May 31, 2023

How Alumni Are Helping Smith Students Get Jobs

More Smith alumni are giving back to help current students get jobs, thanks to new efforts from the Office of Career Services and the newly launched Office of Experiential Learning.

It’s all part of a push by Dean Prabhudev Konana.

“We want to expand on what we’re already doing and grow more meaningful alumni and corporate relationships,” Konana says. “We really want to increase the opportunities for our students to get the type of real-world, practical learning that will make them the most sought after by employers when they graduate.”

He launched the Office of Experiential Learning (OEL) this year to create integrated, interdisciplinary opportunities for more students and make it easier for faculty to line up alumni or corporate partners and design projects.

This spring, the office coordinated 114 unique experiential learning projects, with over 250 alumni and corporate partners.

Getting even more alumni involved is a big push OEL, says Assistant Dean Nicole Coomber, who heads the office. The goal is to have the “Smith 600” involved in experiential projects, hiring, career coaching, and advising the dean and school, she says. Most will sit on Smith Advisory Councils, launched by Konana in 2021.

“The advisory councils give us insight on where industry trends are going and how to incorporate that into learning,” says Mary Wagner, senior director of experiential learning, who manages the councils.

Alumni are also pitching in to help MBA and master’s students refine their career outreach strategies with the Office of Career Services’ (OCS) Terp Network Team. New this past academic year, the initiative connects students with a team composed of a career coach, an employer engagement team member and a Smith alumnus. Students sign up for a 45-minute informal conversation with an alum in a field they are interested in.

The program isn’t intended to be a transactional experience, says OCS Director Neta Moye. “This is about building connections, and through those connections, understanding more about yourself, these jobs and what really is a good fit for you so that you can focus and narrow your search,” she says. “It's just so much more powerful when an alumnus can do this.”

Sasha Mongia, MS ’23 said the program helped her develop skills and technical knowledge for aspirational jobs and forge meaningful relationships with women who she now considers mentors.

“It’s good to share your ideas and thought processes about your potential career so they can help you refine considerations,” said Mongia. “By sharing those details, alumni can exactly point out where you can improve your approach.”

Interested alumni can apply to participate in fall 2023 sessions now.

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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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