Alumni Spotlight: Jyoti Sardana, PTMBA ’18

When Jyoti Sardana started the Part Time MBA program at the Smith School of Business, she never anticipated she would be working alongside professional athletes before her graduation in December 2018.

“I knew I wanted a graduate degree, and I was taking a few tests to get my security licenses so I could trade,” says Sardana, who worked as a registered associate at Morgan Stanley when she started the evening program at Maryland Smith’s Shady Grove campus in Rockville, Md.

By spring 2018, she was doing business development with the National Football League Players Association. The switch was a stroke of luck, combined with the power of the Smith network.

Networking advice: Jyoti Sardana talks about the key to her success at Smith (0:33).

Sardana had just met with an adviser at the school’s Office of Career Services when she ran into a classmate who asked what she was doing there. Sardana explained she was looking for a new career direction and wanted to mix her two favorite worlds — sports and business — into one job.

Just like that, her friend put her in touch with a classmate who worked at the NFLPA. The rest is history.

As a Maryland undergraduate student, Sardana was an economics major in the class of 2012. Since she felt so much at home at UMD, she decided to return to Smith for the very reasons that helped her land her dream job — the network and supportive community.

During her MBA program, Sardana has aimed to take courses that complement the work she’s doing at NFLPA. For example, she took innovation management and design thinking, which taught her about uncovering and leveraging new ideas as well as new venture financing. She’s also working on refining her presentation skills.

While classes are important, she emphasizes the necessity of balancing the MBA with the social aspect. “I go to as many events as I can, even if I have to go alone,” she says. “Networking with cohorts and getting to know them on a personal level is invaluable. There’s always a student willing to help you. Smith helps Smith.”