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The Richmond MBA News & Notes

September 2017

MBA Community:


One priority of The Richmond MBA is connections with the business community.  Richmond MBAs begin to develop their connections from the very first day of Opening Residency, our hands-on orientation program. Once again, the latest group of bright and eager Richmond MBAs came together at The Jefferson Hotel in late August to craft a strategic recommendation for a local business.  This year, students worked with Pierre and Anthony Lupesco, the owners of local jean maker Shockoe Atelier, to develop a long-term strategy. Opening Residency builds connections with businesses, among the students, and sets the tone and expectations for the journey to come.  Students continue to develop connections through the entire program, including the International Residency and Capstone Project, and leverage those connections throughout their professional careers. 

In this month’s newsletter, you can read about the unique journeys of some of our students. First, we share student experiences from Opening Residency. Read about what they learned and what they most look forward to in the program. Then, we introduce two recent alumni. Katherine Coleman, GB’17, shares how kickboxing informs her professional career, and Ryan McGowan, GB’17, reveals a tool that he created to help grow Shine Craft Vessels, an RVA company that makes designer growlers. 

As football season begins in a few weeks, we also look forward to welcoming members of the MBA Alumni Society to our tailgate Saturday, October 7! Mark your calendars here, and we hope to see you then!

Thank you for sharing this journey. 

Randy Raggio
Associate Dean
Robins School of Business

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Career Corner with Tom Kemp, Executive in Residence

The end of summer is fast approaching signaling the return to school.  For many of you who are juggling work, family, relationships, AND the coming semester, it is a hectic but perhaps ideal time to hit the reset button and remember where you are headed.  We need to take stock and set goals in our lives, but that is often put off for years as life passes by.

I remember a conversation my boss had with me when I was 25 years old, coming off an outstanding year, and headed for a soon-to-be promotion.  He called me into his office to congratulate me, but more importantly, to talk about the coming year.  After spending about two minutes talking about the past year he said, “Tom, you had an outstanding year, but I never want you to confuse your past performance with current expectations,” a piece of advice I have kept with me all these years.  For a few seconds, I felt uneasy and wondered exactly how the rest of our conversation would go.  He followed up with, “I want you to learn to work as hard on yourself as you do on your job,” which also remained with me.  Frankly, I must admit it was the most challenging assignment of all. The task of personal development lasts a lifetime.

By furthering your education and pursuing your MBA, it is clear that each of you is committed to that task, typically with the goal of professional advancement. Regardless of your aspirations, there are three questions that you may find helpful in altering your goals or simply regaining some much needed focus.  I call this the ‘Stop, Start, Continue’ exercise. 

First, ask yourself, over the next six months, “What do I need to stop doing?” We have all heard the definition of insanity, yet we continue to tread in the same spot until we realize that what we have been doing (or typically not doing) is not getting us to where we want to be.

Second, “What do I need to start doing?” Many of you have heard the old adage, “If it’s going to be, it is up to me.”  Luck and good fortune are not accidents, they come to those who take action and persevere.  Often we need to push ourselves out of our comfort zone to open a door to unforeseen opportunities.

Finally, “What do I need to continue doing (or do more often)?” Each of you possesses unique skills and strengths that create value for your organization, yet we either do not have the chance to display them often enough, or we are reticent to raise our hand to offer up our strengths to others.

Personal development requires time, thoughtfulness, and a degree of self-awareness.  Perhaps this exercise can provide a simple framework that allows you to focus more on your ultimate goals and block out some of the “noise” that can get in your way.

To contact Tom, visit him in the Robins School of Business, office 122. His office hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3-6 p.m. You can also reach him by email at

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The Richmond MBA Opening Residency 2017
MBA Opening Residency 2017 - Weekend 2
MBA Opening Residency 2017 - Weekend 2
MBA Opening Residency 2017 - Weekend 2

The Richmond MBA

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University of Richmond, VA 23173
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