Marina Augoustidis, associate director for the Center for Global Business at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, writes about New York City company visits by undergraduate students.
The Center for Global Business at Maryland Smith sponsored eleven students to participate in the international business (IB) trek of Smith in the City on Thursday, October 24 and Friday, October 25, 2019. Hosted and organized by Maryland Smith Undergraduate Student Association and the Office of Career Services, Smith in the City is a two-day event for undergraduate students to network with alumni and visit companies in New York City to learn about business practices in various sectors. The center’s main goal in supporting the IB trek was to expose students to companies that do business across borders and to encourage them to follow career paths in this area.
The students participated in an alumni networking panel and reception on day one and visited three companies — Facebook, the UN Foundation, and Colgate-Palmolive — on day two. Each organization offered a different perspective on how students could follow a path in international business.
The first visit was to Facebook where the students heard from two Maryland Smith alumni, Brett Prescott, director of global partnerships, and Matt McCance, head of global sales learning strategy and operations. They discussed the core values of Facebook which were “Be Open, Be Bold, Focus on Impact, Move Fast, Build Social Value, and Ship Love,” and an example of how each manifests on a daily basis. While sharing Facebook’s global strategy, McCance also emphasized how having international experience and a global mindset has been crucial for his career growth and how he has been able to translate those skills in his everyday work.
At the UN Foundation, the trek met with three associates who oversee the UN Foundation’s corporate relations and the Business Council for the United Nations. They explained the difference between the work of the foundation and that of the UN, which is primarily to support the UN and its initiatives, including the sustainable development goals, by building communities and launching initiatives. A key part of their presentation was their work with the business council for the UN, a network of 25 companies that help to advance the shared interests of the UN and the business community, with a goal of working toward a healthier, prosperous, and secure world. Of the three associates, the students met with the senior director of the business council for the UN, who said she couldn’t have done what she is doing now without an MBA because it teaches you how to effectively run an organization, whether not-for-profit or private.
During their final visit, the IB trek was hosted by Maryland Smith alum Michael Marcus, '11, associate brand manager at Colgate-Palmolive. Marcus presented an overview of Colgate-Palmolive’s global brand marketing and highlighted that Colgate has the number one brand penetration in the world. The visit also included an in-depth presentation by their associate manager of sustainability and corporate responsibility about their global sustainability strategy.
At the end of the experience, students on the IB trek came away with the understanding that a career path in international business can take multiple roads and be applied in a variety of sectors, from a major tech company to an international foundation or one of the most recognizable global brands. “The international business trek was a unique experience, and I would be very excited to attend again if given the opportunity. A career in international business for me is now more than likely as a result of this trip,” A.J. Gilbert, Smith senior, international business & finance double major, said.
This program was funded in part by CIBE, a Title VI grant from the U.S. Department of Education.