Smith School Business Summit

5th Annual Smith School Business Summit
Success in a VUCA World:
Leading in Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous Times

October 28, 2016

2016 HIGHLIGHTS: Soft Skills Reign at Smith School Business Summit
Companies worried about disruption need science and technology to stay relevant in the 21st century, but speakers at the fifth annual Smith School Business Summit pointed to soft skills as the real competitive advantage. “If you get leadership, management and culture right, everything else takes care of itself,” keynote speaker David Williams told an audience of more than 300 faculty, staff, students and working professionals gathered Oct. 28, 2016, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. Read more & watch video.

The Fifth Annual Smith School Business Summit (SSBS) was held on Friday, October 28, 2016, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel - 2500 Calvert Street, N.W., in Washington, D.C. 20008.

Each year, the event kicks off with a keynote address, followed by a series of panel discussions moderated by faculty from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business on a variety of relevant topics. The day concludes with a catered networking reception.

This year’s theme is: Success in a VUCA World: Leading in Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous Times. Our keynote speaker is David Williams, CEO of Merkle Inc., a leading customer relationship marketing agency that has counted Dell, GEICO and the American Heart Association among its clients.

This year’s panel topics focus on various aspects of disruption and innovation:


  • Innovating to Win in Emerging Markets (Moderated by Anil K. Gupta, Smith School’s Michael D. Dingman Chair in Strategy and Entrepreneurship)
  • Listening to the Quietest Voice in the Room (Moderated by Jeff McKinney, President, The Angkor Group)
  • Playing at the Cutting Edge Without Getting Hurt (Moderated by Oliver Schlake, Smith School clinical professor of management and organization)


  • I, Human: Rise of the Creativity Machines (Moderated by Jonathan Aberman, Smith School adjunct professor of entrepreneurship and strategy)
  • Now What? Converting Data into Insights (Moderated by Wendy W. Moe, Smith School professor and academic director, MS in Marketing Analytics)
  • Swimming with the Fintechs and Regulators (Moderated by Clifford Rossi, Smith School professor of the practice and executive-in-residence)

SSBS continues its tradition of bringing together students, business leaders, faculty and alumni in a mini-conference style event to share insights on current trends and strategies in the business world. The forum presents a great opportunity to exchange thought leadership between Smith and the regional business community.

The Smith School Business Summit is hosted by the Office of Career Services.

Robert H. Smith School of Business
Map of Robert H. Smith School of Business
University of Maryland
Robert H. Smith School of Business
Van Munching Hall
College Park MD 20742