Victor Mullins, associate dean of the undergraduate program at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business stays connected with Smith students – while they are undergraduates and after they have earned a degree and successfully completed the four-year SMITH JOURNEY. Dean Mullins recently asked Allison Hishmeh '16 to discuss how she navigated the SMITH JOURNEY and how it helped her after she graduated in May 2016 with a degree in marketing and a minor in technology entrepreneurship.
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: Tell us “who” you are now and what you have been involved with since graduation?
Allison: After graduating from the University of Maryland, Robert H. Smith School of Business in 2016, I joined Accenture Federal Health Services as a management consulting analyst. I supported Accenture Federal Services on client engagements in areas such as stakeholder management, communications, systems analysis, and change management. I recently joined, Bluewolf, an IBM Company, in Los Angeles, California. As a salesforce analyst, I am responsible to designing solutions and consulting Salesforce projects.
Dean Mullins: How/when/why did you navigate your path from Smith to who you are now?
Allison: Prior to graduation, I had the opportunity to work as an account manager for a global IT consulting company. I received great exposure to government contracting, international development, sales and marketing, and program management. I routinely represented the company at events and engagements sponsored by organizations such as the U.S.-Africa Business Summit, U.S. Embassies, the Corporate Council on Africa, and the Small Business Association for International Companies. That initial experience sparked my interest in looking for a position in the management consulting field. Coupled with the business and marketing emphasis at Smith, I focused my interest on positions with a great deal of client engagement. That led to interviewing at firms like Accenture.
Dean Mullins: What coursework, faculty and/or staff, involvements and experiences stand out from the time you were at Smith?
Allison: I was selected as an academic scholar for the Hillman Entrepreneurship Program where I was awarded the merit Hillman Scholarship. The Hillman Entrepreneurs Program is a scholarship initiative targeted to students who have an interest in entrepreneurship and an enthusiasm for starting a business venture or leading a company. The goal is to support, develop and graduate ethical leaders who want to energize and give back to their local communities. As a Hillman scholar, I was encouraged to become a Universities at Shady Grove Student Ambassador to support the USG and Smith Community. By spring 2016, I was a selected student to be featured on ABC-7 News to support the Universities at Shady Grove.
Dean Mullins: What is important to you? What motivates you? What is your passion? Why?
Allison: I'm passionate about giving back to the community and supporting students. During my time at Accenture, I became a corporate citizen volunteer, an active member of the Washington, D.C., Hispanic American and Middle Eastern Employee Resource Groups, and a member of Accenture Recruiting. Through these initiatives, I worked with students, homeless and impoverished communities, and youth outreaches. For several years, I also volunteered as a video announcer host in the technical ministry speaking to a congregation of over 11,000 members at one of the largest churches in the U.S. I believe investing in our communities is just one of the ways we demonstrate our commitment to being a good corporate citizen.
Dean Mullins: What advice would you give to current Smith undergraduates and to our Smith community?
Allison: Be yourself – and never stop learning. Take advantage of all that Smith offers and pursue programs such as the Hillman Entrepreneurship program. Put an emphasis on both academics and real-word experience. Every individual has unique ideas and the ability to share different perspectives. There are vast opportunities to learn from team members, group leaders, and professors. Constructive criticism will improve your skills, sharpen your communication, and shape your leadership style. In addition, it is important to network and identify the people who inspire you. Then emulate their good traits in your personal, scholastic, and professional life. This is absolutely necessary for your future career.
Dean Mullins: What is your dream?
Allison: How do I define a dream? I think a dream is a snapshot of the future that energizes us to reach our goals. My dream is to empower others and help enable others to pursue their dreams. I plan to grow as a professional consultant, entrepreneur and leader to advance technologies in impoverished communities. Giving back to the community is the seed of possibility planted in the soul of a human being, and encourages us to pursue a unique path to the realization of our purpose.
Dean Mullins: Why are you passionate about the Smith School?
Allison: Smith laid the foundation for my career and I’m very proud to talk about my experiences there. I take every opportunity I can to tell others about the school. The program goes beyond providing one with a degree. I feel as if I graduated with real-word experience, a community behind me, and a path forward. With my career underway, I feel a sense of gratitude and a desire to give back. I hope to do that through the Alumni Association. The school provides the platform to explore new ways of thinking and grow both professionally and academically. The Smith School Community empowers students with the knowledge and vision that leads to innovation and growth. I am thankful for the powerful network at Smith, inspiring colleagues and supportive professors.
For more information about the undergraduate program at Smith, visit: http://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/undergrad.