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Build Your Personal Board, Speaker Tells Graduates

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.

Oct 14, 2015

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Mark ManoffAspiring business leaders should develop a personal board of directors to help them navigate their careers, keynote speaker Mark J. Manoff ’78 said May 21, 2015, at the Smith School undergraduate commencement.

“It’s natural in a transition time like this — from college to career — for you to fret about the company you will work for,” Manoff told the graduates. “But it’s actually more important to focus on the company you keep.”

Manoff, the Americas Vice Chair at accounting firm EY, started a term as chair of the Smith School Board of Advisors on July 1, 2015.

He said the No. 1 thing he looks for when evaluating talent is a “whole person,” meaning someone courageous enough to take measured risks, confident enough to know what he or she doesn’t know, and engaged enough to express divergent viewpoints.

“These are things you cannot do well by yourself,” he said. “If you surround yourself with the right people, you will increase your odds of success.”

Overall, about 1,200 students graduated from the Smith School in two ceremonies at the Xfinity Center in spring 2015. The first ceremony honored undergraduate students, and a separate ceremony later the same day honored masters and PhD students.

Smith Dean Alex Triantis delivered the keynote address at the second ceremony.