opportunity for the Smith community. Last year alone five second year students found full-time employment at a local hotel company, and four more found a summer internship – all without any organized engagement with the local hotel community. Imagine what Smith could do with a more organized and targeted effort led by the students towards these potential employers?

Recently Narda, Clay and I visited Marriott’s HQ to meet a few Smith alums. We were shocked at the number and the depth of interest from this untapped resource. Marriott does not formally recruit at Smith, but it seems like a relatively large portion end up there every year. Imagine if Smith could teach its current students a little about this industry before they join it?

At Smith we are previliged to be home to the Center for Service Excellence, led in part by Dr. Janet Wagner who has graciously agreed to serve as advisor to the Smith Hospitality & Travel Club.  This Center already partners with major industry players to provide research and share best practices. Imagine if Smith could leverage the intellectual capital of professors already engaged in hospitality-related research projects to attract potential employers?

Altogether we believe this makes for a great case to add a hospitality-focused club to the Smith community and we are excited about the potential of a better educating our classmates on this exciting industry.



MBAA Charity Golf Tournament

October 19th, 2011 by under Smith Sports. No Comments.

Snead. Palmer. Nicklaus. Tucker.

Each golfer dominated their era, the latter just happened to be known for his dominance of the Smith golf world. Like the former three though, Tucker would learn to face defeat for the first time in a Smith golf tournament.

Glenn Dale Golf Club played host to the 3rd Annual MBAA Charity Golf Tournament last Sunday, and eight teams of Smith full-time and part-time students, as well as alumni, joined to enjoy a day on the links. All proceeds from the event were donated to the Michael Scott Lamana and Eric Cranford Memorial MBA Fellowship Fund, created in 2001 to honor Smith MBAs who perished in the attack on the Pentagon.

"Old" Tony Ragano rears back for a drive

This year’s  event turned out to be an epic showdown, featuring a one stroke victory by the team of Eric Choi, John Gravel, Taylor Muckerman and Jennifer Spina, finish at five under par for the tournament. The victory was secured with a birdie-eagle finish, highlighted by an 18th hole eagle single-handedly secured by Gravel. Not since Watson’s victory in the 1977 “Duel in the Sun” has golf seen such a dramatic finish.

“The MBAA golf tournament was the perfect way to blow off some steam at the end of term A,” said Choi. “Our team was lucky to play well and take home first prize and we definitely will look to defend our title next year as alumnus.”

Muddying the results was a scorecard error by the team of Michelle Brown, Ward Sloane and Robert Bloomer, who’s miscount of their score left them at four under par, tied for second place with Tucker, Mark Manion and Jess Petitt, the tournament’s defending champions. The gaffe created a one hole playoff which was handily won by Tucker, Manion and Petitt.

The defending champions failed to create the momentum they did in last year’s six under par finish, particularly hindered by playing as the only three-man team without a rotating fourth shot. Clutch putting eluded the team throughout the round. A number of new participants also joined for the tournament, which exceeded either of the prior two tournaments in registrations.

Alas, this was a day for the winning team, whose mental tactics of hiding their place in the standings throughout the round created a false sense of security for the rest of the teams.

MBAA Golf Champions Muckerman, Gravel, Choi and Spina


Advertising Analysis with Hershey’s and Campbell’s

October 14th, 2011 by under Marketing, Smith Clubs. No Comments.

This week the Graduate Marketing Association (GMA) welcomed Smith alumni from two of the world’s most iconic brands – The Hershey Company and Campbell Soup Company – to share their insight’s on analyzing advertisements and preparing for marketing case interviews. Ed Edson, MBA ’09, and Don Wood, MBA ’08, shared their experience in consumer product marketing to an audience of GMA members, marketing faculty and Smith staff.

The evening’s event was led off by Dr. David Godes, who laid out the marketing framework for the audience. Leveraging this structured approach is crucial to marketing case interview preparation, particularly for those who can apply the framework without specifically referencing it. Of particular interest was sequential nature of the framework when used correctly: turning insights (5 C’s) into strategies (STPD) and strategies into actions (4 P’s).

Edson and Wood used a variety of TV and print ads to educate the audience on how to identify the consumer insight, targets and primary product benefits. The discussion about a Gatorade ad was particularly compelling – trying to identify the customer segment they targeted, while also gathering insides on the positioning and segmentation of the advertisement.

Practicing analysis of ads in this manner is crucial for those interested in acquiring the most sought after of MBA marketing careers – brand management. Case interviews often use examples such as those discussed, and Edson and Wood were both kind enough to share their insights as former Smith students, interviewers and alums.

It turns out the major take away from the event has a double meaning, as good MBA’s, just like the good brands they were referring to:

  • Stand for something distinctive
  • Offer a high quality product or service
  • Live up to their promises
  • Have a clearly defined personality and set of values

That might be a bit of a stretch, but go with it.



Marketing Communications Advisory Council

October 7th, 2011 by under Marketing. No Comments.

For the first time the Smith Office of Marketing Communications is building a student advisory council and we need your help. Dr. Ken White, Smith’s executive director of marketing communications, has reached out to the current cohorts to create a higher level of engagement between his team and the student body.

The council is designed to improve Smith’s internal and external communications by soliciting the feedback of current students – while also keeping a pulse on what’s going on at Smith. Board members will be asked to meet on a monthly basis to review current initiatives and provide updates on the buzz going around Smith – working together to make recommendations for further communications initiatives.

Why is this a great opportunity? First off, Smith is a brand near and dear to all our hearts, and the success of the Smith brand is very much aligned with all the students, staff and faculty at Smith. Second, it’s a excellent opportunity to share your perspective and garner real world marketing communications experience working with a team that is dedicated towards enhancing Smith’s brand image.

This advisory council is just another great step at the Smith School to enhance internal communications and student engagement. As a student it’s really empowering to know that the school is listening and looking for ways to improve – an incredible proposition considering the experience we have had thus far.

Board applications will be due by Oct 21st and those interested should contact Jess Petitt or Anthony Moniello if they have any questions.



Victorious Smith

October 6th, 2011 by under Smith Sports. No Comments.

As noted on our friend Anthony Moniello’s blog, Smith streaked to another triumphant intramural victory last night in the 3v3 basketball championship. A hearty congratulations to Anthony, Adam Kowalsky and Byron Hartman for an incredible victory over a worthy adversary. The RH Smithers leveraged a significant size advantage over a tenacious defense to pull out a close victory, 15-11. Special congrats to Byron for a great game playing shutdown defense in what might have been his best game of the short season.

I expect this to be the first of many “t-shirt” victories in the year ahead for what might be the most athletic cohort in Smith history. Next up, the 3rd Annual MBAA Charity Golf Tournament on October 16th at Glenn Dale Golf Course where myself, Jason Tucker and Mark Manion will battle to defend our school title.