Victor Mullins, associate dean of the undergraduate program at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, recently interviewed Kyle Brown '18 to discuss his involvement with Accounting Teaching Scholars and how it is part of his Smith journey. Kyle is majoring in accounting and finance and expects to graduate in May. 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.
Dean Mullins: Tell us about your involvement with Accounting Teaching Scholars. How did you get started with it and what are you learning?
Kyle: It started in my junior year when I joined the professional business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi. Seniors in the Accounting Teaching Scholars (ATS) program encouraged me to apply. Since being accepted, I have learned from the Faculty Champions, Professor Basu and Professor Bulmash, the importance of communication skills both inside and outside the classroom when dealing with my students, as well as leadership and organization skills when leading the discussion sections and helping students prepare for quizzes and exams. I also want to give a quick shout-out to Cullen Taylor ’20 for leading Guided Study Sessions (GSS) for BMGT220 last fall – it was a privilege to have someone else lead GSS since it enabled the TAs to focus on our other duties.
Dean Mullins: Tell us how your participation in Accounting Teaching Scholars is helping and/or has helped you navigate the Smith journey.
Kyle: After going through most of the accounting major classes and the internship process, I wanted to give back to the Smith School and add value in a way that is unique to my major. By participating in ATS, I have developed the skill of being able to explain accounting concepts to students who do not understand them since they are learning them for the first time. BMGT220 is a crucial course that for many is a key determinant in whether or not they are accepted into the Smith School. With every discussion section, every session of office hours, and every time I meet up with a student either in person or over email to discuss course concepts, I was able to add value to my senior year by helping a younger student score higher on the exams, earn a better grade in the course, and become a more competitive candidate for admission into Smith. Furthermore, my ATS experience provided great material for behavioral interviews during the full time recruiting process last fall, and networking with alumni from the ATS program helped me attain the full-time offer I was looking for.
Dean Mullins: Reflect on your other involvements and activities here at Smith that have been a part of the Smith journey.
Kyle: The biggest thing for me has been Alpha Kappa Psi; this introduced me to a network of highly motivated peers that pushed me to perform to my greatest potential both inside the classroom and with my career search. Taking on a leadership role with AKPsi as director of fundraising was incredibly rewarding as well, as the proceeds from our restaurant fundraisers and from working concessions at every UMD home football game helped finance some of our signature events that represent our brand and enable us to give back while promoting our ideals of professional development, service, and continuing education among our members and the general public. This is most notably displayed during Consulting Career Day, which we host each fall. Other activities have included Accounting and Business Association, which introduced me to each of the Big 4 and many other firms as a freshman and helped me learn networking skills early on in my Smith journey. I also benefitted from being vice president of finance for the Sports Business Society, where I was in charge of acquiring funding for events while collaborating with other executive board members. We worked together to organize our guest speaker series and signature networking sessions each semester with DC-based professionals in the sports management industry.
Dean Mullins: What advice would you give to your fellow Smith peers and community?
Kyle: Be an active participant in the Smith community. There are so many ways to get involved with clubs and student groups that span essentially the entire spectrum of career paths and academia. Regardless of your major, it is incredibly important to take advantage of the networking opportunities and career advice each of these clubs has to offer in order to be better positioned to attain the offer you are looking for. It is also important to start building your network early on in the Smith journey. On that note, it is important to have a network of peers in addition to a network of professionals. Classmates and friends a year or two older can be excellent resources throughout the recruiting process. I would also advise applying to Fellows and Honors programs at Smith. During my Smith journey, I participated in Sophomore Wall Street Fellows, Sports Management Fellows and Business Honors. Classes in each of these programs had fewer students and featured more intensive writing and interactive discussion during class among students and with the professors. Taking classes with colleagues who all applied and were accepted into the programs really pushed my critical thinking skills and helped me gain more from those courses than I otherwise would have.
Dean Mullins: What is your dream?
Kyle: My dream is to one day start and run a collegiate-level summer baseball team. My first college internship was for a collegiate-level summer baseball team, the Bethesda Big Train. It played to my interest in sports management and my passion for advanced baseball statistics, known as “sabermetrics.” Working for a small organization enabled me to see at the grassroots level the impact a business can have on a local community. The proceeds from ticket and merchandise sales went towards improving the condition of youth baseball and softball fields in the Washington, D.C., area. Using Excel to compile “sabermetrics” reports for the league commissioner was my first formal experience using technical skills for a business purpose. When I am done with my career, I hope to bring this Americana aspect of baseball to a community and run things exactly the way my superiors did during my first internship – making it about community and giving kids the chance to play on better fields and watch college players they view as role models. One of my early mentors, a retired broker, started a team after retiring and is committed to traveling around the region to different colleges recruiting players for the summer and essentially running all aspects of the business during the season, including as the team’s head coach, which I still think is very inspiring.
Dean Mullins: Why are you passionate about the Smith School?
Kyle: The Smith School provided me with the education -- both inside and outside the classroom -- that I needed to be prepared for the business world. I still have a long ways to go, but I can look back on these four years and say with confidence that I have a stronger business acumen now than I did when I entered. My experiences at Smith also helped me foster meaningful relationships that have meant a lot in my career search. The Smith School is excellent at maintaining relationships with employers that keep them wanting to come back each year to recruit students from our school. The opportunities are there for Smith students; it is up to us whether or not we take advantage of them.
Students in one of the Smith School’s many one-year Fellows programs join a cohort of like-minded peers to engage in an intense study of a specific area of business, ranging from major-specific topics such as finance and supply chain to general interests such as sports management or global consulting. Out-of-the-classroom and reality-based learning experiences are at the forefront of the Fellows programs. Whether through special speakers, workshops, site visits, case competitions, or networking events with corporate partners and Smith alumni, students gain practical insights into the business community. Small class sizes in reserved Fellows sections of business courses are a hallmark of all Fellows programs, facilitating strong working relationships among Fellows students and the faculty who advise and teach in the programs. Students engage, explore and experience the Smith community through Fellows!
APPLICATIONS FOR FELLOWS PROGRAMS ARE OPEN NOW THROUGH FEB. 12, 2018, midnight. For more information on the unique Fellows programs available, go to the Fellows website.