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Dean Smith and Greg Muth
Realization Leads to the Right ‘Chemistry’ for M.B.A. Grad

Gregory Muth’s career track involves a twisting path of choices regarding both his profession and his education. Add in luck and a little soul searching thrown in for good measure and you have a person who has been willing to change directions in order to find his way. It could be said that the one thing he’s always believed in is that life is precious, and not a day can be wasted doing something you don’t care about.

Muth earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Maryland College Park in 1995. Shortly after graduation he began working for a local firm using the skills and competencies he acquired in school. During his two years of employment in the lab-based profession for which he’d spent thousands of hours studying, he did some self-actualization. He realized that working in a laboratory wasn’t fueling the passion he had for making a difference – at least not enough to keep doing it. He began searching for a new direction.

“I recognized that my motivation was correlated with a desire to work in a collaborative and engaging environment,” Muth said. “I also realized that I didn’t even want to be in chemical engineering anymore.”

Using his peer networks, he was able to change directions and move into the field of real estate and development. He soon discovered that this endeavor – 180 degrees separated from chemistry, but still requiring the same kind of self-discipline and broad-based knowledge of the working reality – provided him with the collaborative opportunities and personal fulfillment he was yearning for.

Muth recognized that the direction of his career would be bolstered by a master’s level education. He says that when he first enrolled in the Merrick School of Business in 2003, he began the program with the notion that the “piece of paper” (e.g, a diploma) would allow him to advance in his career. But as it turned out, it was the coursework itself that affected his perspectives and provided him with the real-world knowledge he thrives on.   

“The M.B.A. program exceeded my expectations. I gained the practical knowledge needed to immediately impact my career’s trajectory. I would say one class in particular, taught by Prof. [Barry] Brownstein really provided me insights into developing a holistic leadership style.”

“I remember Greg well,” Brownstein, a professor of economics, said. “In the course (Leadership: Self-Organization in the Firm, MGMT 732) we stress that an effective leader must conduct the ‘inner work’ necessary to uncover and challenge his or her dysfunctional beliefs. These beliefs often hold leaders back and get in the way of growing intelligent organizations. For a course to have a deep impact on students, they must be willing to make the ideas their own. Greg did just that; he was always willing to deeply explore ideas and then experiment with them. He worked so deeply with the material and his work had an impact on me as I found it to be authentic, enriching, and inspiring.”

Muth’s academic achievements went well beyond Brownstein’s class. In May, he was presented the Merrick School of Business’ 2011 Most Outstanding M.B.A. Student Award during the Academic Achievement and Honors event.

“When we were evaluating candidates for the award, Greg’s accomplishments rose to the top, “said Ron Desi, director of the UB/Towson M.B.A. program. “His perfect 4.0 GPA solidified him as an awardee, as did the great recommendations from faculty and staff.”

Muth, who graduated from the UB/Towson M.B.A. program in May, is now employed by the Maryland-based R.E.I.T., Corporate Office Properties Trust as a senior construction manager. He isn’t likely to return to the lab, but he still values his time there as the starting point – something that all successful people need.    

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