Kevin Li, class of 2019 marketing and information systems double major, writes about a critical thinking event with Deloitte on Oct. 23, 2017, at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business.
Freshmen at the Robert H. Smith School of Business constantly ask the question, “what skills do employers want me to master in college?” On Oct. 23, Deloitte professionals offered some insight by diving deep into one core competency that is desired by employers all around the world: critical thinking.
This exploration of critical thinking was a part of Smith Start, a program consisting of multiple events devoted to preparing Smith freshmen for their desired careers. Freshmen students were eager to get started as they filtered into the room with both eyes and ears open. Five Deloitte professionals headed the discussion as they began speaking about how they constantly need to critically think to tackle their everyday job responsibilities. Susan Chutka, managing director at Deloitte, succinctly stated that “technology changes and the world changes, there is a need to be proactive and think beyond A/B into what should we do next, and that requires critical thinking.”
Soon after, students were introduced to Smith’s six standards of critical thinking and were tasked with coming up with personal definitions for each. One could see the gears turning in each of these students’ heads as they critically thought about critical thinking.
Afterwards, the issue of “covering,” the feeling that one needs to cover one’s authentic self, was brought up as a critical thinking challenge. Students had to tackle how to create inclusive environments within workplaces so that employees were not pressured to “cover.” Great ideas popped up around the room as students discussed top-down strategies, inclusive group activities, and laughter filled the air as one student even suggested sponsored vacations to Fiji.
The Smith School is truly able to give its students a unique and premier educational experience through programming like this. Events like these are irreplaceable as they impart crucial knowledge and get students thinking earlier in their college careers. Sam Park, a freshman finance major, spoke about his appreciation for the event as he learned more about “multiple ways to consider critical thinking and the importance of diversity.”
Smith students continually prove themselves to be some of the best candidates in the workforce and events like these are but one way that the Smith School propels them to this premier status.
For more information about the undergraduate program at Smith, visit: www.rhsmith.umd.edu/undergrad.