May 3, 2024

Students And Alumni Reap Rewards From The Terp Network Team

Jayant Gupta, MBA '12, Adam Shpall, OCS, and Bill Sherman, MBA & MFIN '20

Developing a career outreach strategy was something the Smith Office of Career Services (OCS) saw as a need for students. So they wanted to source one of the school’s greatest resources to help students get comfortable with this important step in career prep: Smith alumni.

Bill Sherman, MBA & MFIN ’20, president of Pendulum Analytics

 “Just making that first outreach is scary and we have a lot of alumni asking how to help,” said Neta Moye, assistant dean and executive director of the Office of Career Services. The Terp Network Team (TNT) was created as a result. Moye said it allowed the team to leverage the Smith alumni network to help students with one of the greatest challenges in a career journey.

TNT connects a Smith alumni volunteer with a student for a 45-minute informal meeting, facilitated by a career coach from OCS. The goal of the meeting is to help the students with their outreach strategy.

Moye stressed this is not a recruiting opportunity, it is career prep to help students “get over the emotional block” of talking to someone they have never met and get advice about their outreach strategy.

For alumni, it is an easy way to give back to the Smith community. No preparation is required. “It’s simple, but impactful,” Moye added.

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Alumni volunteers, students and OCS staff gathered at a Terp Network Team alumni appreciation event on April 30
Alumni volunteers, students and OCS staff gathered at a Terp Network Team alumni appreciation event on April 30

Since the start of the program, over 126 alumni have taken part in the outreach sessions, with many alumni signing up for more than one student meeting. One such alumnus is Bill Sherman, MBA & MFIN ’20, president of Pendulum Analytics. He has been working with TNT since its inception. Sherman is co-chair of the Smith Alumni Board’s Career Services Committee and collaborated with Moye to integrate design thinking into the TNT development framework, something he said he learned about as a Smith MBA student.

“The most rewarding part of the TNT program for me is the opportunity to advise the next generation of global leaders in an informal setting,” Sherman said.

Over 98% of the meetings available are quickly grabbed by Smith students. Student feedback indicates they would highly recommend the opportunity to other students, and they feel that it has significantly helped them with their outreach strategy. In a post-session survey, one student said, “This was truly a great experience. I learned many new things today about job search and careers, and I am especially grateful for the alumni mentor's expertise in how to improve my resume and LinkedIn.”

“Students often come to me feeling discouraged after applying to many jobs without success,” Sherman said. “One key piece of advice I provide is to focus on building relationships with key people in the hiring process. This goes beyond just sending a generic email.” He encourages students to personalize their outreach messages by doing research on the company as well as the individuals they are contacting.

Despite the high involvement rate from alumni, Moye said there is always room for more.

“You only have to sign up once,” she added.

Sherman encourages alumni to learn more to see if TNT is a good way for them to give back. “TNT is making a real difference in the lives of early career professionals,” he said. “I've been involved with TNT for a couple of years now, and it's been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.”

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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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