News at Smith

Beyond Majors: An Exploration of Potential

Feb 09, 2017
Experiential / Reality-based Learning


Smith student Philip Peker ’18 writes about the "Beyond Majors" event for freshmen held on Feb. 2, 2017, at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.

It’s no secret that getting into a school like Smith is becoming increasingly more difficult, year after year. This year’s freshman class holds some of the most intelligent, driven students. Yet, how can all these multidimensional, ever-curious, students box up all their unique interests and passions into one single major? It’s a daunting task to have to decide what your academic focus will be for the next four years, especially for those students that made it into Smith by being active in so many various disciplines.

That is why, on Thursday, February 2nd, the Smith School hosts a night called “Beyond Majors” as part of the Smith Start program for freshmen. A panel of recruiters and business professionals joined Smith faculty to discuss how your experience in the business school shouldn’t be exclusively defined by your major, but if the right steps are taken, your major can unlock incredible professional and social opportunities down the line.

This year, Smith invited three corporate sponsors to present their opportunities and perspectives to the freshman class. First up were the dynamic duo Danielle Fine and Amy Harrison from Baker Tilly. They talked a lot about how majors should not limit you, but rather inspire a global, flexible and forward-thinking mentality. For example, Danielle’s undergrad major was hotel, restaurant and institutional management, but she currently works for Baker Tilly. Realizing the links between the hospitality industry and consulting is what guaranteed her success. “Learning to work, communicate, and treat others with the highest level of customer service has impacted my career positively while opening up doors that I did not know had previously existed,” affirmed Danielle.

Following Baker Tilly’s presentation was Dennis Strzegowski, vice president of recruiting at NewDay USA.  Dennis’ passion for what he does was evident, and he tried to inspire the class to find what makes them tick, and hold on to that. “Find an industry/role about which you are passionate, then strive to be the best within it. You will not start at the top. Outwork everyone around you until you get there,” stressed Dennis, who’s success story was prefaced by his unrelenting work ethic.

Finally, it was SECU’s time to take center stage. As a company that takes pride in hiring Smith students all the time, SECU has a very personal stake in the success of Smith freshmen. Cassie Costin is a financial center manager at SECU here in College Park, and she underscored the number of opportunities freshman have early on to get ahead. Smith grants you so many chances to “engage with professionals: through internships, volunteer, networking, events, etc. The sooner you identify what industry or skill you want to work in, the quicker you can hone in on those various opportunities and capitalize on them.”

It wouldn’t be a Smith event without a culinary experience to accompany the professional part. Students left the event with full minds, full hearts, and of course, full bellies. “Hearing about how each major is really what you make of it is exciting. Being at Smith, I can definitely see myself going outside the box and exploring all my capabilities,” says freshman Brianna Mentle, who intends to double major in public policy and information systems.

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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business 

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty masters, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.