Last fall as a prospective MBA student, I attended the Smith School Open House event in College Park, MD. Having never before visited the University of Maryland’s campus, and knowing very little about Smith school academics, I had a handful of questions and a stomach filled with nerves when I walked through the doors of Van Munching Hall that morning. The main question I had was—Why choose Smith?
The Open House commenced with a welcome breakfast and the option for prospective students to mix and mingle with representatives from campus clubs and organizations —including the Part-Time MBA Association. The PTMBAA table was my first stop. I asked students everything from what was it like to be in class for four hours after a long day of work, to what was their favorite elective course. (If you are curious, all agreed the global studies program was the best elective, hands-down.) No question was too small or too silly, and I appreciated their honest comments about life in business school. They were eager and excited to share their personal experiences with me.
The remainder of the day consisted of a program overview presented by Smith faculty and breakout sessions specific to MBA programs. Overall, I learned more about the “Smith Experience,” as well as the strong alumni support available for students at any point on their MBA journey. From mock interviews to networking events, Smith graduates want their fellow Terps to succeed and they play an active role in giving back to their Alma Matter.
The event seemed to end too soon, and many of the attendees stayed afterward to continue chatting with current students and faculty about the next steps in the admissions process. This was a great time to chat one-on-one with the potential future professors or to walk around campus.
Attending the Open House was a priceless experience. It gave me the opportunity to speak directly with the admissions team and current students about the MBA and MS programs. I also met prospective students that were in the exact same boat as I was—a bit overwhelmed with the process of going back to school, but overall excited for the new adventure. I even exchanged contact information with a few perspective students, one of which I will be in class with starting this week. I suppose you never know where you can meet a new friend!
Looking back, my main take away from that Saturday was that the Smith school is like no other business school experience out there. Smith’s goal is to help every graduate apply business insight within and beyond traditional business disciplines and to create value for their organizations and their communities, in ways we have not yet imagined. The school is educating students to become agents of positive change in the world. The Smith deans and professors that spoke that day challenged me to consider my future goals and how I could utilize an MBA to be a catalyst for positive change. Talk about inspiring!
My advice to perspective students is to not only attend an Open House, but also attend every admissions event that works with your schedule. Whether you are dropping by to ask a few quick questions or looking to attend a brief information session at the campus of your choice, just make it a priority. These events are a great chance to get the details you are looking for, and an opportunity to experience the campus where you may be sitting a few months down the road.
As I prepare for my first semester as a Part-Time MBA student, I’m glad that I took advantage of all of the informational events that the Smith school held for prospective students. I not only met a great network of current students, faculty, and friends, but also found the business school for me in the process.
Are you interested in attending this year’s Open House? If so, click here to register!
Aubrey Waldock graduated from Butler University with a BS in Arts Administration and a minor in Public Relations in 2008. Since graduation, she has worked on Capitol Hill for both Members of the United States Senate and the House of Representatives focusing on health, education, and labor and pensions policy. Aubrey is currently in her first year of the PT-MBA program at the DC campus