Victor Mullins, Associate Dean of the Undergraduate Program at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, recently asked Mitsoo Patel ’20 to discuss how her SMITH JOURNEY has helped her find her passion and provided the opportunities to pursue it. Mitsoo is a double-majoring in finance and information systems.
What does the SMITH JOURNEY entail? 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: What is important to you? What motivates you? What is your passion? Why?
Mitsoo: I am motivated by my interest in learning new things and mastering whatever I set my mind to. I am passionate about traveling and experiencing an interconnected world. I love visiting new places and learning new things and discovering how they can affect completely unrelated events or items in other areas. These interests lend themselves directly to finance as the financial markets of each country are not isolated, but instead rely on every other exchange around the world in order to successfully function.
Dean Mullins: When and how were you able to identify this passion?
Mitsoo: I’ve always kept an eye on the markets and the overall economy of the United States as I was growing up, but I didn’t really know anything about finance. I started learning more by listening to family members discuss the stock market, global events and policies and found myself always wanting to listen in. This led me to realize that finance is really the nexus point of so many different fields that I am passionate about and interested in. This then resulted in me declaring finance as my major at Smith.
Dean Mullins: How have you been able to connect your passion with coursework, involvements and/or activities?
Mitsoo: As a freshman, I immediately jumped at any opportunity I could to learn more about the finance industry. I joined clubs like FBIS, IBC, and Women in Finance Mentorship program where I was exposed to a wide variety of careers in finance and well as a plethora of new information that I had no way of knowing without the help of these clubs. Through these avenues I was able to realize that I wanted to pursue a career on Wall Street which then propelled me to reach out to alumni in the field and network with them in order to learn more about what their day-to-day work looks like.
Dean Mullins: What are the highlights of your Smith Journey thus far?
Mitsoo: As a sophomore, I have already had a lot of great opportunities within Smith to grow professionally and personally. The highlight of my Smith Journey so far has been joining a business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi. AKPsi has aided me not only in growing professionally, but it has also helped me expand my network outside of just finance and into other careers fields within Smith and UMD as a whole. It is through AKPsi that I discovered the opportunity to intern at the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C., and where I currently work as a fall intern.
Dean Mullins: What advice would you give to your fellow Smith peers and community?
Mitsoo: The single most important thing that I would tell me fellow peers is to take advantage of every other student at Smith! I would not have the opportunities that I have had without the help of upperclassmen that have mentored and guided me. Every single person in Smith has something to offer and some piece of knowledge or advice that another may not have, so it is absolutely advantageous to seek people out and ask them for it.
Dean Mullins: Why are you passionate about the Smith School?
Mitsoo: I am passionate about the Smith School because it has provided me with the resource that I need to succeed since freshman year. Since I stepped foot into Smith, there has never been a shortage of people or places that I can go to for any advice that I may need, regardless of field. The Smith School does all that it can to help its students and it is up to the students to seize those opportunities. I have been able to learn about these opportunities and take advantage of them. As a sophomore, I will be studying abroad in London next semester through Smith’s Exchange Program and am extremely excited at the prospect of not only learning in a new environment, but also becoming used to the ambiguity that comes with living in another country. Through the networking opportunities and corporate events on campus, I have also been able to successfully network with alumni that were on campus. This, then resulted in my receiving summer internship offers from top Wall Street banks for this summer.
Learn more about the Smith Undergraduate Program at: http://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/undergrad