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Elliot Dickerson, MBA 2018

“I applied to several DC area business schools, but none could compete with the welcoming community at Smith.”

Focus Area: Social Impact, General Management
Hometown: Greenville, SC
Education: College of Charleston
Before Smith: Charities Aid Foundation America
Extracurricular Activities: Net Impact, Smith Pride Alliance, Emerging Markets Association, Smith Energy Association, Supply Chain and Operations Club

Why did you choose to attend the Smith School of Business?

Starting at my first interaction with the Smith School of Business—an information session with Admissions—I felt the profound sense of community that the Smith School so proudly boasts. Each and every time I attended Smith events such as Smith Showcase or Kaleidoscope, I left with a warm feeling inside. The faculty, staff, and students were interested in me as an applicant, and the degree to which everyone supported one another was quite evident. I applied to several DC area business schools, but none could compete with the welcoming community at Smith.

In your opinion, what makes the Smith MBA program unique?

As someone who is interested in the non-profit sector, the Smith’s proximity to DC is a fantastic asset. Secondly, the small cohort size at the Smith program provides me with a more individualized learning experience, but because UMD itself is a large school, I have access to a sizeable alumni network. Having a smaller cohort was important to me because I am interested in pursuing a career in a niche field. Smith welcomes and nurtures students who wish to pursue careers in fields less common than consulting or finance. These factors, combined with the “Terps helping Terps” spirit at Smith, make this program stand out among many business schools.

What advice would you give to future Smith MBA candidates?

Step outside your comfort zone and don’t be afraid to swim against the tide. It is important to feel comfortable pushing one’s own boundaries because that is where the most growing and learning occurs. Secondly, Smith values diversity in thought and action. You should not feel like you need to fit a standard student mold. If you are interested in a field out of the ordinary and are giving your 100 percent, the Smith community—be it OCS, faculty, or alumni—will support you. That is, after all, what happens at Smith: Terps help Terps.