Brandon Lucas, a junior information systems and management double major, reflects on his experience as president of the Smith Business Academy during fall 2017 at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. This summer Lucas will be working as a commercial technology consultant intern with PwC in Washington, D.C.
It is amazing that we have come to the end of yet another semester in the Smith Business Academy. I could not be more proud of the participation, engagement, growth, and development of each and every one of our members. As I sat down with my executive board to create the fall 2017 agenda this past summer, we were reminded of our goal as an organization. We set out to assist minority men in their professional, academic and social development. By focusing of this mission, we developed a set of seminars designed to aid our members in those areas. This semester our members have learned the following:
- Key components of a strong resume
- How to strategically navigate a career fair
- The skills necessary to ace a behavioral or case interview
- What it takes to thrive in the financial industry
- How to develop leadership skills and strong teams
- How to effectively give a presentation
Not only has the Smith Business Academy given our members the soft skills and hard skills to be successful in life, but the academy has also given our members a community, brotherhood and support system that allows them to confide in one another through any situation they may encounter. It has been a pleasure to see some of our older members mentor new students, edit their resumes, and give them advice on a variety of topics. The Smith Business Academy members continually show why they are “Men of Distinction,” by the way the dress, how they interact with professionals, the internships they have secured, and most importantly the high standards we hold each other responsible to meeting.
In the next five years, I am excited to see what the graduates from our program are doing. Our program helps unlock the intrinsic motivation that is within all of us. As our members leave beyond the University of Maryland and start to pursue their careers or graduate degrees, they will continue to use this motivation and have profound impacts on their new community. Just as our members grow and develop, so does the program itself. Each year I have been pleased to see our members more engaged and more enthusiastic about taking on more challenges. In the next five years, the Smith Business Academy will continue to grow and reach the lives of more and more minority male students. They will be challenged to overcome obstacles, and they will be presented with more opportunities to lead.
As the president of the Smith Business Academy, I have had the unique opportunity to be a member in the academy, serve on the executive board and now lead the executive board and the program. These experiences have helped shape and grow who I am, and I would like to share a few pieces of advice to our freshman and sophomore members.
First, seize the opportunity you have at the University of Maryland, in Smith and in the Smith Business Academy. You are in a phenomenal position to succeed if you apply yourself, seek out mentors, network, and persevere in everything you do. Take advantage of the opportunity to surround yourself with like-minded individuals that will push you and challenge you to be your best self.
Secondly, never become complacent! Never let the success you have achieved, limit your drive to continually develop, grow and learn. You will never reach a point in your life when you can let off the throttle and slow down. Always press forward, stretch yourself and challenge yourself to be the best version of yourself.
Finally, identify your passions and allow that to intrinsically motivate you in everything that you do. There is nothing worse than waking up every day without a fire burning inside you, that encourages you to make the most out of each opportunity that you have. When you develop a mindset where external factors like money and material possessions do not motivate you more than you motivate yourself, it is in that moment you have unlocked the potential to be the most impactful and most successful individual you can be.
For more information about the undergraduate program at Smith, visit: www.rhsmith.umd.edu/undergrad.