SMPS University: Leadership Advancement Program


In Partnership with the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland


Career advancement in the design and building industry depends on your business acumen. To help you gain the business knowledge you need, SMPS partnered with the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business to develop the SMPS University: Leadership Advancement Program—a program designed especially for A/E/C marketers and business developers who want to achieve the next level in their careers.

In a graduate-level curriculum, SMPS U examines the marketing, business development, and client service principles integral to the strategic operation of the professional services firm. As a participant, you will come away with a clearer understanding of how marketing can impact a company’s performance and profitability, as well as best practices and fresh approaches to introduce in your firm.

Further, SMPS U exposes you to critical business management concepts—research and development, client development, finance, human resources, and leadership. This material will expand your awareness of how an A/E/C firm operates and equip you to contribute in new ways to your firm’s success.

In this video, Julie Shepard, CPSM, Director of Corporate Marketing for Psomas, speaks on the value of SMPS University from her perspective as an experienced professional services marketer.

As a participant in SMPS U, you will gain:

  • the business management knowledge to increase your firm’s profitability
  • the skills to establish yourself as a leader in your firm and the A/E/C industry
  • spreadsheets, models, tools, and ideas that can be implemented immediately to improve your performance and benefit your firm

Who Should Attend

This program is designed for the following professionals working in the design and building industry:

  • Mid-level marketers and business developers who want to advance their careers
  • Marketing/BD directors and principals who want to expanding their business management knowledge 
  • Technical professionals who want to become business leaders 


This program brings together one class of participants for two sessions of two full days each. 

UMD College Park

Session 1

Dates: October 14–16, 2015
University of Maryland
College Park, MD


Session 2 

Dates: November 12–13, 2015
Ronald Reagan Center
Washington, DC



SMPS U is taught by an esteemed panel of faculty from the Center for Service Excellence at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. Ranked #3 in intellectual capital by BusinessWeek, the Smith School faculty is a world leader in generating new business thinking. 

With a low student-to-faculty ratio, SMPS U encourages interaction between students and instructors—both in the classroom as well as more informally during meals and networking events. Learn more about the faculty.


The October and November sessions are conducted in state-of-the-art classrooms on campuses of the University of Maryland. The classroom format is a highly interactive combination of lecture and group discussion.

Before and between Sessions 1 and 2, students will work independently and in small groups on assigned coursework.


The SMPS University curriculum encompasses the eight modules described below. Case studies from the A/E/C industry and best practices from inside and outside the industry are incorporated into each of the modules to illustrate how you can apply these concepts immediately in your firm. The coursework is reinforced by sample worksheets, tools, and models and supplemental reading including related articles from the renowned Harvard Business Review.

Module 1: Service Marketing Strategy

Marketing is the most important function of a professional service firm, because it creates and maintains client relationships. Best practices for driving client satisfaction, trust, and loyalty will be presented. 
More information on Module 1   

Module 2: Smart Thinking about Survey Research 

Survey research is “stock-in-trade” for professional services firms that track client satisfaction and loyalty. This module will focus on how to acquire timely, relevant “voice-of-the-client” data through surveys.  
More information on Module 2 

Module 3: Financial Management Fundamentals 

You aspire to a strategic leadership position in your organization—and that means you have to understand its financial goals and be ready to share your thoughts on how best they may be achieved. 
More information on Module 3 

Module 4: What Are Your Customers Worth? 

You know what your customers have spent with you, and you know what you’d like them to spend in the future. But what is the cost of maintaining your customers?  
More information on Module 4 

Module 5: Service Innovation

Professional services firms depend on new services to grow and maintain the profitability of their businesses. What are the best practices for managing service “products” as they move through the life cycle? 
More information on Module 5 

Module 6: Customer-Centric Marketing

This module will outline the process of innovation and examine how design thinking helps drive innovation within firms.  
More information on Module 6  

Module 7: What Makes a Leader?

How is leadership different from management? What kind of leadership is called for in your workplace?  
More information on Module 7  

Module 8: Leading Without Authority 

Learn why it isn’t necessary to have a big hat, a big title, or a big army to lead effectively.  
More information on Module 8  

Upon Program Completion

Students who complete the program will receive a certificate documenting mastery of the information and skills covered in this curriculum.

For More Information

Contact Dan Reilly, SMPS Headquarters, at 1.800.292.7677 or 1.703.549.6117, x223, or