December 7, 2020

A ‘Framework for Thinking About Problems’

A ‘Framework for Thinking About Problems’

Nicholas Summers learned a great deal at Maryland Smith, and he taught others a thing or two, mostly in the area of applied cloud computing.

This month, as Summers prepares to graduate from Maryland Smith’s Business Analytics M.S. program, he’s been reflecting on the most important things he’s learned in his five years at Smith, specifically, lessons about how to self-teach and self-motivate. “[Even] beyond college you will have to continually learn,” he says.

Before pursuing his master's, Summers was an undergraduate double major in information systems and economics. But he decided to participate in Maryland Smith’s Plus 1 Program in Business Analytics – a program that allows students to obtain graduate-school credits during their undergraduate years, making it possible to obtain a master of science degree just one year after obtaining a bachelor’s degree.

Summers likes courses that increase his critical thinking skills. “The one thing I like about economics and analytics is that they both provide you a really good framework for thinking about problems.”

As a high school student, Summers got into every one of the nine colleges that he applied to. He chose the University of Maryland because of its high-ranking business program and proximity to home. He’s never regretted it.

While at Smith, Summers was approached by fellow student Graham Schuckman about starting a new class. “We felt that there were certain focus areas that weren’t currently being addressed in the information systems curriculum,” Summer says.

Together with Graham, he co-created the new class, BMGT 299B Applied Cloud Computing in Information Systems. They created the curriculum, arranged the labs, and as student instructors, gave lectures every week. Summers hopes the class eventually will be fully integrated into the Information Systems program with a full-time professor.

Summers, meanwhile, will be onto the next thing, having secured a job at Grant Thorton in Arlington, Va., as an analytics consultant.

The more distant future is still unknown. Summers muses about possibly continuing consulting or going back to school to pursue a PhD.

But the most important thing to him is that he finds a way to help others. “Wherever life goes will be fine but… I just want to be able to help other people, whatever that’s going to look like in 5-10 years.”

And in between, when not furthering his academic or professional career, Summers says he’ll find time for his hobbies – Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, guitar, rock climbing, and his favorite pastime, fishing.

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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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