Top News / April 10, 2014

Smith School Business Summit Addresses Innovation

On March 28, 2014, at the North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Bethesda, Md., students, faculty and business professionals met for the third annual Smith School Business Summit.  This year’s theme looked at innovation as an essential building block for the prosperity and survival of corporations. With more than 600 registered attendants, it was the largest Summit yet.

The Summit is hosted by the school’s Office of Career Services (OCS) and is intended to bridge the gap between academia and industry. A series of 10 panels addressing cutting-edge issues aligned with the summit’s theme of innovation.

Jeffrey Kudisch, assistant dean of corporate relations and managing director of Smith’s Office of Career Services, welcomed attendees and said, “The Summit was designed to allow our Smith School students, faculty and alumni to learn about key trends, innovations and challenges in today’s business environment by inviting leaders and professionals from the surrounding business community to share their insights and ideas.” Kudisch added that the Summit also “inspires research opportunities based on the various exchanges, and fosters opportunities to network and connect with business professionals within our backyard – the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area.”

The keynote for this year’s summit was Smith School Dean Alex Triantis, who spoke about managing risk in innovation. Triantis reflected on one of his earliest experiences with innovation management, researching the organizational culture at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) as a PhD student at Stanford University. It was at this facility that the personal computer (PC) was first explored and developed, but the company failed to commercialize the project. Instead, a young start-up – Apple Computers – pursued the idea following a visit to PARC. Triantis’ advice, informed by this failure in organizational culture and the study of risk and decision making tools over the course of his career, was to manage innovation by:

  • investing in growth options (and be prepared to try a lot of options)
  • being flexible, and pivoting – as start-ups do when they shift their focus towards what’s working
  • emphasizing learning – particularly by doing, and looking at what others are doing

As a business school, Smith is trying to manage innovation in its educational delivery models.  The dean called upon business partners in industry to partner with the school.

Other topics addressed at the Summit, and moderated by Smith faculty, ranged from banking in a non-QE era and healthcare analytics to the war for talent and resiliency as a new business imperative.

Stephen Gould, MBA candidate 2015, said, “Interacting with and learning from such outstanding professionals in so many different fields [at the Smith School Business Summit] reinforced my perception of Smith as a powerhouse in the business world and even further convinced me that I’m in the right place.”

Stephen Bennett, assistant director of employer and business development at Smith, managed this year’s event for OCS. “This year’s event was bigger and better than ever. We had some very insightful sessions with great questions from the audience,” said Bennett. “I also want to give a big thanks to all of our speakers and our corporate sponsors: Marriott and DORMA.”


Best Practices in Using Social Media to Create Value for Customers

Moderator: Dr. Janet Wagner


  • Alphonse MacDonald, The National Academies
  • Lucia Stoller, Marriott International
  • Brian Lustig, Bluetext
  • Jonathan Rick, The Jonathan Rick Group

The War for Talent: Taking Battle Strategies to New Levels

Moderator: Dr. Jeffrey Kudisch


  • Dr. Eric Barger, McCormick & Company
  • Philip Altschuler, Gables Residential
  • Jennifer Cowley, Deloitte
  • Wil VandeWiel, DORMA Americas

Panel Discussion on Healthcare Analytics

Moderator: Dr. Bruce Golden


  • Margret Bjarnadottir, Smith School
  • John Silberholz, MIT
  • Arnie Greenland, IBM
  • Suchi Saria, The Johns Hopkins University

Banking in a Non-QE Era

Moderator: Dr. Haluk Unal


  • Richard Brown, FDIC
  • Al Ciafre, Capital One Financial Corporation
  • Louis Moore, BB&T
  • August Chiasera, M&T Bank Corporation

Resiliency: The New Business Imperative

Moderator: Lisa Harrington


  • Stephen Craig, enVista
  • John Corso, Coastal Subelt Produce
  • Matthew Feely, U.S. Navy Retired

Angry Bird Strategy – Opportunities in Gamification as a Strategy

Moderator: Dr. Oliver Schlake


  • Barry Tanner, Booz Allen Hamilton / Naval Reserve Navy Cyber Forces
  • Porter Stowell, IBM
  • Steve Lunceford, Deloitte 

Startup Accelerators: Building Great Companies or Building False Hope

Moderator: Dr. Brent Goldfarb


  • John Bullard, Distil Networks
  • Deborah Tilett, Emerging Technology Centers (DTC)
  • Jonathon Perrelli, Fortify Ventures
  • Aaron Epstein, Creative Market

Creating Shared Value: A Corporate View of Leadership and Change-making

Moderator: Melissa Carrier


  • Alison Taylor, Siemens Corporation
  • Angela Peluso, Verizon
  • John D. Trybus, Waggener Edstrom Communications
  • Gavin Cepelak, PYXERA Global

Data Science and Financial BIGDATA

Moderator: Dr. Louiqa Raschid


  • Michael Atkin, Enterprise Management Council
  • Nitish Sinha, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Bill Nichols, U.S. Department of the Treasury
  • Shawn Mankad, Robert H. Smith School of Business

The State of Financial Regulation at the SEC: A Conversation about Dodd-Frank and the JOBS Act

Modertor: Dr. Kathleen Hanley


  • Scott W. Bauguess, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Jennifer Marietta-Westberg, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Jonathan Sokobin, FIRNA

For more information about the event, visit or check out the event hashtag on Twitter @SmithSchool #BusinessSummit. 

Alissa Arford & Andrew Kneale, Office of Marketing Communications

Media Contact

Greg Muraski
Media Relations Manager
301-892-0973 Mobile 

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 flex MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, business 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.

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