July 29, 2017 - The sun peeked out of the clouds, heralding the end of a long, heavy rain just as Executive MBA graduates from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business marked the culmination of a challenging, transformative journey.
During his commencement address, Associate Dean Mike Faulkender pointed out what an enriching experience this was, not only for the EMBA graduates, but for faculty as well.
Faulkender recalled one professor telling him, “My experience with Cohort 16 executives was phenomenal. When engaging in discussions they consistently brought value to everyone’s learning experience, including my own. One of my responsibilities is to challenge our students. I love the fact that they also challenged me. Cohort 16 is an excellent example of why I love what I do.”
Mark Vedete, EMBA ’17, was elected to be the student speaker, a Smith EMBA tradition. He reflected on the tremendous respect he has for his peers, “We are an all-star team, one of the most accomplished and diverse ever to walk the halls of the Robert H. Smith School of Business.”
A lifelong Yankees fan, Vedete closed his address with a rendition of a line from the song “New York, New York” with a twist: “If I can make it here, I’ll make it anywhere. It’s up to you, cohort, cohort!”
A celebratory mood filled the auditorium as the Smith’s newest alumni filed out, equal parts relieved to have completed the rigorous program and proud of their personal and professional growth over the past 19 months.
Academic Director Rob Sheehan said faculty and staff would be sorry to see them go, but were excited about the difference they would make.
“They worked exceptionally hard during the past nineteen months to seize as much learning as they possibly could from the program. They were cohesive as a cohort and supported one another through all of the challenging hard work.” he said, “We are excited to see the things they continue to do making a positive impact out in the world.”