Experiential / Reality-based Learning / April 2, 2019

In Conversation with Maryland Department of Commerce Secretary, Kelly Schulz

Full-time MBA student Ha Le, class of 2020, writes about the Distinguished Speakers Series event with the new Maryland Department of Commerce Secretary, Kelly Schulz held on March 27, 2019, at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business.

On March 27, the Center for Global Business (CGB) welcomed newly-appointed Secretary Kelly Schulz of the Maryland Department of Commerce to highlight the priorities of and celebrate the continued partnership with the department. CGB’s executive director, Rebecca Bellinger, hosted the discussion with Schulz and addressed questions about her career path, keys to success in leadership, and international business development for the state of Maryland. The event, also a part of Women’s History Month at Maryland Smith, was the last installment of CGB’s Distinguished Speakers Series (DSS) in International Business for 2019 and was co-sponsored by the Ed Snider Center for Enterprise and Markets.

When asked about the goals of commerce, Schulz shared that the department’s priorities were to grow, retain, expand, and attract domestic and international businesses to Maryland and the state is still “open for businesses.” Her personal goal for the next four years is to make this effort “bigger, better, faster,” leveraging the “customer service initiative” model that the state of Maryland has embraced. With a unique combination of experience working in the government, private sector, and small businesses, Schulz shared her vision for the department: “when you are in government, everybody is your customer. We are here to serve as supposed to our customers serving us.” In addition, she stressed a "joint response” from all other agencies that are responsible for addressing business needs daily.

Bellinger also asked the secretary about the initiatives and resources of the Maryland Department of Commerce that are intended to bring businesses to and help grow industries in cybersecurity, biotechnology, and advanced manufacturing in the state of Maryland. Schulz indicated that while attracting big business to Maryland is important, serving as a resource for small business to develop and grow in the state and globally is first and foremost. She also pointed out that forming strategic alliances helps the department attract foreign direct investment (FDI) to the state of Maryland to diversify its portfolio and grow the economy. According to Schulz, Maryland can handle disruption if it has a diversified economy and can turn problems into opportunities. Stressing that, she said, “every industry needs disruption to tap into innovative ideas.” In response to the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), she emphasized the importance of our education system having the necessary tools to prepare the workforce with adaptable skills in the world of AI.

In closing, Schulz encouraged the student audience to be confident in themselves and be willing to challenge themselves. “When you look at something and say it is too hard, that “too hard” is what you should do. If you challenge yourself you will rise to success”, said Schulz.

To hear more, watch the video on the Smith School’s YouTube channel.

Please join us at our Annual Global Forum on April 9 as CGB welcomes Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group to discuss his newest book, Us. Versus Them: The Failure of Globalism.

The DSS in International Business is a series of thought leadership events that presents the latest trends in international business and provokes conversation among students, policy experts, and business executives. The DSS in International Business is supported in part by CIBE, a Title VI grant provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

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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 flex MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, business master’s, 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.

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