Victor Mullins, associate dean of the undergraduate program at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, recently asked Sydni Wright ’20 to share her unique experience during this past summer. Sydni’s “Summer Story of “WOW”” is part of her Smith journey and it may be an inspiration to others. It may also be the beginning of what will distinguish her during networking opportunities and job interviews. Sydni is a Supply Chain Management and Operations Management and Business Analytics double major.
Dean Mullins: Tell us what you did this summer?
Sydni: I had the opportunity to travel to the West Coast for 10 days and visit a number of companies from different industries as a part of the three-credit West Coast Immersion Experience course led by Dr. Mark Wellman, director of the Business, Society and Economy College Park Scholars program. The companies ranged from startups to some of the most popular Fortune 100 corporations--all of which were fascinating in their own way. As we traveled from D.C. to Portland to Seattle to San Francisco, we were able to see how the culture in the workplace varies. Not only did we make connections with people from more than 15 companies, I also forged relationships with other students on the trip. While I’m in college, I hope this trip serves as the first of many as I look to continually expand my horizons.
Dean Mullins: What were the highlights of your experience?
Sydni: The highlights of my trip were the trips to the corporate headquarters of Nike and Boeing. I am a big fan of Nike products, so being at their campus and interacting with their employees – most of whom were University of Maryland alumni - was an experience that I really appreciated. I enjoyed visiting Boeing because we were able to see what the company is like behind the scenes, and how important business processes are at one of the most technologically advanced companies in the world.
Dean Mullins: How/when/why did you plan this experience?
Sydni: I planned this trip during my freshman year because I heard that trips planned by Dr. Wellman are always worth your time and money. Once I saw that this trip was in the planning phase, I expressed my interest to Dr. Wellman.
Dean Mullins: Has this experience helped you to clarify your professional and/or personal goal(s)?
Sydni: When I came into Smith, I was undecided about what I wanted to study and ultimately I decided on Supply Chain Management and Operations Management and Business Analytics just because they sounded interesting. After this trip, I have more curiosity and excitement when I approach my majors after seeing how important they are when it comes to the success of some of the best companies in the world. The skills I will obtain over my next three years in Smith will prepare me for a career at a fascinating companies like the ones we were able to see up close.
Dean Mullins: Tell us how your experience might help you continue along the Smith Journey -- Freshmen: “Build Your Brand;” Sophomores: “Pioneer Your Path;” Juniors:“Command Your Career;” Seniors: “Embrace Your Experience.”
Sydni: During my freshman year, I was trying to Build My Brand, and I did that by attending different events and following up with people that shared similar interests. This experience will help me to Pioneer My Path because all paths must have a destination. This West Coast excursion gave me a great idea of what I am working towards every day and gave me plenty of companies that I aspire to work for one day.
Dean Mullins: What advice would you give to your fellow Smith peers and community?
Sydni: I would tell my Smith peers that they should take advantage of as many traveling opportunities as possible because traveling is a great way to learn about new places, people and things for which you are passionate. One thing that I have learned is that it is most important to find something that you are passionate about because your passion and skills are what will set you apart from everyone else. I found that I am passionate about traveling, helping others and taking on new challenges.
Dean Mullins: What is your dream?
Sydni: My dream is to be happy while being successful. To me, being happy means spending time with family and friends, traveling, and giving back to the community. I strive for a job where I have a solid work-life balance and a team that supports me and that I support in return. Another dream would be to open a family-owned restaurant with my family, something fun and profitable.
Dean Mullins: Why are you passionate about the Smith School?
Sydni: I am passionate about the Smith School because the Smith School is filled with unlimited tools. Whether it is through hosting a company of the day, a SUSA club, or a trip like the West Coast Immersion course, Smith provides us with a lot of resources and opportunities to maximize our potential.
Successful navigation of the SMITH JOURNEY requires 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
For more information about the undergraduate program at Smith, visit: www.rhsmith.umd.edu/undergrad.