Mark Smith split his undergraduate studies between the Boston School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Syracuse University. In 1979, he received a Bachelor of Industrial Design from Syracuse University's College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Shortly after graduating from Syracuse, he moved to West Berlin, Federal Republic of Germany to work for Coordination Ausstellungs, G.m.b.h., an exhibition design firm where he participated in the design and construction of three major exhibitions between 1979 and 1980. While overseas, Smith spent six months traveling throughout Southern Europe researching and documenting noteworthy public plazas and urban spaces. This research project was instrumental in being granted a scholarship from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received a Masters in Architecture in 1985.

Smith worked for Benjamin Thompson Associates, the designers of Fanueil Hall Market Place in Boston for two years. In 1987 he left to form Design Management, Architects, a collaborative design and architectural firm in Boston that specialized in creative adaptive re-use and renovation. The office was moved to Akron, Ohio in 1992, where it remains today, to participate in the conversion of pre Civil War barn structures.

Since 1995, Smith has been an instructor at the Cleveland Institute of Art where he teaches Architectural Construction Documents, Auto-CAD, and Form Language Workshop, a modeling based workshop which investigates the principles that generate from in nature and the built environment.

In addition, Smith co-founded The Highland Square Business Association (THSBA) in 2000. THSBA was a consortium of property and business owners working in conjunction with the city of Akron, Ohio to develop a comprehensive revitalization strategy for a neighborhood business district. It was the first undertaking of its kind in Akron.