Victor Mullins, associate dean of the undergraduate program at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, recently asked Oru Okogbule-Wonodi '18 to share her unique experience during this past summer. Oru’s “Summer Story of “WOW”” is part of her Smith journey and it may be an inspiration to others. It may also be the beginning of what will distinguish her during networking opportunities and job interviews. Oru is a dual major in business management and international business with a minor in Spanish language, business and culture.
Dean Mullins: Tell us what you did this summer?
Oru: I interned with Hanifa, a budding fashion brand located here in Maryland (specifically Baltimore). At times, I was also required to visit New York City.
Dean Mullins: What were the highlights of your experience?
Oru: I think the best part of the experience was that I was able to see how my future would pan out if I were to go full-time with my own fashion brand. I was also able to really cherish the work that small business owners must do to create brand reputation and a loyal customer following.
Dean Mullins: How/when/why did you plan this experience?
Oru: I wanted to intern with Hanifa for a second time because I was able to learn so much about small fashion businesses, that I really don’t think I would have been exposed to on a corporate level. She gave me so many tips and pointers that I was able to envision myself where I wanted to be after graduation.
Dean Mullins: Has this experience helped you to clarify your professional and/or personal goal(s)?
Oru: It definitely has. I think the fact that I am a business student with a creative side really helped me make this experience the best I could. I was able to use both sides of my brain which helped me realize how much I crave this type of stimulation in my normal life. Being able to design a shoe, then project its revenue and reach was so exhilarating to me.
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.”
Oru: MY experience is definitely off the beaten path of the typical Smith student. I wasn’t in an office every day looking at financial sheets, or meeting with partners. Instead, I was able to get a hands-on experience of what it really means to create your own entity - your own voice.
Dean Mullins: What advice would you give to your fellow Smith peers and community?
Oru: My best advice is not to lock yourself into a box you don’t fit in. I would never be able to work a 9-5 every day behind a desk. My internship really solidified this for me. But, I also couldn’t imagine working somewhere in which I couldn’t use the skills I learned at Smith to better business processes and increase the profitability of a brand.
Dean Mullins: What is your dream?
Oru: My dream is to have a fashion brand with a social impact. I want to be able to design clothes and make a marketing and business plan to become a mogul - all while financing programs for those under the poverty line worldwide. I want to give a chance to someone who might have a lot of unlocked potential, but is hindered because their social or economic status isn’t the best.
Dean Mullins: Why are you passionate about the Smith School?
Oru: I am passionate about Smith because even if you don’t see a door for you at the beginning, you have the opportunity to bust a wall down and construct one for yourself. And in doing so, you will have students and faculty that will support you. For those that don’t - they will just drive you even further to reach your goals.
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.