News at Smith

Undergraduate Consulting Students Connect Maryland Businesses To Global Economy

May 17, 2018
Experiential / Reality-based Learning

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Greg Rafal, an undergraduate program manager for the Center for Global Business at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business writes about a global consulting project that Smith students worked on during spring 2018.

During the spring 2018 semester, seven undergraduate students worked on a consulting project for a joint venture between Maryland-based company, Murray Corporation, and China-based company, King Seal. The students were tasked with identifying potential market opportunities in China, India, and Sri Lanka under the supervision of David Ashley, adjunct professor of marketing. The semester-long project resulted in specific actionable recommendations for the joint venture and real-world global consulting experience for the students.

The students were selected from a competitive pool of applicants, and together, boasted a diverse range of knowledge and business skill sets, that included proficiency in Mandarin, data analytics, and previous international work experience. Throughout the semester, the team conducted extensive research and analysis to better understand the markets of interest. Their methods included searching databases, surveying industry professionals around the globe, and meeting with subject matter experts in the state. The team also met with the Maryland Department of Commerce, highlighting the support and resources available to Maryland-based companies looking to export. Fatima Asif, a junior, and finance and operations management major, says, “this project consisted of late-night conference calls, managing schedules across time zones, and taking the initiative to reach out to foreign experts. We learned to trust each other as a team and the level of investment it takes to become industry experts.”

The skills and commitment the students brought to the project contributed to its overall success and were a reflection of the caliber of students at the Smith School. The team demonstrated a genuine investment in the client’s needs through their in-depth research and polished presentation skills. “This project was the hardest, most rewarding project I have ever been a part of—I was able to see firsthand the work that a typical consultant does. Overall, I learned more through the project than I could have learned through any class,” says junior, and information systems and management double major, Angel Rivera-Chavez.

The project was one of many consulting opportunities available to Smith School students at both the undergraduate and MBA level. Through these projects, students have the opportunity to engage with companies in an experiential way solving a real business problem while enhancing their consulting skills. Furthermore, these projects demonstrate the Smith School’s goal to help Maryland companies compete in the global economy. Ashley, who is also a faculty advisor, says, “Maryland businesses benefit from these projects in that they receive a multi-disciplinary student team to tackle a real-world business issue. Students bring a can-do attitude and fresh perspective to their clients while providing actionable recommendations to address complicated business challenges.”

To learn more about global consulting opportunities at the Smith School email the Center for Global Business at global@rhsmith.umd.edu.

This program was funded in part by CIBER, a Title VI grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

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 part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty masters, 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.