MBA Students Take Center Stage in Improv Class
Posted Feb. 25, 2011. Updated November 20, 2012
MBA students at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business
have the opportunity to participate in a unique improv course taught by acclaimed Broadway
actor, Marc Kudisch, a three-time Tony Award nominee and 2007 Helen Hayes Award
winner. (Kudisch was nominated for his roles in Sycamore Trees and Golden Age
for the 2011 Helen Hayes Awards.)
Students – dressed casually in work-out clothes and socks – form a circle around Kudisch
who takes them through a series of theatrical exercises, including improvisation
and view pointing (a technique of composition that provides a vocabulary for thinking
about and acting upon movement and gesture).
The session helps enhance participants’ self-confidence, listening skills, adaptability
in a variety of environments, and increases their ability to think quickly and respond
on their feet. Kudisch says that improvisation, “is not lying, and is not a performance;
it is being present and instinctively reactive to the community conversation – adding
to the conversation.”
Self-awareness is critical for success and we’ve been working on that with
students in the Smith MBA program, says Dr. Jeff Kudisch, Marc’s brother and executive director
of the school’s Office of Career Services. These kinds of workshops help students
understand who they are so they can add impact to society – you have to know where
you’re starting to know where you’re going, he said.
“The biggest take away from the workshop for me was developing a presence,
learning how to listen to cues around you and reacting to those cues,” says Kiati Plooksawasdi,
a recent Smith executive MBA grad. “As a presenter, you prepare by practicing the
material with a goal to deliver a specific message. But what happens when the tone
of the audience change or questions move the conversation to a different direction?
This workshop begins to prepare you on how to adapt and move with the audience.
In a word...AWESOME!” See photos from the event at
Full-time Smith MBA student Stephen Huie says, “Even though this was billed as
a workshop on public speaking, it was much more about developing the philosophy
and practice of being attentive, self aware, and expressive. Marc [Kudisch] definitely
communicated the application of this ‘soft focus’ to maintaining poise and presence
when we’re pitching an idea or presenting an analysis.”
Read more about the session in
Huie’s MBA blog.
Alissa Arford, Office of Marketing Communications