Victor Mullins, associate dean of the undergraduate program at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, recently asked Alex Bergman ’20 to share her unique experience during this past summer. Alex’s “Summer Story of “WOW”” is part of her Smith journey and it may be an inspiration to others. It may also be the beginning of what will distinguish her during networking opportunities and job interviews. Alex is an international business major.
Dean Mullins: Tell us what you did this summer?
Alex: I had the privilege of spending my summer living in Tel Aviv, Israel, and interning at a company that connects hi-tech startups with multinational companies and investors. The company is called SOSA, and I worked in their marketing department.
Dean Mullins: What were the highlights of your experience?
Alex: The highlight of my experience in Tel Aviv was working for such a dynamic and global company. SOSA has partners all over the world and is a hub for all of the aspects of the “start-up nation” title that Israel is known for. I was also able to travel all around Israel and explore the diversity of the different places and cultures within the country.
Dean Mullins: How/when/why did you plan this experience?
Alex: I give full credit to Smith when it comes to how I came to have this opportunity. I am a member of TAMID, a club within Smith, and it offers this fellowship program every summer to selected TAMID members across the country. (Sidenote and shameless plug: TAMID applications are open now if you’re interested in consulting for startup companies!)
Dean Mullins: Has this experience helped you to clarify your professional and/or personal goal(s)?
Alex: I definitely confirmed my interest in working for an international company, and also enjoyed being in the hi-tech industry. It’s one thing to hear all of the buzzwords like IoT, big data, cloud security, etc., in classes, and an entirely new level to work with the companies on the forefront of these areas. At SOSA, I had days where I was sitting behind a computer, but also had days where I was constantly interacting with people. Whether it’s co-workers, clients, partners, or the delivery guy at the front desk, I definitely learned how much I value personal interactions and conversation.
Dean Mullins: Tell us how your experience might help you continue along the Smith Journey -- Freshmen: “Build Your Brand;” Sophomores: “Pioneer Your Path;” Juniors: ”Command Your Career;” Seniors: “Embrace Your Experience.”
Alex: As a freshman last year, “Build Your Brand” really meant finding my niche at UMD, and especially in Smith. Getting involved in certain aspects of Smith last year has laid a great foundation for me to continue on this year to find a sense of exactly what major/career path is the best fit for me. I am very excited to continue my fundraising position for SUSA, and starting roles in DSAC and QUEST.
Dean Mullins: What advice would you give to your fellow Smith peers and community?
Alex: When you are exploring different options for involvement, don’t do something just to add a line to your resume or to boast about another extracurricular. There is truly something for everyone within Smith, so even if it takes time, definitely find what will be the best fit for you. Get involved in something that you are passionate about, something that will make you grow on both a personal and professional level, and something that you will truly enjoy spending time doing.
Dean Mullins: What is your dream?
Alex: My everyday goal is to better the lives of the people around me. As far as my “dream job” goes, I hope to work within the realms of corporate social responsibility (CSR), whether it be for a CSR consulting firm or managing CSR for one company. I am hoping that my minor in sustainability will help direct me on toward this area of business.
Dean Mullins: Why are you passionate about the Smith School?
Alex: As an out-of-state student, saying I was intimidated coming into Smith is an understatement. From day one of freshman year, people were telling me to get my resume together and start finding internship opportunities. As I struggled to do all of these things that seemed way beyond anything a freshman needed to do, I realized that Smith was pushing me way out of my comfort zone. By doing this, I am now very comfortable with the previously uncomfortable - and I owe that all to Smith.
Successful navigation of the SMITH JOURNEY requires 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.
For more information about the undergraduate program at Smith, visit: www.rhsmith.umd.edu/undergrad.