Faculty / September 17, 2020

Meet Neta Moye, Executive Director of Maryland Smith’s Office of Career Services

Maryland Smith’s Neta Moye says her career path hasn’t exactly been linear, but it has had what she calls her “red thread” running through it, connecting her experiences together, like the ancient Chinese legend of an invisible thread intertwining fate.

“That red thread is helping people develop and leverage their talent,” says Moye, a clinical professor of management who now serves in the role of executive director of Smith’s Office of Career Services. “My passion – the thing that wakes me up in the morning – is helping people realize their potential.”

That’s exactly what she hopes to do for Maryland Smith students.

“Our main mission is to help students explore their career and discover how they want to create value in the world, and connect them to employers,” says Moye. “Now we have an opportunity to rethink how we do that and reimagine the programs, the coaching and the other ways we help students explore and transform, and the new ways we connect with employers.”

That opportunity, says Moye, comes from the upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has shifted recruiting activities, events, and internships and job opportunities to the virtual space.

“We are rethinking how we do that and we’re doing it in a way that we’re engaging more of our strengths, like alumni and employer relationships,” says Moye, who says some changes will be here to stay. “This is not just a temporary bandage to get us through COVID. If you think how the future of work is changing, so then, therefore, is the future of career services. COVID is pushing us a little further down a path we were headed to already.”

Moye started her career in human resources, playing various roles from recruiter to specialist in functional areas like compensation. She became the global lead of employee engagement for a Fortune 100 firm, getting exposure for the first time to the enterprise-wide part of HR.

Moye realized a PhD degree would be helpful to design and analyze the types of organizational surveys she was using to understand employee sentiment. So she entered Maryland Smith’s doctoral program.

“But then when I was in the PhD program – and this is a credit to my PhD professors – I caught the research bug,” she says. She loved designing studies, gathering data and analyzing them to answer important questions to help organizations be more effective. “I took the unexpected turn into academia when I thought I was going to stay in industry.”

She accepted a faculty position at Vanderbilt University, but found her way back to industry in a consulting role. Then, in 2014, she returned to Maryland Smith to teach leadership courses across all Smith MBA programs. In that role, she’d build cutting-edge leadership development solutions for students and executive education partners.

Now, her place at the helm of Career Services feels like the perfect fit.

“To really do this role well, you have to understand the academic engine that generates and transforms our students, and you also need to understand where they’re going – the employers, what their needs are, how they select talent, what they are looking for,” she says. “Although not planned, I think my background helps me look at the function of career services from both sides of the table.”

Moye says she probably consulted a dozen friends about taking on the role during the challenging times created by the COVID-19 pandemic. But ultimately, she took on the role, she says, because she loves the Smith School.

Even working at home, she wears her Smith logo pin daily. “If you don’t see it on my shirt, it’s because it’s on my pajamas,” she laughs.

Moye knows students need career services more than ever, amid the pandemic, and she’s driven to help.

“The best way for leaders to develop is through experience, some of which you get in the classroom, but the real development happens when you put it into action,” she says. “You have to continue to up the challenge and stretch yourself.”

Moye sees this OCS role as a big part of her own development as a leader – it’s the stretch she was looking for.

“It’s a big challenge from which I think I am going to learn a great deal and hopefully give back to the Smith School.”

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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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