Victor Mullins, associate dean of the undergraduate program at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, recently asked Nick Giannascoli ’19 to share his unique experience during this past summer. Nick’s Summer Story of "WOW”” is part of his Smith journey and it may be an inspiration to others. It may also be the beginning of what will distinguish him during networking opportunities and job interviews.
Dean Mullins: Tell us what you did this summer?
Nick: I worked as an Operational Consulting Intern at Avendra. While there, I consulted with luxury hotel brands and oversaw their menu management and engineering. Through my efforts, I was often able to save them tens of thousands of dollars that they wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. I also worked with hotel financials and analyzed trends from their Profit and Loss (P&L) statements. I was excited about this internship because it met at the crossroads of my two majors (Supply Chain Management and Operations Management and Business Analytics) and it helped me to realize my passion for analytics.
Dean Mullins: What were the highlights of your experience?
Nick: I loved the experience of being placed in a fast-paced environment and learning something new every day. Before starting work, I knew nothing about the food and beverage (F&B) industry. Through a little bit of reading, and help from fellow Terp co-workers, I was able to learn a great deal and apply it to my job. It was also great to truly see the fruits of my efforts. Instead of doing grunt work and stereotypical “intern” work, I was making a tangible impact on the business and contributing to client-facing deliverables.
Dean Mullins: How/when/why did you plan this experience?
Nick: I had heard glowing reviews about Avendra both online and from my peers at the Smith School and was curious about what they did. When they were at the Employer of the Day desk in Van Munching Hall, I jumped at the opportunity to learn more and spoke to their recruiter. In the next months, I submitted a few applications and finally got an interview. After the interview, I remember going home and telling my parents that everything clicked and this was, without a doubt, the company that I wanted to work for in the summer.
Dean Mullins: Has this experience helped you to clarify your professional and/or personal goal(s)?
Nick: It definitely has. I always knew I loved statistics and analytics, but I wasn’t sure whether to pursue that in a supply chain company or a dedicated data firm. This experience showed me just how diverse the workplace is and how many fields can intersect in a given job position. I also found it interesting how many employees started out in one division, but then ended up transferring to another one that they eventually found fit their strengths better. It’s a relief to know that no matter where I end up, there will be some flexibility involved in my future.
Dean Mullins: Tell us how your experience might help you continue along the Smith Journey -- Freshmen: “Build Your Brand;” Sophomores: “Pioneer Your Path;” Juniors: “Command Your Career;” Seniors: “Embrace Your Experience.”
Nick: My internship from this summer helped me to “Command My Career” by giving me a solid foundation to jump off from for my future career path. Avendra was a fantastic company that I learned so much from. I now feel confident enough to communicate with industry professionals and have even presented to them over the course of the summer. This position also gave me a lot of autonomy and, moving forward, I would like to “Embrace my Experience” by seeking another position that also gives me the power to make independent and creative decisions.
Dean Mullins: What advice would you give to your fellow Smith peers and community?
Nick: It may sound cliché, but I would suggest getting involved, getting involved, and then getting involved some more. My freshman year, I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted and so I was hesitant to get involved with any clubs. Upon entering sophomore year and joining three clubs, I found my world opened up. I met so many new friends and went to many events that taught me more about the business world and what I could expect after I graduated. Even now, as the president of one club and the vice president of another, I’m still looking for more ways to make an impact on the community.
Dean Mullins: What is your dream?
Nick: I want to find a way to bring joy to those around me. I know I can’t change the world on my own, but I do want to be able to change the lives of those around me. I always try to bring happiness and laughter to my friends and colleagues because each day that we have is far more important than any of us realize.
Dean Mullins: Why are you passionate about the Smith School?
Nick: The Smith School truly has a community unlike any other. They focus on some of the softer skills that are so important to succeeding in the workplace, like networking and dinner etiquette. Some of the most informative events I’ve been to have been based on these skills, and they’ve really stuck with me in the workplace. A lot of getting acclimated to a new job is learning the company culture, and the things the Smith School teaches you allows you to transition into a new position smoothly and easily.
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
For more information about the undergraduate program at Smith, visit: www.rhsmith.umd.edu/undergrad.