Kevin Li, class of 2019 marketing and information systems double major, writes about the War for Talent panel that is part of the Smith Start program for incoming freshmen at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. Photos are courtesy of Adedeji Adebayo, class of 2018 business information systems major.
The first day of class dawns upon the students of the Robert H. Smith School of Business. The freshman class of Smith race to get to their lectures and discussions, praying they are not late. Internship opportunities and full-time jobs are most likely the last things on their mind as they tiredly grab their syllabi.
However, the Smith school believes that it is never too early to begin thinking about future careers. A Smith student’s future starts from Day One where they learn about a war that they need to prepare for, “The War for Talent.”
“The War for Talent”, named after the eternal struggle for exceptional employees, is a panel hosted annually by the Smith School of Business through the Smith Start program. A program that is designed to assist and prepare Smith freshmen for the next four years of college and their professional lives.
Five panelists from a wide array of backgrounds came to speak and answer questions about the talent marketplace in the Frank auditorium Monday. Among the panelists were Anthony Jablonoski, a recruiting manager from PricewaterhouseCoopers, Liz DiDonato, a senior consultant from Baker Tilly, Katie Hennessey, a senior account manger from PepsiCo, Christine Meyer, a campus recruiter from Bloomberg and Cara Monterosso, a university relations leader from General Electric.
The panel began with the Director of Undergraduate Programs, Ashlee Chicoine (formerly Kerkhoff), introducing the Office of Career Services and the many benefits it has for Smith students. The panelists then introduced themselves and their connection with Smith; DiDonato graduated from Smith in 2013 and Jablonoski taught a course at Smith in the Spring semester of 2017.
The Q&A session of the event kicked off with Chicoine asking the panelists what the War for Talent means to them. Hennessey touched upon both the employer side and prospective employee side of the of the war as she stated that students are thinking, “how am I going to get a job,” while employers are thinking, “how are we going to recruit the students that best fit us?” Panelists collectively agreed that there is continuous competition in the workforce as employers fight to get the best talent and students fight to get the best job.
Panelists then touched upon important core competencies for students to acquire. Both Jablonoski and Monterosso emphasized that adaptability and willingness to learn were two very important competencies to gain in college. Communication skills and drive were two others mentioned by panelists. Something amazing to consider is that while these panelists come from a variety of backgrounds, many of them echoed the same necessary core competencies.
The panelists then delved into positive behaviors to reflect, and final career advice. Jablonoski stressed to students to “be true to who you are” and reflected upon multiple experiences where he was unsure if students were just telling him what he wanted to hear. Meyer recommended that students “start the exploration process now” so that students have more than enough time to truly understand what career path they want to go down. Monterosso succinctly ended the guided Q&A session with two powerful words, “Know yourself.”
After that, students were able to ask their own questions and network with executives in the Smith Atrium. The Atrium was reminiscent of a beehive at that time as freshmen buzzed around from table to table connecting with all the panelists and other executives.
According to freshman finance major Beth Sapitowicz, the panel was “very helpful, and allowed [her] to learn where she could work in the future.”
Freshman business students Matt Schaffer and Anna Dziki agreed with Sapitowicz and added that the panelists were “down to earth and very realistic with their answers.”
Monday also marked the first day of college careers for thousands of freshmen across the world. But for Smith freshmen, it was much more than that; it was the first day of the rest of their lives.
To learn more about the Robert H. Smith School of Business Undergraduate Program, visit: www.rhsmith.umd.edu/undergrad.