Experiential / Reality-based Learning / June 27, 2024

Smith Partners with Deloitte for Spring Experiential Learning Opportunities

Smith School students present their innovative project solutions showcasing their analytical skills and real-world problem-solving expertise developed through collaboration with Deloitte professionals.

As the semester drew to a close, business students in database systems and data analytics courses were putting learning into practice with support and guidance from experts in the field.

On April 23 and 24, Smith School faculty welcomed professionals from Deloitte for “Takeover Days.” Attending virtually and in person, 333 students across 13 classes were challenged with projects designed by consultants at Deloitte along with John Bono, associate clinical professor of Information Systems and director of the Smith Analytics Consortium (SAC).

During the takeover days, students were presented with a practice synopsis based on scenarios regularly faced by professional consultants and tasked with conducting a series of analyses on the data for each project.

“This is what the students are learning about, but having Deloitte come in to set up real-world case studies gives them new ways to apply what they learn,” said Bono.

Louiqa Raschid, Dean’s Professor of Information Systems agreed that “it was a good affirmation for both the instructor and the students that what is covered in class is directly applicable in the real world.”

The experiential learning opportunities continued into May with final capstone presentations in the Information Systems (BMGT407) class. In the fall semester, the Systems Analysis and Design class (BMGT403) students worked with outside businesses to develop a statement of work (SOW). In the spring, they finalized that SOW and continued to work on their design implementations. Students worked with student artists, local restaurants and travel planning companies as well as student organizations on campus.

During the week of May 6, student teams presented their functional system prototypes–phase three of the project– to the class as well as judges from Deloitte, who had also provided feedback in phases 1 and 2 of the project.

“I think one of the interesting things about this project is that you really get to see the full product life cycle development from end to end,” said Jackson McAtee, a data engineering consultant at Deloitte. He added that sometimes in the professional world, you only touch part of a project, so being part of an entire project cycle helps to prepare students for the variety of roles they may encounter during their career.

The value of the classwork extends beyond Smith, according to Jake Holland ’23 an engineering analyst at Deloitte, who took the course when he was at Smith. Holland said it forces you to find the answers on your own and in return you have “a great product to show” in interviews and on a resumé.

Lucas Gonzalez-Rey ’25, whose team was recognized for their work on the Club Baseball Merchandise site, appreciated the judges feedback from a user perspective. “It really highlights how equally important functionality and design are,” he said.

Working in a setting that modeled a real-world team is what Zoe Paidas ’24 liked about the class and praised Bono’s teaching. “These teaching methods instilled teamwork and problem-solving skills that I am confident will help me succeed in my tech consulting job post-grad,” she said.

The winning teams were Pickleball Getaways, made up of students Roy Ad ’24, Abraam Benitez ’24, Maura Friddle ’24, Abigail Karl ’24, Jesse Leibovitch ’24, and Aaron Pollokofff ’24 and Club Baseball Merchandise, comprised of Thomas Bott ’24, Lucas Gonzalez-Rey ’25, Michael Haramis ’24, Jeff Jiang ’25, Saraiya Rogers ’24 and Neena Sengupta ’24.

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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and flex MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, business master’s, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.

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