Victor Mullins, associate dean of the undergraduate program at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, recently interviewed Smith Senior Jessica Hairston’17 to discuss how she is “embracing her experience” during her Smith journey. So what does the Smith journey entail? During their freshman year, Smith students begin to build their personal brand through the SmithStart program. Sophomores dedicate their second year to pioneering their path to success by focusing on an overall academic and career strategy. Junior year focuses on students taking command of their careers during to ensure that they are well positioned for their professional journey. Finally, as a senior with an arsenal of tools, knowledge and networks, Smith students are able to embrace their experience and celebrate their success.
Jessica: My freshmen year was all about figuring out what I was interested in. I changed my major at least three times before I realized I wanted to learn more about management, so I sat down with my advisor and mapped out my classes.
Dean Mullins: How about your sophomore year? How did you “pioneer your path?”
Jessica: Sophomore year, I applied to the University of Maryland. I had a strong year academically at a small school in Tennessee, which made my transition easier than I had thought. Once here at Smith, I began taking my major classes and really enjoyed the management path.
Dean Mullins: And how did you “command your career” during your junior year?
Jessica: My junior year was about setting myself up for as many career opportunities as possible. I landed my first internship with SECU and the amount of transferable skills that I gained allowed me to create even better opportunities moving forward.
Dean Mullins: As you approach graduation from the Robert H. School of Business, how are you “embracing your experience?”
Jessica: I’m enjoying my last couple of months here at Smith. I was recently inducted into the Professional Fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi. This experience allowed me to expand my network while learning from the experiences of others. I also accepted an internship with Target for the summer of 2017 and am pretty excited for that!
Dean Mullins: What advice would you give to your fellow Smith peers and community?
Jessica: Network and don’t be afraid to use your connections; that’s why you have them. Meet as many different people as possible and share your experiences. I’ve realized that you can take away something valuable from almost anyone once you allow yourself to connect with others.
Dean Mullins: How have you/are you making your mark on campus?
Jessica: I’m trying to make my presence known in as many student organizations as possible. This campus is filled with students who have innovative mindsets, so I’m trying to collaborate when I see possibilities.
Dean Mullins: What is your dream?
Jessica: Financial stability and the ability to give back to young adults preparing themselves for the real world. I’ve met so many adults in Smith that have helped guide me to be the best young professional possible, and I am committed to helping those younger than me.
Dean Mullins: Why are you passionate about the Smith School?
Jessica: Smith allowed me to grow both as a student and as a professional. I am confident that Smith has prepared me for my career journey.