Victor Mullins, associate dean of the undergraduate program at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, recently asked Amartyo Sen '18 to discuss how the SMITH JOURNEY has helped him find his passion and provided the opportunities to pursue it. Amartyo is majoring in finance and management.
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?
Amartyo: During my journey at Smith, I have found that the relationships I build and foster are the most important. From friends and peers that work with me side by side to the professors and staff that provided me with guidance, all the way to the professional connections I have made at the plethora of networking events – these relationships have shaped my time at Smith.
The opportunity to help others motivates me immensely. Any relationship is a two-way street and I always look for opportunities to help others, no matter how small the task. From simply asking, “How are you?,” to leveraging my personal network for a friend or a peer, I always look for an opportunity to be in service of those around me.
As a result, I have found that my passion lies in solving problems… for others! Being able to approach a problem that is affecting others with creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit is what drove me to find my passion at Smith. I was able to channel this by immersing myself in the abundance of opportunities Smith offered in consulting and entrepreneurship.
Dean Mullins: When and how were you able to identify this passion?
Amartyo: As I built my brand and pioneered my path, I started looking for ways to incorporate my passion into a career I wanted. After learning the basics of networking and gaining technical experience through internships, I tapped into the entrepreneurial environment and the field of consulting during my sophomore year internship at The Marcus Buckingham Company (TMBC). A leadership/management consulting and software company, TMBC’s focus on strengths-based talent activation and its start-up atmosphere provided me with an incredible foundational experience. As a summer business analyst, I worked on the company’s Series B capital raise, created and presented a social media analysis report to several VPs and most excitingly, pitched a new business strategy plan for acquiring new clients which led me to work closely with the senior management of the company. Being able to wear so many hats and having the opportunity to solve a problem that I identified on my own, all in an environment where my input and work was recognized, led me to solidify this innate satisfaction that comes to me when helping others.
Dean Mullins: How have you been able to connect your passion with coursework, involvements and/or activities?
Amartyo: Starting as a freshman at Smith gave me a holistic approach to how I could develop my passion both inside and outside the classroom. During my first semester, I became a part of the Smith Undergraduate Student’s Association (SUSA) Board as the social programming chair and gained an incredible bird’s-eye view of all the opportunities available at Smith whilst organizing and hosting certain annual Smith events. Being so involved in Smith from Day 1 gave me exposure to exciting opportunities such as the Fellows Programs. I would say my passion for solving problems for others started to crystallize during my involvement in the Global Consulting Fellows during my junior year. Furthermore, my enthusiasm for entrepreneurship is continuously being refined as a current member of both the Private Equity Venture Capital Fellows and Banking & Private Wealth Management Fellows. As I completed the Fellows programs and started my upper-level courses, I found that each class was an opportunity to develop these passions in a technical capacity and cultivate strong relationships with Smith faculty.
Dean Mullins: What are the highlights of your Smith Journey thus far?
Amartyo: The highlights of my Smith journey are the opportunities that Smith has provided. First and foremost, I found an incredibly supportive community within Smith in Alpha Kappa Psi. After becoming a brother during my sophomore year, I was immediately exposed to more opportunities, including serving as a current executive board member of the fraternity. Smith has also provided a wonderful platform for students to meet global leaders through various initiatives like CEO @ Smith, where I chatted with Indra Nooyi of Pepsico, and the Emerging Markets Forum, where I heard a speech by the former Indian Ambassador the United States, Arun Kumar Singh. Smith’s offerings surpass the DMV area, allowing me to visit the business hub of New York on the SUSA NYC trip. I met inspiring alumni and companies that shaped my journey and now I am lucky to give back as the Entrepreneurship Track Leader for this year’s annual trip. Last but not least, Smith’s esteemed Centers provide incredible resources and support. Through developing relationships and by simply asking about opportunities, I had the opportunity to be a Teaching Assistant for Elana Fine, the Executive Director of the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship. Most importantly for me, Smith has cultivated an environment for me to channel my ambitious spirit and appetite for leadership opportunities. Through Smith’s constant effort to provide exposure, I came across the opportunity to serve as a University Senator and represent my fellow peers. Most recently, in partnership with Uday Misra, a fellow Smith Terp, I had the opportunity to create the newest entrepreneurship club on campus, enTERPreneur, where we provide students of all majors with information, exposure and opportunities in the expansive field of startups, VCs, and more.
Dean Mullins: What advice would you give to your fellow Smith peers and community?
1) Ask – Don’t be afraid to ask for help, advice, and guidance or for help in general. Initially, it was my ego and a sense of pride that stopped me from wanting any sort of support so I could tackle my goals myself. However, with the community of faculty, advisors and friends that Smith has cultivated, I found that asking for help when I needed made my Smith experience memorable, friendlier, less daunting, and helped me meet my goals with ease.
2) Be Present. Be Ready. – Smith has a constant influx of employers, global leaders, and opportunities roaming the halls of Van Munching. There’s a good chance that your future employer will be at the Employer of the Day table or that an executive of a Fortune 500 company will speak at an event that you can walk into or a professor sees your passion for a certain industry and introduces you to someone in their network. To make the most of these opportunities, it comes down to putting effort into the details. Be aware of what you do and say. Dress well. Carry around a few copies of your updated resume. Engage in a short conversation with your professor after class. Little habits go a long way.
3) Embrace Failure and Celebrate the Successes – Failure can be debilitating but with the right attitude, it can be your biggest asset. Adopt a mentality to constantly learn about how you can improve and eliminate mistakes you’ve made before – you’ll find that your achievements and personal growth will naturally assist you in reaching your goals. Whilst focusing on failures and learning from them is great, remember to give yourself some time to relax and make the most of just being around your peers. There will be plenty of ups and downs in your future, so don’t stop now!
Dean Mullins: Why are you passionate about the Smith School?
Amartyo: The Smith School of Business gave me all the tools, resources, mentors, exposure, and opportunities to grow as a business leader and as an individual. Business schools are notorious for being competitive and entering as a freshman, I was ready to forge my path on my own. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find a healthy environment where students look to assist one another and genuinely look out for the best in one another. Smith truly invests in each of its students and the community – the lessons instilled from day one of being a Smith Business School student has remained to me till this day. I am passionate about Smith because it has truly shaped who I am today.
For more information about the undergraduate program at Smith, visit: www.rhsmith.umd.edu/undergrad.