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World Bank Trek

April 29th, 2013 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

worldbank

The past month we had the opportunity to visit the World Bank facilities thanks to the arrangements prepared by the Smith International MBA Association. I was always curious on visiting the World Bank since I got to Washington DC, because this institution represents the efforts of several countries in the world to stop poverty,  hunger and improve the quality of life in third world countries.

The prestige of the World Bank as parent institution as well as the other institutions under its umbrella such as IFC, IDB and MIGA is worldwide known. So being able not only to visit its facilities but also learning from firsthand the activities the World Bank performs and how its organizational structure works gave me a well-rounded understanding of the role this institution plays to support countries that want to help improve the difficulties some countries face after a conflict, natural disaster or political distress to guarantee the safety and quality of life of its citizens.

The benefit of being so close to Capital enables Smith Students to take advantage of this type of opportunities and learn more about the global picture and how countries work towards improving for example food safety, water quality, maternity mortality or access to healthcare. Nowadays we cannot say “I live here so other country’s problems do not disturb me”; we have to realize that we live in an interconnected world and that the well-being of all its members affects positively or negatively our lives, businesses and ultimately our planet.

by Ana Castro – 2nd year MBA Student of the Robert H. Smith School of Business.

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Cinco de Mayo Party

March 8th, 2013 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

2012-05-03 19_24_01Well when someone told me at the beginning of April what the Latin club was preparing for 5 de mayo my natural question was: what 5 de mayo is?. So I started asking domestic students regarding this celebration, but could not find an accurate answer since most of them did not know quite well what the Hispanics celebrate that day.

Therefore I went to our friend Wikipedia to know about the history of this day and realized that it is a celebration of the victory of a Battle at Puebla Mexico in 17… over the French army sent by Napoleon that enable the United States to regroup and gain strength to fight them later. So this day is a thank you to Mexico’s people that fought and died that day.

But is it really this what people celebrates?? Nop, people celebrates what does it mean to be Latino!, so all the people that have Latin background or love Latin culture get together to celebrate this day with a lot of tequila and Mexican food!.

So…you might ask me, what did Latin Smith do to celebrate this day? Well, we prepared a piñata, macho mustaches for guys (or girls too) , flower necklace for girls, awesome Mexican food and a lot of margaritas to celebrate it. Everybody had a great time and where able to called themselves Latinos for one night!

by Ana Castro – 2nd year MBA Student of the Robert H. Smith School of Business.

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International Student @ Smith

February 15th, 2013 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

As an International student and Latin American Student the first weeks of class were a little bit overwhelming. But not because of the language or cultural differences, it was because I was so unaccustomed for the student routine from the time when I was a working professional before starting the program.

The diversity of the Smith community is one of the things that attracted me the most when I was applying, because having people from different parts of the world gives you an excellent opportunity to know from firsthand how business are handle in other countries.

By class participation you are able to listen to different points of views from a topic and also share yours in open conversations during class sessions. Particularly I loved Professor Godes class (Marketing Management), where the students are the ones who speak, support or contrast someone else’s opinion about the cases assigned. He was serving as a moderator for our discussions and later he would wrap up and tell us how the case outcome was.

I believe that student’s development on the program depends not on only on faculty but also from the experiences other students share with each other.

by Ana Castro – 2nd year MBA Student of the Robert H. Smith School of Business.

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Club’s Activities

January 17th, 2013 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

club bazaar 2012Since the classes one of the things that I like the most of Smith are the club’s activities, which range from social to professional activities. Last year I was able to participate in networking happy hours with alumni, lunch and learn sessions, women’s in leadership, the emerging market forum and doing Business in Latin America Conference. All these activities were planned and executed by Smith Students, who put all their effort in preparing excellent events to enrich the MBA Experience within Van Munching Hall walls and in DC as well.

I was able to participate in the team of Doing Business in Latin America Conference as a first year. This project was challenging because it involve the coordination with other two schools of the region (Georgetown and GWU) to launch the First Conference in the region regarding the opportunities of growth by investing in any of the Latin American countries.

The variety and diversity or the activities the clubs bring to the smith Community not only enrich the Smith Experience but also impacts positively our brand beyond the school. We are not coming to school only for learning concepts but to put them into practice by participating in extracurricular activities that will translate in greater knowledge and new experiences to take when you leave school after two years.

by Ana Castro – 2nd year MBA Student of the Robert H. Smith School of Business.

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Career Conference Experience

December 7th, 2012 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

nshmba 2012My first conference experience was as a first year at the NSHMBA Career Conference in Anaheim California. I was just arriving to school and rights away you need to start polish your professional image and branding in front of hundreds of companies in only two days.

I prepared a list of companies to target and research the positions they were hiring for at the conference. It was really challenging for me because the conference environment is highly competitive and fast pace, so you have to convey your value proposition to the company in less than a couple of minutes. For a foreigner as me this was a totally new experience, since back home we do not have these large scale events.

The first experience allowed me to identify my strengths and weaknesses and help me to prepare a different strategy for this year’s NSHMBA Conference in Orlando Florida. I believe the previous experience and the knowledge you acquire on the program in your first year enhance your confidence and this is shown in the way you approach recruiters.

Remember conferences is a setting where employers are looking for talent and you are that talent they are looking for, so in order to be a win-win situation you have to prepare yourself, so do your homework and ultimately be yourself.

by Ana Castro – 2nd year MBA Student of the Robert H. Smith School of Business.

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Diwali Night @ Smith

November 16th, 2012 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

Well what can I say about Diwali night @ Smith. My first memory was hearing Shweta saying: “Ana you are one of the dancers for Diwali night”. I just said “what??”, “I do not know anything about India or Indian music”. Nevertheless it has been one of the greater experiences since I arrived to school.

The International MBA Association team prepared such a fantastic event to celebrate an Indian tradition of the festival of the lights here in the US. I was part of the dancing team, which dedicate time an effort to rehearse and prepare traditional Indian dancing moves (like bollywood!!) to show the audience the richness of Indian culture.

That night we were able to watch a colorful fashion show, dancing routing, amazing singers and eat delicious food. That night the Smith community gets together and experiences not only the international diversity within the school but also the camaraderie that characterizes our School.

by Ana Castro – 2nd year MBA Student of the Robert H. Smith School of Business.

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Visiting campus for the first time

October 8th, 2012 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

VMHandClockTowerWhen I receive the invitation from the Smith Admissions Office to have my interview in person or virtually I decided that the best way to have a closer view of Student Life and overall environment was to have an on campus interview.

So, I took the plain from Caracas to DC. Since the beginning I loved that the city is so green and full of life and diversity. Later that day I took the metro to College Park and started my trip to the School. The Main entrance of the University of Maryland Campus is so welcoming, from the time when the UMD Shuttle passed the big M made with flowers on Campus Drive I felt like I was arriving home. Later I met Rodney an ambassador that showed me the School and share lunch with me before my interview with the Admissions recruiter. He was graduating that exact weekend and even if he was on his last day of school and all his friends were already celebrating he volunteered to share his experience at Smith with me.

All the people I met that exact day (students, faculty and admissions staff) help me corroborate that exact feeling I had at the entrance…I was at home. I can definitely say that people at Smith School makes the difference between only going to school and enjoying going to school.

by Ana Castro – 2nd year MBA Student of the Robert H. Smith School of Business.

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Application process

September 28th, 2012 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

higher educationWhen I decided to pursue an MBA I knew little about the pre-MBA duties required to apply to a top Business School. So as an international student I started registering for an English course, since I wanted to improve my reading and writing skills before taking the TOEFL. (At least I knew the TOEFL was a requirement).

After my TOEFL Experience, I believe that the most difficult part of it is that you are sitting next to people that might start speaking very, very, very loud to answer the speak section. This requires an extra effort from you to focus and keep your concentration on you and on your test. My recommendation is to tape your answers and listen to yourself, make someone else listen to you or to your recordings, in that way you will know what to improve among all the areas tested in the speaking section (e.g. pronunciation, fluency, correct tense and logical stories coherence among others).

For the others section of the test, I realized that listen to music in English help me to improve my listening skills, and read great novels, help me in the written area, to gather new vocabulary, while enjoying a great reading time!

For the GMAT I will recommend to study with two different prep materials. In my case I studied with the Kaplan and Manhattan GMAT course materials. I studied at the Kaplan Center in NYC that allowed me to have real life free simulation tests at Pearson Centers before taking the actual test, which ultimately helped me to reduce the anxiety of taking the test.  Take as many practice tests as possible to strength your confidence and timing and you will do more than great! I know you will!

by Ana Castro – 2nd year MBA Student of the Robert H. Smith School of Business.

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