News at Smith

Leading the Way in Diversity Efforts with the Help of Corporate Partners

Nov 18, 2013
Experiential / Reality-based Learning


This summer, Smith joined the ranks of other LEADing business schools.

From July 14 to Aug. 1, the Smith School hosted the first Leadership, Education and Development (LEAD) program, bringing 30 minority students from across the nation to Van Munching Hall to learn more about business. The program was designed to increase the number of underrepresented minority students who graduate with a business degree.

“We want to have the student community as diverse as possible. My goal is to have more than 10 percent of the incoming freshman class filled with these exceptionally qualified African-American and Latino students,” says Victor Mullins, associate dean of the undergraduate program. “I was excited to have these 30 bright students on campus and to connect them to the wealth of talent within Smith.”

During the program, students experienced life on campus by visiting the ropes course. They attended lectures about financial analysis, entrepreneurship, strategy, social value and more — all taught by Smith professors. They also visited New York City to see a Broadway play and heard from executives about careers in specialized fields.

The LEAD program was created in 1980 by a group of professors from Wharton Business School, and today serves 500 high school students yearly. It boasts more than 9,500 alumni, known as LEADers.

Students invited to apply to the LEAD program rank the schools they’d most like to visit. The students who came to Smith this summer indicated a strong interest in visiting the University of Maryland and the business school: “LEAD taps into their thinking early before they even consider applying to college or applying to Smith. After spending three weeks as a high school student on a college campus, they will consider Smith.”

Mullins continued, “The goal of this program is to have them feel connected to Smith and to feel like they belong in the environment here. We don’t simply tell the students about the school, we show them what it feels like to be a part of the Smith community.”

The summer program went off without a hitch, thanks to help from nearly 50 dedicated faculty and staff members and the support of alumni, donors, and corporations that sponsored the first year of LEAD. 

“LEAD has given us an opportunity to have conversations with many new companies,” Mullins says. “It was a great chance to show them that if they are going to get excited about our LEAD students, they should get excited about all of our talented students.”

2013 LEAD program sponsors include:

  • Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP
  • Black Entertainment Television
  • Choice Hotels
  • Ernst & Young LLP
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Google
  • Kaplan Mobray
  • Marriott Hotels & Resorts
  • National Football League
  • Richard L. '62 and Laura Novak
  • Team Business

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 part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty masters, 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.