News at Smith

Smith Alum Asks: What’s Your Big Idea?

Jul 10, 2017
Entrepreneurial Spirit


Big ideas, the ones capable of fundamentally changing the planet, could come from anywhere, says Crista Gibbons, vice president of client solutions, strategy and operations at National Geographic.

Gibbons, who graduated from the part-time MBA program at University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business in 2004, leads a new initiative at National Geographic, called “Chasing Genius.”

“You don’t need to be a research scientist to come up with the next big idea. At National Geographic, we believe transformational ideas can come from anyone,” Gibbons says. “Chasing Genius provides a platform for 'everyday geniuses' to share ideas, big and small, that can create real impact in the world.”

Gibbons has spent her career trying to make a difference through the work that she does, first in the nonprofit space and now at National Geographic.

She is excited to invite members of the University of Maryland community to join in the challenge, which asks innovators to tap their inner genius for ideas that have the potential to solve three of the most critical issues facing our world:

  1. Making our planet more sustainable
  2. Addressing growing needs for improving global health
  3. Ensuring we will be able to feed nine billion people by 2050 

To enter, create and submit a one-minute video describing your "genius" idea and the solution it provides to the Chasing Genius community. Submissions will be evaluated on the following criteria: innovation, creativity, viability and inspiration. Members of the Chasing Genius Council will select three winners and the general public will have the opportunity to choose an additional "People's Choice" winner through the Chasing Genius platform. The four winners will receive $25,000 each to take their ideas further.

Learn more and apply today at

The deadline for submissions is July 31, 2017.

- Alissa Arford, Office of Marketing Communications

About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty master's, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.

Robert H. Smith School of Business