The MBA Association (MBAA) serves the full-time student body of the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. The MBAA is the primary interface between the student body and the administration in order to enhance the Smith MBA experience.
As the MBAA, we pledge to facilitate the continued growth of the Smith community by creating an environment of open communication and opportunities for both personal and professional growth. The MBAA is responsible for the oversight of MBA student clubs, management of finances, and implementation of new and existing policies or initiatives. In addition, the MBAA plans special social events throughout the school year to foster collaboration among Smith students, faculty, administration, and alumni.
The constitution for the MBA Association outlines the operating policies and procedures for the the full-time MBA student population. It outlines the roles and responsibilities of the officers as well as the governing principles for the clubs.
We, the members of the MBA Association, in order to improve the full-time Robert H. Smith MBA community, enhance the overall experience for its students, and maximize the value of the Robert H. Smith brand, establish this Constitution of the MBA Association.
Giuseppe LaCandia, President
As the President of the MBA Association, I work to execute the strategic vision for the development of the full-time MBA program. I work closely with the student clubs, the MBAA board, and in coordination with the Dean’s Office, Masters Programs Office, Office of Career Services, and the Office of Development and Alumni Relations.
During my time as president, I want to improve the way that students organize themselves to engage with the administration to improve the value of a Smith MBA. With the support of the clubs, I want to launch a professional development committee that will align our professional clubs to collaborate more with our Office of Career Services. With the program’s shift to “data-driven decision making.” I want to build linkages between groups both inside and outside of the Smith School of Business to give the students more of an opportunity to build quantitative skills outside of the classroom.
Finally, the Smith community is a huge reason why a lot of us decided to come here for school. The feeling of community is impossible to quantify and difficult to define. We have found that sense of community here, but it doesn’t mean that it can’t be strengthened. Going forward, the MBAA board and I will hold town hall meetings every term to engage with the student body.
Outside of the President role, I am pursuing a consulting role that focuses on global strategy and emerging markets. Born and raised outside of Chicago, IL, I attended the University of Kansas (Rock Chalk Jayhawk, Go KU!), where I received my bachelors in International Relations and Peace and Conflict Studies. My professional history has taken me all over the world as a marketing consultant in Southeast Asia, to a governor’s office staffer, to a healthcare project manager in Springfield, IL. Come talk to me about international affairs, ‘90s hip hop, cycling, healthcare policy, and the Chicago Bears.
Fun fact: I spent three years working as a French-style, artisan bread baker to help pay for college
Stephanie Gomez, Executive VP
As Executive VP, my goal is to provide the foundation of aid our clubs and by extension, all our classmates need as your contributions are invaluable to the MBA experience. The mix of professional, academic, and social events provide the Smith community opportunities to learn about diverse functions, cultures, and form lasting relationships that go beyond our two years here.
As MBA students our time is valuable I pledge to carry out the logistics of what you require so that your vision can be accomplished. I will work to maintain a balance to these events so that you are given numerous occasions to participate and further connections between students, their families, and faculty. I am open to suggestions to further provide meaningful programming and getting to know each of you, so stop me in the hall and say hi!
Fun fact: I was left handed twice as a kid but switched over to right by adults. I still believe I would have been as successful as Picasso
Patrick Smith, VP of Finance
As VP of Finance I strive to allocate our budget in a way that is balanced but impactful. The events we host as a program form a huge part of our collective experience here at Smith and it is imperative that we continue to fund these in a responsible way. This year has challenged us to make more tradeoffs than in years past, and I have tried to adjust by focusing on what is essential to the program and what might be passed on to future classes.
In addition, I am looking to find ways to be more transparent surrounding the reimbursement process. While the MBAA doesn’t always have complete control over the timing in which reimbursements are processed, we can always communicate to students in a clear and transparent way to ensure students that we are acting in line with what can be expected from a top university.
I look forward to continually working with my classmates in the coming year to identify events and ideas worthy of MBAA funding. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments surrounding the way we’re spending our money or processing reimbursements.
Fun fact: I worked as a poker dealer for 2 years in undergrad
Melissa Borts, VP of Marketing & Communications
As the VP of Marketing & Communications I would like to maintain the current marketing and communication of MBAA activities. II would like to focus my efforts on optimizing current activities, making processes more efficient and easy for both myself and clubs/individuals to spread the word of their events. I would like to also work very closely with Smith Centers of Excellence (Such as Dingman, Center for Social Value Creation, etc.) to assist with improving their marketing strategies, and provide any guidance or advice to reaching more students for their planned events. With my background in nonprofit communication and marketing I have the capabilities necessary to continue the MBAA Weekly Newsletter, clubs’ websites, and brainstorming new and creative efforts to engage the MBA student body on various levels of communication.
I plan to add a virtual billboard on the charging station TV, where individuals can submit an announcement for upcoming employer events, club events, or any related and appropriate MBA info/requests. I will also begin an effort to highlight MBA students and faculty in the MBAA Weekly Newsletter. This interview/article will allow our class to gain a deeper understanding of each other’s backgrounds and gain a sense of appreciation for the diversity of our cohort.
Fun fact: I go scuba diving every 6 months in order to keep up my certification
Vigneshwaran Ilango, VP of International Student Affairs
Each one of us have taken out two years of our life and come back to school to take ourselves higher both personally and professionally. While that is what we expect from Smith, we also have a huge responsibility of making this place better than what it was when we came here. I personally think that as international students, we have more responsibility to ensure this, since apart from the education Smith is providing us, it has been our new home away from home. It is important for us to be closely knit unit (both domestic and international), help each other out, be there for each other, especially in the current situation where the visa regulations are much harder, to excel individually and in turn take Smith to new heights. As VP of International Student Affairs, I would like to help maintain a cordial atmosphere that would enable us to do this.
Fun fact: I try and learn one new sport every year. I’m a certified paragliding pilot
Natnapin Tangpipith, VP of Signature Events
As the VP of Signature Events, I am thrilled for the upcoming school year. Signature events are important to me because it is one of the contributing factors that underline the bond and connection in our community. It is a chance where the whole community gets together to share a special moment.
In my capacity, I plan to continue all signature events with enhancement. In doing so, I plan to make a conscientious effort to provide not only fairness and transparency – but also increase community engagement and involvement to the wider MBA community. For example, in lieu of the VP of Signature Events picking members of the annual Awards Committee, member selection is open to all 1st years.
I also plan to increase cross-collaboration between members in the MBAA board to ensure more meaningful activity for the cohort and better usage of the budget. For example, in collaboration with the VP of Community Development & Social Value, second year send-off will be a unique experience that allows for bonding and interactive engagement. By leveraging my past experience in project management, combined with personal relationships within the community, I plan to execute my position effectively.
Fun fact: I am the youngest out of 33 grandchildren on one side of the family
Nicholas Wiley, VP of External Relations
As the VP of External relations I would like to extend the full time MBA’s outreach to Master of Science, Part-Time MBA, and Executive MBA programs. I would also like to create initiatives for our FTMBA program to provide value for alumni and hold a signature event that engages the full time MBA program with all external parties.
Smith is a close-knit group which means that we are very passionate about supporting each other and I think that with the proper focus we can continue to be a top tier program. I am very grateful for experience at Smith and have jumped in headfirst into roles on the MBAA board, Entrepreneurship Club board, several case competitions, and will be receiving a dual degree in Master of Science in Information Systems and Masters in Business Administration.
Fun fact: I have founded two companies, have two patents, and have written a book all relating to tourism of the historic Gettysburg Battlefields in Pennsylvania
Lacy Kline, VP of Professional Development & Ethics
During my time as VP of Professional Development and Ethics, I plan to develop regular programming centered upon key concepts in leadership development: managing up/down/across, mentorship, messaging, crisis management, etc.
Furthermore, I hope to serve as a sound board for club board members if they require additional support or guidance so that all of us can get the most out of the Smith experience. I hope that we can learn from the experiences all of us bring to the table to make our school experiences the most impactful that they can be.
Additionally, in my various jobs in personnel, I have learned how to handle sensitive information. I will ensure that our classmates have a safe space to talk about any ethical concerns that may arise at school or elsewhere. I plan to be an open sounding board able to meet the needs of my peers and bring us together to learn and grow.
Fun fact: I am nearly done reading the 65 Books You Need to Read In Your 20s and would also recommend them to all of you
Garrett Coffman, VP of Community Development & Social Value
As the VP of Community Development and Social Value, Garrett is honored to have the opportunity to share his vision of how to impact the Smith community. The community we share at Smith is rich with the skills, knowledge, and experience each individual contributes. We can harness these elements to identify and achieve our community’s common goals. Our vibrant class is filled with members from across the globe, and it is necessary that we consistently invest in learning more about one another’s cultures and backgrounds. We thrive as a community thanks to the excellent affinity and professional clubs and that provide ways for us to connect to one another.
The next step is for us to pull these worlds together as a way to foster stronger understanding. Cross-cultural social engagement activities that focus on the intersections of many of our identities will help us to deepen our relationships with one another and learn about our community in a new way. A strong sense of community is incredibly important to relationship building and self-development; feeling accepted and welcomed by peers, friends and staff is a necessity for those of us whose existence is oft underrepresented or marginalized.
Fun fact: I once met former Bear’s coach Mike Ditka then quit playing football the following season
Vivek Mehrotra, VP of Student Affairs
As the rising second year VP of Student Affairs, Vivek is in charge of 2 major events, Orientation and the Spring Student Survey. Orientation is a key event for the incoming MBA class, where we set the stage for their time at Smith. The role of the VP of Student Affairs is to act as an organizer and creator of content. His goal will be to work closely with the orientation committee to refine the program. Ultimately providing the incoming class with an understanding of what to expect from Smith. Before coming to Maryland, he worked as a General Manager of a restaurant, where he revamped the onboarding and training programs. He will use these experiences to ensure our incoming class gains valuable experience and is ready to tackle the demands of their first semester.
The other main event is the Spring Student Survey, the key for the growth and development of our program. His plan is to convey the strengths and areas of improvement for this program, from the student’s perspective, giving the faculty a well-rounded view on where they need to focus on developing the program. Aside from these two major capstones, he plans to act as a liaison between the students and faculty, regarding any academic or administrative concerns.
Fun fact: I had a guest role on The Real Housewives of Potomac
Please save reimbursement forms in the respective Dropbox and notify VP of Finance once submitted. This includes the following forms:
- Itemized Receipt.
- Attendee List. (Socials do not need attendee lists)
- Marketing Materials, if applicable. As an example, a copy of a flyer, blast email, or Facebook post. (Socials do not need marketing materials)
Students can expect reimbursements within 1 week, provided relevant paperwork has been submitted. Please use the MBAA debit card whenever possible, as it eliminates the need to reimburse students, and increases transparency surrounding program spending. Note that the normal paperwork needs to be submitted on Dropbox when using the MBAA card.
Form of Reimbursement: We do not reimburse via Venmo, rather preferred methods are Check or Paypal.
Questions surrounding this process can be directed to the VP of Finance email at firstname.lastname@example.org.