Maryland Smith welcomed new students to school for the fall 2020 semester with a full lineup of orientation activities, held virtually via Zoom this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
All orientation programs offered an introduction to Smith School leaders and the Smith community. They also highlighted Smith’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Promise, the school’s pledge to engage in critical conversations to make everyone feel represented, heard and included at Maryland Smith.
The orientation festivities for incoming full-time MBA students kicked off Aug. 20, with a welcome from Ritu Agarwal, Smith’s interim dean. Students also learned the keys to academic success in the program, and got introductions to the MBA Association and other clubs.
The orientation, which every year is planned by second-year MBA students, stretched seven days, wrapping up Aug. 28. It was packed full of introductions to Maryland Smith leaders and programs, team-building exercises and social activities for the new students to get to know each other. This year’s full-time MBA class has 78 students.
The events also incorporated a day of presentations from Smith’s Office of Career Services professionals, as well as a full case competition, where students worked in teams to tackle a business problem before presenting their solutions for a panel of faculty and alumni judges.
Sessions also included tips on networking, building an impressive LinkedIn profile, and improving public speaking and virtual presentation skills.
The over 230 new MBA students in Smith’s Part-Time MBA program received orientation to the school with a series of online presentations, held Aug. 11 through Aug. 28. The sessions featured introductions to faculty, staff, students and services. The online sessions were complimented by an opening residency course, which included eight mastery sessions via Zoom. Students joined additional sessions on creativity and leadership, either in-person in small, socially distanced groups at Van Munching Hall, or via livestream.
Smith’s Master’s Program Office also welcomed more than 300 new students in eight specialty master’s programs. They took part in live Zoom sessions in July and August to meet the dean, the master’s program team, their advisors and the Smith Master Student Association officers. They also participated in Office of Career Services workshops.
Students could also view recorded videos that provided information about Smith offices and centers, technology tools and other resources.
New Smith undergraduates got a chance to become acquainted with Smith during an hourlong virtual introduction on Aug. 28. The 480 new students participated in virtual icebreakers and heard from Smith alum Mark Rabinowitz at EY. They also were introduced to Smith Start, a first-year series of community events and introductory workshops for ISmith, a four-year personal and professional development program.
During the second half of the orientation program, students worked with the Smith Start mentor in individual breakout sessions, where mentors discussed how to build a small community to help navigate the transition to Smith.
Smith’s PhD program has 18 new students joining, including two U.S. military members and international students from Spain, Turkey, South Korea and China. They participated in virtual orientation sessions Aug. 3 through Aug. 6, including a virtual tour of Van Munching Hall and campus.
All incoming students also received physical welcome packets, including gifts, from Maryland Smith.