Victor Mullins, associate dean of the undergraduate program at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, recently asked Brian Cole '21 to share his unique experience during this past summer. Brian’s “Summer Story of “WOW”” is part of his Smith journey and it may be an inspiration to others. It may also be the beginning of what will distinguish him/her during networking opportunities and job interviews. Brian is a finance major with a minor in entrepreneurship.
Dean Mullins: Tell us what you did this summer?
Brian: A week before the start of freshman year, I decided to fully get out of my comfort zone and go skydiving in New Jersey.
Dean Mullins: What were the highlights of your experience?
Brian: My favorite part of the experience was the initial jump out of the plane. Looking down at the earth from 14,500 feet up was absolutely terrifying, but exhilarating. The first five seconds of the jump is when you feel the drop the most. While falling it was almost hard for me to believe it was really happening. After the minute and a half of free fall, I was given the responsibility of controlling the parachute. My instructor gave me the handles on the side after it was safely deployed and I was able to make us turn. Strangely, this was one of the most relaxing things I have done. Being able to slowly descend while taking in the amazing view was blissful.
Dean Mullins: How/when/why did you plan this experience?
Brian: My friend and I made the quick decision the night before that we would go the next morning. We woke up at 8 a.m., called the place and we were booked to jump at 11 a.m. I planned this experience because I felt that if I can conquer skydiving, it would give me the mindset in college that I could conquer anything.
Dean Mullins: Has this experience helped you to clarify your professional and/or personal goal(s)?
Brian: After experiencing skydiving, it definitely has helped clarify my personal goals. I never want to be comfortable with what I am doing. I have set a goal to always find something to do that will get me out of my comfort zone. I feel that the moment you become comfortable is the moment you stop developing and progressing.
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.”
Brian: My experience definitely helped me define what I would like my brand to be. I consider myself a hardworking, intelligent person that has the ability to make quick, efficient decisions and take risks. Putting your life on the line is one of the greatest risks you can take. I proved to myself that I have the ability to take the risks required in entrepreneurship.
Dean Mullins: What advice would you give to your fellow Smith peers and community?
Brian: Everybody is capable of doing the unthinkable and pushing their mind and body past their perceived limits. All it takes is for you to truly believe you can.
Dean Mullins: What is your dream?
Brian: My dream is to be able to successfully build and run my own company. It is one thing to work for a company, but in my opinion, to be able to create something of your own and be able to watch what you are building grow into an empire would be more rewarding than anything else.
Dean Mullins: Why are you passionate about the Smith School?
Brian: I am passionate about the Smith School because, during the time when I was making the decision of what school to go to, I was inspired by the camaraderie of the community. While it is competitive, everybody works to bring everybody up with their own success. All the teachers are very passionate about teaching the students and the support the Smith School gives students is irreplaceable.
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.