Victor Mullins, associate dean of the undergraduate program at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, recently asked Perveen Gulati '19 to share her unique experience during this past summer. Perveen’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. Perveen is a finance and information systems double major with a minor in business analytics.
Dean Mullins: Tell us what you did this summer?
Perveen: I had the amazing opportunity to be a part of “Girls Who Invest,” a scholarship program focused on increasing the number of women in the investment management industry. The first part of my summer consisted of a four-week intensive program at the University of Pennsylvania where core finance and investment topics were taught by professors from the Wharton School. Alongside my classes, I listened to speakers across the asset management industry as well as attended site visits in New York City and Philadelphia. Beginning in July, I completed the second part of the program: my six-week internship at Alternative Investment Group in Fairfield, Connecticut. I worked directly under a partner of the firm where I worked with the Investment Team on several projects including evaluating potential hedge fund managers for their flagship funds.
Dean Mullins: What were the highlights of your experience?
Perveen: The highlight of my experience in Philly was definitely meeting the other 60 girls from across the nation. These girls were hardworking, motivated and interested in similar careers so there was never a dull moment. From attending class together to exploring the restaurants and museums in the beautiful city, we built friendships that are sure to last a lifetime.
The highlight of the time at my internship in Connecticut was definitely the trips I made to New York City. I made several trips for my internship whether it was to meet a potential hedge fund manager that my firm was interested in investing in or to meet with current clients to update them on performance. I also spent every weekend in the city exploring New York with several of my friends from Smith who were also interning in the NYC area!
Dean Mullins: How/when/why did you plan this experience?
Perveen: I applied to the program in December 2016 and was notified of my acceptance in March of this year. This was the second year that the program has run, and I actually originally applied on a whim due to how selective the process was in the previous year. I was, proudly, selected as one of the 60 scholars from over 500 qualified applicants. I am extremely grateful to Claudia Donnelly and Alyse Carter, two amazing Smith staff, for helping me with my application. Being a sophomore, I was still struggling to find a summer internship during the spring, and I could not think of a better experience to have the summer after my sophomore year.
Dean Mullins: Has this experience helped you to clarify your professional and/or personal goal(s)?
Perveen: This experience has definitely helped me narrow my professional and personal goals for the rest of college and my early career. Financial services is a broad industry and learning from different professors and listening to different speakers in the various industries helped me clarify which career paths I would actually be interested in.
For example, I now understand that a career in investment management would allow me to maintain the work/life balance that I would like. Additionally, I have found that I would love to work in institutional investing where I am helping endowments, pension funds, etc. with managing their money and ultimately creating greater prosperity for these institutions and their missions.
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.”
Perveen: My sophomore year was all about dipping my toes into everything that I was interested in and discovering what I was truly passionate about. Now, with the information I have gathered over the summer, it is time to “Command My Career.” My summer experience gave me a huge network of peers, professors, and mentors I can access in order to get experience in my exact curiosities. I truly believe that my summer experience, combined with the great resources offered at Smith, will allow me to pursue exactly what I dream of doing.
Dean Mullins: What advice would you give to your fellow Smith peers and community?
Perveen: Dream big and never hesitate to ask for help. No matter what niche subject may interest you, I promise you there is a faculty, alumni or peer that will help as much as they can. I have and continue to seek help from all of the sources mentioned above on a daily basis. I think that the power of building relationships is still severely underrated but most of the opportunities I have had have been due to some sort of relationship I have maintained. On the opposite end of that stick, I would encourage everyone to help others as much as they can—the Smith community will only be as strong as how much people are willing to give back.
Dean Mullins: What is your dream?
Perveen: My long-term goal in life has always been to be happy, to be grateful and to never forget my roots. Of course, these more “intangible” goals will be achieved through some of my other dreams. I dream to live and work in another country, particularly in Southeast Asia, for a part of my life. I also dream to spend some time after I retire travelling to developing-worlds and helping with initiatives to improve the education rates of young girls. Another specific dream of mine is to eventually open an Italian ice/ice cream parlor named “Gulati’s Gelatis.”
Dean Mullins: Why are you passionate about the Smith School?
Perveen: People always joke that I practically live in Van Munching Hall. I have been able to build a community with the people I have met in classes, at work, or in the different clubs that I am involved in at Smith, so naturally I spend almost every waking moment in VMH! Everyone is willing to help each other and I never feel like I am in a cutthroat environment. I have been able to learn so much both inside and outside of the classroom from my professors. I could not think of a better place to spend my undergraduate career other than at Smith.
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.