Success Stories


Rick Spadara

Meet Rick.

Meet Rick, a Smith MBA ’12 grad. As co-president of the MBA Finance Association, Rick organized the Smith’s M&A Competition, supported in-part by the Annual Fund, where he worked closely with Smith School staff to make the event a success. Those staff then connected Rick with an alumnus who needed the right person for a banking internship. Rick got the internship… and landed a full-time job at the UBS Leverage Finance Group after graduation.

My advice for future students? Get involved in activities beyond the classroom. These connections are going to get you far.

Rick Spadaro, MBA ’12


Brianna Burnette

Meet Brianna.

Meet Brianna, a Smith School undergraduate. As a scholarship recipient, Brianna understands the importance of philanthropy firsthand. This goes beyond just her scholarship to an appreciation for every corner of Van Munching Hall—our building filled with resources and innovative technology due to gifts from donors and alumni.

As a Smith School student, every day when I walk down the halls of Van Munching, I witness the generosity of many Smith School alumni. Philanthropy within the Smith School community brings a sense of success and inspiration. It sends a constant reminder that as you prosper in your career, always remember the ones who helped you along the way, and more importantly, remember to always help others’ dreams come true, too.

Brianna Burnette, Smith School Undergraduate


Meet our EMBAs.

Meet our EMBAs. Being part of an Executive MBA program means juggling established careers, family time and an intensive executive education program. The Annual Fund helps fund social events open to EMBAs and their families, events which foster networking and community building.

Getting your Smith EMBA is such an intense experience, so I always looked forward to the social events that the Smith School put on for us -- especially the BBQs and holiday parties. These events not only gave us the opportunity to relax and have some fun, but our families could also attend some events. I believe that really helped us build a strong and lasting community.

Alissa Arford, EMBA ‘10


Ritu Agarwal

Meet Ritu.

Meet Ritu and Rebecca. Both Smith School professors, they have many roles to play. In addition to being members of our stellar faculty, these women are also members of the greater academic community. The Annual Fund provides membership dues for Ritu, Rebecca and many other professors and PhD students, for the world’s top professional associations, so they can do what they do best: represent Smith as an intellectual force to be reckoned with. 

Memberships in professional societies are an outstanding way of connecting with new ideas and building relationships with colleagues at other institutions. My long-standing association with INFORMS, a leading professional society for operations research, management science, and information systems, has allowed me to play a variety of leadership roles in the profession, including my current position as Editor-in-Chief of one of the top journals in Information Systems.

Ritu Agarwal, Professor of Information Systems