Victor Mullins, associate dean of the undergraduate program at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, recently asked Aleksander Psurek '19 to discuss how the SMITH JOURNEY has helped him find his passion and provided the opportunities to pursue it. Alex is majoring in finance and economics and operations management and business analytics (OPBA). Alex is also in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program with the Honors College.
What does the SMITH JOURNEY entail? Involvement with colleagues, professors, professionals, clubs and organizations here at the Smith School, across campus and in the outside “real” world of business. Here is what students are challenged to do in each of their four years at Smith:
Freshmen: “Build Your Brand” through the SmithStart program.
Sophomores: “Pioneer Your Path” to success by focusing on an overall academic and career strategy.
Juniors: “Command Your Career” to ensure that you are well positioned for your professional journey.
Seniors: “Embrace Your Experience” with an arsenal of tools, knowledge, and networks, so that you are able to embrace your experience and celebrate your success.
Dean Mullins: What is important to you? What motivates you? What is your passion? Why?
Alex: My greatest passion is teaching people to help themselves and creating tools for people to realize their maximum potential. Being a passionate student and world learner, I understand the difficulties that can hinder one’s growth. It is important to me to improve the well-being of my community, to create value for my fellow students and community members, as well as to build up the collective knowledge of my school.
Dean Mullins: When and how were you able to identify this passion?
Alex: I have always had a passion for helping people, but I truly came to realize how much passion I had for teaching when I moved to the United States from Poland. Being introduced to a whole new country, language and culture as a school kid was difficult, but the support I received from my peers was astounding. My experience as an immigrant has not only made me more empathetic, but it helped me realize my passion for peer mentorship.
Dean Mullins: How have you been able to connect your passion with coursework, involvements and/or activities?
Alex: My involvement with Smith clubs, especially the International Economics and Finance Society, has allowed me to become a peer mentor. My involvement with the content team plays directly into my passion for teaching, while my passion for mentorship is satiated when I help my fellow members understand their potential. My involvement with the 4+1 masters program, as well as my upper-level core business coursework, have both helped me express my passions, through their focus on group work and peer learning.
Dean Mullins: What are the highlights of your Smith Journey thus far?
Alex: The Smith Start program that helped propel me into my Smith Journey was filled with highlights. From the formative nature of the seminars to the surprisingly relaxed formal dinner, the Smith Start program was a great way to launch my career at the business school. But the highlights did not stop there -- another great one was when I got involved with IEFS. The greatest highlight so far, however, has been my acceptance into the 4+1 Master of Finance program.
Dean Mullins: What advice would you give to your fellow Smith peers and community?
Alex: Get out there and do something. That is the greatest piece of advice I have ever heard and will probably ever give. Getting involved is not only formative, but it is also a great deal of fun. Even if it means going out of your comfort zone, getting involved is always worth it in the end.
Dean Mullins: Why are you passionate about the Smith School?
Alex: The Smith School pushes me to go further. It has provided me with so many opportunities, and always encourages me to take advantage of them. I truly think that this school will be a great springboard into a successful career. And at the end of the day, I am passionate about the Smith School, because it is passionate about me.
Find out more about the Smith Undergraduate Program at www.rhsmith.umd.edu/undergrad.