Experiential / Reality-based Learning / November 2, 2016

Finance Fellows Networking Night

Finance Fellows Networking Night

Speed dating took on a new meaning for undergraduates studying finance at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business last week. For several hours on Oct. 26, 2016, more than 130 students mixed and mingled with almost 40 professional mentors from the field of finance at the annual Finance Fellows Networking Night. Several of the mentors were Smith alumni who returned to College Park representing firms such as Capital One, Northwestern Mutual, Deloitte, Harborside Group, and SECU, to name just a few.

The event, held in the Riggs Alumni Center, featured 10-minute sessions during which three-to-four students met with one mentor stationed at assigned tables. After the timed sessions, the open networking time provided an opportunity for students to seek out specific mentors from fields and/or companies that particularly interested them.

“Networking Night is our premier event for Finance Fellows,” said Susan White, clinical professor of finance and faculty director of the Finance Fellows program. “Every finance professional I've spoken to says that networking is a lifelong skill - not just something you need to get your first job. This event is a way to help students start to build their networks and hear about the paths that other finance professionals have taken. We have a mix of mentors - recent graduates who can offer timely advice about job searches to high-level executives, in a variety of finance fields.”

David Cencula graduated from the Smith School in 2012 with degrees in finance and accounting and was a Fellow in the Emerging CFO program. He is now a senior analyst with First Annapolis Consulting and returned to College Park because, “The experiences I had in the undergraduate program, and specifically within the Finance Fellows program, helped shape my professional development. It’s very rewarding for me to come back on campus and give back in such a direct way to the current undergraduates. I think I’ve followed a somewhat unique path in my young career and can provide interesting perspective. If I was able to help out a single student, the time spent will have been well worth it.”

One attendee, Jared Ebner, a junior finance and accounting double major said, “The best part about Finance Fellows is the tailored help they provide for the recruitment process. Because of Finance Fellows, I was really prepared for my interviews, both in terms of the technical questions, as well as navigating the qualitative questions.”

Speaking of the program itself, finance and information systems double major junior Arjun Kumar, added, “Finance Fellows really takes care of you. We have a very strong alumni network, and through our special Finance Fellows LinkedIn group, we are able to connect with professionals who were in our shoes a few years ago, and are therefore that much more helpful.”

Jordan Cavanaugh, director of recruitment at Northwestern Mutual in the Rockville and Washington, D.C., offices offered advice for all student attendees:“One tip I have for students is read. Read Barron’s, read Wall Street Journal, read about market news and industry trends. Educate yourself, go beyond the classroom material. This is that line of work where you get out what you put in.”

Finance Fellows Networking Night is an annual event offered to students in the Smith School’s seven finance-related undergraduate fellows programs to which students may apply beginning the spring of their freshman year. The Smith School offers 15 unique Fellows programs and applications for 2017-18 will open December 2016. For more details on all of them, go to the Smith Fellows website.

- Claudia Donnelly, Undergraduate Programs. Philip Peker contributed to this story.

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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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