Recently I had the privilege to preside over the 109th University of Baltimore Commencement, where 195 undergraduate and graduate students marked the end of one part of their professional journey and the start of the next. As I sat on the Lyric’s stage, I looked out at the crowd of talented graduates and thought about my days as a UB student. I recalled the many mentors I encountered at UB – “key stakeholders” of my professional development.
Long ago, when I walked the UB campus as a business student, I had the good fortune to have mentors and advisers who guided me toward any number of valuable learning opportunities. Their influence helped me in ways I can’t begin to measure. I owe them a great deal, but I suspect that if I told them that they would simply characterize it as “part of the job.”
Now, as dean, I work with a new generation of these mentors—faculty, board members and administrators who are just as committed. I can tell you that what they are doing goes far beyond just doing a job.
All of us in the Merrick School of Business are working hard to open doors for our students so they can reach their goals. We believe in the school, we believe in our students. We seek to push the envelope in terms of business education, so that our collective success continues.
Two initiatives that convey why I am so proud of our school are the new Honors Accounting program and the new Internship program. Both of these student-focused endeavors contribute to the professional development of our students.
The Honors Accounting program is the only one in the Baltimore area. Members of the accounting community pitched in to help our faculty and administration to develop a strong model. It will launch in the fall of 2010, and students will be admitted to it by invitation only. It allows our brightest accounting students to receive additional professional resources and enhance their classrooms activities. This is a win-win proposition for our students and their future accounting employers.
The other initiative that is dear to my heart is the Internship initiative. It is designed to augment classroom theory and offer students the chance to participate in carefully monitored, field-based learning experiences in a variety of organizations. Imagine exploring your dreamed-of career while you’re still in school—it’s like walking a path before it becomes a highway. An internship allows students to apply their education, gain experience in a particular field, and prepare for fulfilling careers while having the safety net of the University behind them.
Right now, we are recruiting companies large and small, for-profit or nonprofit to hire Merrick School of Business students as interns. If you have the need and the desire to hire a Merrick intern and help begin their journey, please consider posting a position with us. Our staff is ready to discuss the program with you and answer your questions. And—it nearly goes without saying—we have many students who are eager to enhance their classroom experiences.
I am confident that the direction we are moving in will bolster our reputation as “Baltimore’s Business School.” I deeply appreciate your support and thank you for helping us build strong partnerships in the business community—you are the key stakeholders of our future.
With UB Pride,
Darlene Brannigan Smith, Ph.D.
Dean, Merrick School of Business
Alumna B.S. '78 and M.B.A. '80