Orientation leaders at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business know exactly what incoming full-time MBA students need. A committee of returning students led by Jen Long, Smith MBA Association vice president of student affairs, has played a major role in planning and delivering the two-week module that ends Aug. 23, 2014, with a Washington Nationals baseball outing.
“My orientation experience last year was transformational,” said Long, who recently completed a summer internship as a General Mills brand manager in Minneapolis, Minn. “The first year of my MBA program changed my life. Now I can facilitate that for the new first-year students.”
Questions from the new students came fast on Aug. 19 during a panel discussion with Long and six other second-year MBAs. “How do you balance your studies with the job search?” “How do you prepare for career fairs?” “What is the value of case competitions?” “Is it important to buy every textbook?” “What would you do differently if you were starting over?”
Later the same day, the incoming students met other second-year MBAs who will serve as mentors during the coming months. The program, organized by returning MBA student Alex Stefanic, will help incoming students find summer internships that match their career goals.
Jeff Kudisch, Smith’s assistant dean and managing director of the Office of Career Services, provides additional support during orientation to get students ready for their MBA internships and job searches. “We’re all in this together,” Kudisch told the students during the first week. “We want to help you excel in your careers.” (See more in the Aug. 18, 2014, issue of U.S. News & World Report.)
Orientation leaders also understand the need for MBA students to have fun as they get to know each other. Besides the baseball outing, activities have included kickball and a ropes course. Each morning also starts with an icebreaker led by second-year student Gary Woodhurst.
Overall, the incoming full-time MBA class includes 88 students from 14 countries. The average age is 29, the average post-university work experience is 5.6 years, and the average GMAT score is 662. About 34 percent of the students are women and 8 percent have U.S. military experience.