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The Richmond MBA News & Notes

January 2018

MBA Community:


Happy New Year, Spiders! I hope you all had a restful holiday season. I am thrilled to report that our updated MBA Holiday Celebration at the Jepson Alumni Center was a success. The new format gave us an opportunity to recap the recent achievements of the program, to share upcoming events, and to celebrate everyone who contributed to The Richmond MBA over the past year. We also awarded Mark Hourigan the first “Impactful Alumni” award.  You can read all about the fabulous winter wonderland we experienced in the story below.

This month we feature two Spider MBA businesses.  The first, CrowdLobby, was started by Heidi Drauschak, GB'18 and L'18. She and her co-founders created a website where individuals can donate to causes they are passionate about, and CrowdLobby will connect them with lobbyists to fight for them. It’s a great opportunity for civic engagement, as well as an example of excellent time management! Drauschak expects to work full time at CrowdLobby after graduation. You can learn more about how you can get involved in CrowdLobby in the article below.

We also feature River City Roll, a new bowling alley set to open in Scott’s Addition on May 1, backed by MBA alumnus Ben Eubanks, GB’13. He sponsored an MBA Capstone Project to make sure he had all his “lanes” covered before opening day. Kristen Killea and Greg Millette, GB’17, worked together over the fall semester to develop a marketing strategy for the bowling alley, as well as an implementation plan for River City Roll to accomplish before opening day.

It’s wonderful to see how much our alumni love working in RVA and giving back to the community! Look for a list of our upcoming student, alumni and prospective student events below, including a Facebook Live info session for prospective students, and basketball reception for current students and alumni. 

Best wishes for a healthy and productive start to 2018!

Randy Raggio
Associate Dean
Robins School of Business

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Executive Education

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Career Corner with Tom Kemp, Executive in Residence

A Different Perspective on Personal Brand

It’s called your personal brand.  It has to be all about you, right?  Your accomplishments, your successes, your skills?  But no, it’s not all about you. That’s a myth that needs serious debunking. It’s actually all about them: your audience, the people in your network, your clients, colleagues, and friends. The value you bring to them makes their lives better in some way, even if it’s a small way.
It’s also about telling them what you do best and laying out your offerings in a clear and compelling manner. You have to differentiate yourself from everyone else who’s doing the same thing.  By doing so, you make it very clear that your audience needs to listen, remember, choose, and care about you.
Once people recognize who you are, know what you stand for, and associate you with a specific area of expertise, they seek you out.

So, how can you:

Become more visible and cut the clutter?

Be sought after?

Attract the right opportunities and people?

That’s when your personal brand starts to kick in. When it is time to be valued, hired, or chosen, what will matter most is how people remember you and the value you bring to them. Here are some ways to refine your personal brand:

Reflect: Firstly, define your brand. Unearth your true purpose and understand what drives and guides you. Figure out your inner values, passions, goals, and mission in life and then align them with all outward aspects - your decisions, choices, career leanings. Yes, it’s a lot of deep introspection and definitely not easy. This is probably the toughest part of taking charge of your brand. But once you invest your energy in doing so, the rewards are boundless.

Reveal: With a clear idea of who you are, embark on sharing your true purpose with your audience. This is when you clarify why your audience/employer/client should care about you and choose you over a million others. The best way to do so is through a story. All of us are a story waiting to be told, and the main goal of the story is to create an emotional connection with your audience. That story can grab someone’s attention and make you relevant and memorable.

Radiate: Talking about doing something is one thing, but taking action is quite another. This phase is all about keeping the brand alive and fresh. As you walk the talk and demonstrate your abilities, you create trust and start building a relationship with your audience. Your employer or clients organically become your brand ambassadors.

You should be you

The best thing about a personal brand is that you don’t have to create one. You already have one. You simply need to take charge of it. Be your authentic, real self, but take control of it, especially in an online presence. It may be okay to have an argumentative post if you feel passionate about the cause. It’s also alright to display pictures of your lunch, dog, or kid. Just make sure that everything you post reflects your values, your passions, and are true extensions of who you really are. Your personal brand is a delicate balance of sharing information that your audience will value.

Once people recognize who you are, know what you stand for, and associate you with a specific area of expertise, they then seek you.
Personal branding is inescapable today. It is a leadership imperative. Leverage your brand to create your own opportunities, attract the right people into your life, and make an impactful presence. Make your brand reflect your values, passions, and goals on paper, online, and in person. To stay relevant and remain marketable, take charge of “Brand You”. If you don’t, then someone else will. And that’s not always good news!

*Credit to Harini Chari, a Career Brand Strategist with Lee Hecht Harrison, for the three R’s of building and leveraging your personal Brand. 

Tom Kemp is the MBA Executive in Residence, and 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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