Dean’s Message – Greg Hanifee, Assistant Dean of Executive Programs
Dear EMBA Alumni,
As we recently sent off another group of 41 EMBA "students" into the alumni ranks, the timing is perfect for our latest newsletter. This edition will be our last for the summer (not that we're taking it off!), but given the information overload we all experience, we've listened to your feedback and moving forward we will provide updates on a quarterly basis, starting this fall.
Make sure you stay connected to us on LinkedIn, and we hope you saw our special note out about our Gettysburg Alumni weekend, Sept. 28-29 (more information is below). Based on last year's comments, it promises to be another unique, valuable and fun life long learning experience.
Enjoy the rest of the summer!
Greg Hanifee, Assistant Dean
In this issue:
As many of you may know, Dr. Jeffrey Kudisch, Smith’s Managing Director of the Office of Career Services, has taught extensively in Smith’s EMBA program, both mastery sessions and as an executive coach. In this quick article, Jeff gives insights to ensuring you are projecting the professional image you hope to project. Consider how you would be roasted, what three words would your colleagues use to describe you, etc. You can read the entire article online.
For the most recent cohort, we developed an informal mentoring programing, pairing Smith alumni with current cohort students. One of these parings was between Don Kandel, from Cohort 9 and Farooq Cheema of Cohort 12. Farooq and Don connected in early March and have been talking to each other routinely – meeting in DC, exchanging e-mails, and connecting by phone. While there is a lot of discussion about Farooq’s coursework and experiences, the relationship has morphed to a much deeper level. Don has been assisting Farooq with developing an ancillary business project that may be one of the ALPs projects chosen within the cohort. In addition, because we matched based upon experience and fields of expertise, Don is assisting Farooq outside the EMBA program in developing tracks for his business that were not even thought of before this pairing. Another benefit of being a part of the Smith community!
We are looking for more alumni like Don who would like to engage with incoming students to help as they navigate the time before the program (i.e. what should I do to prepare, how can I decide if Smith is the right program for me, etc.) and those initial months of the program. The time commitment varies and is driven by both the alum and incoming student. Some merely touch base when introduced and at the beginning of the program. Some, like Don and Farooq realize the benefit of leveraging a more involved relationship as alum and current student.
If you are interested in helping, e-mail Shelbi Brookshire at email@example.com.
On August 15, the Center for World Class Universities at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China, released its 2012 Academic Rankings of World Universities. The University of Maryland and the Robert H. Smith School of Business are ranked No. 23 in the world for academic and research performance in business/economics. Read more.
EMBAs vs. Kindergartners
I had the great pleasure to teach EMBA11 a few weeks ago as part of a mastery session on innovation. As part of this class, we asked the question of whether or not EMBA students are better than kindergarteners at building a tall tower, which supports a marshmallow and is made out of dried spaghetti, tape, and string. Are EMBAs at Smith better than your average kindergartener? No and yes. Let me explain.
When I first presented this challenge to the ten teams of EMBA 11’s from my IT strategy class, I think they thought I was kidding. What's the big deal? What could we possibly learn? Well, most teams proceeded like any EMBA team project by planning, discussing, and dividing responsibilities. Unfortunately, that took about half of the eight minutes allocated to building the tallest tower. This time would have been better spent experimenting with the material and learning about the weight of a marshmallow and the strength of dried spaghetti. For most teams, building took place with only four minutes to go. The marshmallow only went on top of the spaghetti tower with ten seconds left. For most teams, this was problematic because they built very tall towers that were not strong enough to hold the weight of a marshmallow. In fact, the weight of the marshmallow was a "hidden assumption" that most teams didn't know until it was too late. The result was a median height of 0". Round 1 for the kindergartners who have a higher median height because they start experimentation much earlier and they don't have as many preconceived ideas about the weight of a marshmallow.
Now that we "failed," it was time to talk about the hidden assumption of the marshmallow weight and how there may be better innovation and learning through experimentation. With this new knowledge, the EMBA11 teams jumped right into experimentation in round 2. Gone was the team chatter that had caused such a din in the room during round 1. Now, the EMBA11 teams were productive right away. Towers that had previously been built with no marshmallow, now had the marshmallow incorporated into the structure from the start. The towers "rose" from the desks the way a tree might grow instead of being constructed like a lego house from the ground up. Needless to say, round 2 went to EMBA11. The kindergartners didn't have a chance.
The take-aways from this fun activity remind us acknowledge the hidden assumption in what we do, focus on the goal instead of the process to get to a goal, iterate often, and never underestimate the value of learning. Perhaps that last part is a good lesson for us all, professors and students alike.
On Friday, June 15, 90 students, staff and faculty boarded Terp buses and headed north to tour Under Armour’s Baltimore headquarters. The joint mastery session was designed to reinforce many of the discussions that have occurred in the classroom. Prior to the trip, students were required to write a short paper on UA’s strategy and positioning.
As many of you know, Maryland alumnus Kevin Plank launched Under Armour during his quest for the perfect t-shirt - one that did not absorb liquid and weigh him down during his time on the Maryland football team. Since then, Under Armour’s financial and brand growth has been something of a phenomena, increasing its 2012 first quarter net revenue 23% to $384M compared with net revenue of $313M in 2011’s first quarter. In addition to the significant revenue growth, UA is synonymous with quality products with sleek designs and memorable branding – and inspiring commercials to boot!
The experience included a tour of the facilities including studio space where clients are introduced to their products, their innovation lab, the team mates’ (i.e. employees) gym and cafeteria. The day was wrapped up with a discussion by Matt Mirchin – Senior Vice President, Sports Marketing and Stu Redsun – Senior Vice President, Global Brand Marketing and Q&A session. Of course, it was an academic experience.
It was apparent throughout the tour that UA lives and breathes its brand – “we make athletes better” – across its facilities and employees.
Need to locate a subject matter expert or simply reconnect with a classmate? We strongly urge you to consider joining the Robert H. Smith School of Business Executive MBA Alumni LinkedIn group. Approximately one-third of our alumni have already joined the group. Contact Shelbi Brookshire at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any difficulty finding/joining the group.
Thank you to all those who attended the summer lunches. It was a great time to reconnect and take a moment to learn about professional and personal changes. I learned about new babies and moves to new organizations. We even had the opportunity for a quick photo of Ron Josey’s (cohort 5) preferred method of transportation in Washington, D.C.
September 28-29, 2012
Join us and your EMBA cohort mates and colleagues for the 2nd Annual Smith EMBA Gettysburg Leadership Retreat. This unique, interactive and unforgettable experience combines history and leadership lessons from the battle of Gettysburg. We will depart from Gaithersburg, Md., on Friday, Sept. 28, travel to Gettysburg, Pa., and return on Saturday, Sept. 29.
The two-day program will be led by Gettysburg experts and Vice Dean Joyce E.A. Russell. We will spend Friday on the battlefield, walking in the footsteps of leaders, reviewing their leadership and resource allocation decisions. In the evening, we will hold a reception/networking event and wrap things up on Saturday morning with a session on thought leadership, returning to Shady Grove by noon.
October 25-27, 2012
Net Impact is a community of 30,000 changemakers originally geared towards full time MBA students. The popularity of sustainability and ethical business has grown the organization to include students, employers, etc. We are thrilled to have the 20th Anniversary Net Impact Conference in Baltimore this year. Visit the website to learn more.
Kristina Bailey, current EMBA 12 student, recently welcomed twins Gabrielle (6 lbs) and Petrina (6 lbs 4 ozs) Bailey. Mom and daughters are doing well.
Bill Bruce, EMBA 10, has accepted the newly created role of Chief Technology Officer at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons in Rosemont, IL. As CTO, he will be responsible for technology strategy, Information Services, Membership Services, Customer Services and Online Publishing.
Chris Harbert, EMBA 10, recently joined Resonate at the Director of Information Quality. Resonate is a three year-old venture-capital backed start-up that provides marketing and advertising services. The company conducts data-driven research to provide a values-based approach to marketing and advertising reminding Chris a lot of what he learned in the Marketing Strategy course. Chris will be responsible for building the QA team and ensuring that the company has quality data and products.
Ron Josey, Cohort 5, welcomed identical twins Ronald Victor Josey IV and Lucas Tomas Josey on May 31st. Congratulations Ron!!!
Natesh Manikoth, EMBA 1, CTO of Transportation, Central & Local Government for Xerox State & Local Solutions, Inc. has two recent articles you may find interesting. On the Huffington Post blog - Connecting the Dots: Innovation in Transportation and Beyond and an article on an innovation to clear up traffic in LA.
Marty Sullivan, Cohort 10, recently accepted the position of Senior Manager, Business Development with Wyle in the Aerospace Group.
EMBA Alumni Newsletter
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