Smith Business Scholars Program

Exceptional Learners Become Fearless Leaders

Designed for students with exceptional academic talents, Maryland Smith will premier a new Business Scholars Program in fall 2022. The Smith Business Scholars Program features an advanced and unique interdisciplinary approach. Students will combine access to cutting-edge professional and technical business skills with broader thinking about the role of business in the world, and in relation to multiple academic fields. They’ll then apply this knowledge to thinking critically about the great challenges of our time, including social, environmental, public health, and human rights topics.

Distinguished Faculty

Work closely with distinguished professors from both the business school and the larger university, engaging current issues of real-world impact through the lens of groundbreaking research and multidisciplinary perspectives.

Dynamic Curriculum

Get a big-picture view of business and the many fields and concerns involved with it, coupled with local internship opportunities, collaborative teamwork, and experimentation, original research and research assistance.

Diverse Community

Join a diverse group that teaches students to collaborate with others of diverse interests and backgrounds. Leverage this diversity as you work across disciplines to design business solutions for major national and world challenges.

Multifaceted Opportunities

Use extracurricular offerings like VIP excursions, private meetings with executives, and community service projects to become an imaginative and adaptable leader, challenge long-held assumptions, and think critically about evolving issues.

Industry Access

Engage actively with industry executives and experts through a mix of discussions, lectures and presentations, as well as mentoring, internship and networking opportunities.

Academics: Year One

Accelerated and Multidisciplinary Foundations in Business

An informed business manager requires a solid foundation in both the history and evolution of business functions, processes, and the role of business in the general health and welfare of the United States and the world. That role must be considered critically and from a multidisciplinary point of view, and it is particularly dynamic in view of rapid technological developments, artificial intelligence, automation, and information access. An informed business manager recognizes the importance of ensuring socially responsible practices that respect employee rights, guarantee ethical conduct, and protect the environment. This course provides an overview of these topics relying on senior faculty to ensure that students develop an awareness of their own self to ensure that they match their skills with their individual interests.

This four-credit course is split into four one-credit modules:

  1. Markets and Society: A History, Overview, and Structure of Business. (e.g.: various business functions - what businesses do, and how they do it, types of businesses - startups vs established businesses – critical reflection on business)
  2. The Future of Work: The Evolving Business Landscape. (a focus on current and future events and developments: Intelligent Business, Business and Technology, e.g.: AI, automation, blockchains, crypto, feeling economy, social media, trends, globalization, information access)
  3. The Impact of Business on Society: Responsible Business Practices, Role of Business in Society, Business Society Partnerships. (e.g.: DEI and minority business policies, women in the workplace, fairness, social responsibility, business ethics, climate change, employee activism)
  4. The Intentional Self (e.g., what drives you, what distinguishes an employee, an intrapreneur, and an entrepreneur, how to be an ethical business agent. An important aspect of the course will be for the individual to create a path for themself within this environment. Students will explore career paths that currently exist as well as those that have yet to be defined.)

With the availability of tremendous quantities of information, businesses now have the ability to mine these data sets for insight along numerous dimensions (products, customers, suppliers, operations, finance, and the like). Drawing from various quantitative, computational, and technical fields, those who be analytical managers of or understand the business world of tomorrow must acquire technical skills to process and analyze the data overloads. An analytical manager is well-versed in coding skills to manage and process the data into usable forms and in software tools used to analyze the data. This course introduces students to the basics of processing data into manageable forms for analysis and provides them with the skills to use sophisticated software tools within the context of decision-making. An equally important objective of the course is the transfer of data analytical results into implementable business decisions. Students will learn techniques (including relevant programming approaches) to analyze large data sets as well as the limitations of data sets and the implications of data-driven decisions. They will also be given experience with the many real-world situations where inadequate data exists, but decisions must still be made. The class is intended to prepare students to make general business decisions and represents the necessary foundation from which other, more advanced data analytics and decision-making courses will build upon within the functional areas of business; its tools of analysis also intersect with and empower students to work in a wide array academic disciplines currently invested in new quantitative, computational, and related analytic methods.

Academics: Year Two

Advanced and Interdisciplinary Seminars and Experiential Learning/Capstone Project

This is a required collaborative learning experience. The Smith School would play an active role in ensuring that students have the opportunity to engage in a meaningful industry experience over the summer that introduces them to “life on the job.” Examples of such an experience include shadowing an executive for a day on the job, one-on-one conversations with an industry expert to learn more about practical applications of a topic that the student learned during the first year, conducting an in-depth analysis of the grand challenges of our times, etc. For students who are more research-focused, this may also alternatively involve a research experience, where students engage with faculty in an active research project to understand how research is conducted within a business context.

The world around us is increasingly fraught with uncertainty. The world is also complex and diverse in ways that encompass a diversity of perspectives, backgrounds, cultures, interests, and circumstances. Consequently, managers everywhere need to be effective at handling this uncertainty and they need to be just, attentive, and equitable in their engagements with diversity. This course focuses on skills that enable an individual to be innovative and creative while managing and interacting in uncertain and diverse environments. Managers need the ability to reason clearly and articulate this reasoning to others. While working in a team, the manager needs to be able to follow the points made by their teammates and understand the thinking from those outside the organization. To achieve these goals, this course focuses first on illuminating the key elements of critical thinking and also impasses to deliberation, collaboration, and mutual understanding. It provides students the opportunity to make their own reasoning explicit, reflect on the quality of thinking around them, and to engage, challenge, and learn from the thinking of others in a constructive manner. It dives deep into understanding design thinking, and how one can apply principles of design thinking to build empathy and gain insights into others’ perspectives. Finally, the course provides students the opportunity to apply their learning to innovate in an uncertain context, and gain hands-on experience with the process of creating solutions to enable organizational growth.

Course Design and Delivery

The course will have a lead instructor (also a full-time faculty member) who coordinates with faculty from various departments to bring diverse perspectives and expertise and potentially team teaching given the breadth of topics involved. This course is envisioned to be primarily workshop and activity-based, and to a lesser extent be lecture-based.

Smith Business Scholars Program Sample 4-Year Course Structure

How to Become a Member of the Smith Business Scholars Program

First and foremost, there’s no application needed. You are automatically considered with your application to attend the University of Maryland. Upon admission into Maryland Smith, select students will be invited to participate in our Business Scholars Program Interview Day.

Admissions Timeline for Smith Business Scholars Program

  • Tuesday, February 1, 2022
    Receive list of admitted students into Maryland Smith
  • Friday, February 4, 2022S
    Invite a select group of Smith freshman admits to apply for the Smith Business Scholars Program
  • Friday, February 18, 2022
    Deadline for applications for Smith Business Scholars Program
  • Friday, February 25, 2022
    Invite finalists to participate in Interview Day
  • Friday, March 4, 2022
    Deadline to accept the invitation for Interview Day
  • Saturday, April 2, 2022
    Interview Day for Smith Business Scholars Program
  • Monday, April 4, 2022
    The announcing of the Class of ’26 Smith Business Scholars Program
  • Monday, April 11, 2022
    Deadline to accept the invitation to be a part of the Class of ’26 Smith Business Scholars Program

Contact Us

If you would like more information about the Business Scholars Program, please contact:

Victor C. Mullins, PhD
Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs and Maryland Smith Diversity Officer

301-405-2292 | College Park Campus
301-738-6068 | Shady Grove Campus
vmullins@rhsmith.umd.edu

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