Victor Mullins, associate dean of the undergraduate program at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, stays connected with Smith students – while they are undergraduates and after they have earned a degree and successfully completed the four-year Smith journey. Dean Mullins recently asked Rohan Bajaj '17 to discuss how being a part of the Smith journey helped him. Rohan graduated in December 2017 with a finance degree. He's looking forward to joining Capital One as a financial analyst.
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: Tell us about your involvement with the Innovo Scholars Consulting Program. How did you get started with it and what did you learn?
Rohan: I first learned of the Innovo Scholars Consulting program in BMGT 190H. The TA at the time was a recent scholar and was implementing his recommendations the semester I was in the course. After learning more about the program, I applied and was accepted. My project aimed to analyze the current state of Excel education at Smith and recommend solutions to the gaps I identified. At the conclusion of my project, I presented my findings to the Undergraduate Oversight Committee and they have since started to implement some of my recommendations.
Dean Mullins: Tell us how your participation in the Innovo Scholars Consulting Program helped you navigate the Smith journey.
Rohan: My time as an Innovo Scholar guided me from being a student to being a student professional. The program exposed me to an entirely new way of thinking and addressing problems. I feel better able to think critically about complex business problems, interface with clients and make holistic decisions. I have little doubt that the tools, knowledge and experience I gained from this comprehensive program will serve me well as I start my career.
Dean Mullins: Reflect on your other involvements and activities here at Smith that have been a part of the Smith journey.
Rohan: During my time at UMD, I was involved primarily with three organizations: Innovo Scholars, QUEST and the Science, Technology and Society Scholars Program. Coming into the University, my focus was on studying both finance and computer science, which both require a lot of problem solving. I greatly value the problem solving skills I’ve gained through my engagement in these organizations. The QUEST program especially does a great job challenging students with diverse backgrounds to work in teams to address and solve real-world problems. During the fall semester, I worked with a team of engineering, business and computer science students to explore alternative login technologies for Caterpillar Inc.
Dean Mullins: What advice would you give to your fellow Smith peers and community?
Rohan: My academic advisor Brian Horick gave me the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. The key takeaway is simple: you don’t need to say ‘yes’ to everything. Instead, focus on committing to less and seek greater connection to what you truly value. Especially with my education, I found myself over-committing to fill out my resume with experiences rather than pausing to discern what really matters: the disciplined pursuit of less. So my advice is simple, do less better.
Dean Mullins: What is your dream?
Rohan: Start a company or join a cutting-edge industry. I want to eventually build up my proven skills and network with as many people as possible to prepare myself to take a big risk, with an even bigger payoff. Many people follow a cookie-cutter career path, but that trajectory is not for me. Aside from my professional career, my dream is to live life like Anthony Bourdain, travelling the world, exploring new perspectives and sharing my learnings with an open mind with the as many people as possible.
Dean Mullins: Why are you passionate about the Smith School?
Rohan: I am passionate about the Smith School because the Smith community is passionate about the Smith School. Students and faculty alike want to work together to help each other. There is a genuine pursuit of advancement. My classmates are walking out of their four years at Smith equipped with the mindset to tackle any challenge they may encounter. I have already seen major changes in Smith since my freshman year, and I am excited to see what Smith will be like when I come back to visit as an alumnus.
For more information about the Smith Undergraduate Program, visit: http://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/undergrad