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The Richmond MBA News & Notes

August 2018

MBA Community:


We wrapped up the 2018 MBA Opening Residency on Sunday and classes started on Monday, so fall is officially here! This year, 24 students arrived at the Jefferson Hotel for the first weekend of Opening Residency. Faculty members presented seminars, and some of our distinguished alumni shared their expertise to prepare students for their first graduate consulting assignment.

This year, students developed a strategic plan for Handyma’am Goods, a clothing brand for women in arts and trade industries. After meeting with Handyma’am’s CEO, Bella Weinstein, the students spent the week preparing recommendations for the business. You can read more about our students’ experience in the full story below.

This summer, International Residency students explored Zagreb, Croatia, visiting multiple businesses in the region to gain a better understanding of how business is conducted across the world. You can look through the pictures of their trip in the International Business announcements section of this newsletter.

Over the summer, Tara Stewart accepted a position as assistant to the UR athletic director, but we are thrilled to welcome Amanda Ennis as our new program manager. She joins us from George Washington University in D.C., where she coordinated their professional leadership doctoral program. Be sure to stop by the MBA office to welcome her!

This newsletter also features two of our most recent capstone projects, one with SuperFit, a CrossFit company in RVA, and one with Hydro Aluminum, a global metals company with 35,000 employees in 40 different countries. We hope they will inspire our newest students for when the time comes for their own Capstone Project before graduation. Congratulations to all of our new students for completing Opening Residency, and best wishes to everyone for a productive fall!

Randy Raggio
Associate Dean
Robins School of Business

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The Richmond MBARichmond MBA students travel to Croatia for International Residency

You can see photos from their class here.

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Career Corner with Tom Kemp, Executive in Residence

A number of years ago, I participated in a leadership development program that included a module entitled “The Art of Negotiation.”  The instructor’s approach was quite different from my past experiences surrounding negotiation training. He started the conversation by listing the things both parties agreed on, rather than focusing on the points of disagreement. His experience, and subsequently mine, found that starting with areas of agreement creates an atmosphere of positivity and openness. This approach enables parties to narrow the chasm that often exists and reach mutually beneficial resolutions more quickly. 

A common definition of negotiation reads something like this: “The bargaining process between two or more parties seeking to discover a common ground and reach an agreement to settle a matter of mutual concern or resolve a conflict.” Based on this definition, the words common ground and agreement should jump off the page for many. 

It is important to remember that negotiating should not be viewed as an adversarial interaction.  The objective is to come to an agreement that benefits each party at the table.  Not only in business, but also in marriages, politics, and friendships, our ability to move through, around, or over disparate viewpoints in a satisfactory manner is important to keeping the peace and moving forward.

Without question, negotiation can be difficult.  It is a focused and time intensive activity, and it will, at times, consume every ounce of patience and tact we possess.  But, the gap between what parties want is narrower than we think, particularly if the negotiation process begins at agreement rather than disagreement.  Consider starting your next “negotiation” with conversations focused on areas of common ground, and you may be surprised by the outcome.

Tom Kemp is the MBA Executive in Residence.  He is available to work with you on your career aspirations and journey.  To contact Tom, visit him in the Robins School of Business, in office #122. His office hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-6 p.m. You can also reach him by email at

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Opening Residency 2018

The Richmond MBA

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University of Richmond, VA 23173
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