The Smith Experience

The Robert H. Smith School of Business offers experiential learning opportunities that give MBA students real-world, hands-on experience with companies in the Washington D.C. area– better known as, the Smith Experience. The Dingman Center has three unique offerings within the Smith Experience: AdVENTURE Challenge: China, Venture Practicum and Dingman Venture Fellows.


AdVENTURE Challenge: China is version 2.0 of the China Business Plan Competition. Still an eight-day global experience, we’re kicking it up a notch by taking MBA students to both Beijing and Hong Kong. Think Amazing Race meets venture creation in an opportunity unlike any other offered at the Smith School, including a 2-day competition at Peking University, focused on lean startup methodology. For the first time, Smith MBAs will participate in multinational teams including students from Chinese universities. Students will be able to earn additional points as the group visits Chinese startups and corporations, cultural sights, and by completing mini challenges that will push them out of their comfort zones.


Venture Practicum is a three-credit course where MBA students use skills learned in the classroom on projects for startups in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area. This program has also made a slight change, now accepting only second-year MBAs who are in a better position to work at startups sourced from the Dingman Center Angels investor network. Startups will submit proposals for mission-critical projects that they need MBA talent to work on (no licking envelopes for these students). The students then choose companies based on the projects they want to work and participate in a day-long bootcamp where they are briefed on the project, get to know the company, and ultimately get to work. The course culminates with an in-depth final project and a big boost to the students’ resumes.


Dingman Venture Fellows is our newest program designed specifically for first-year MBA students who are highly interested in entrepreneurial innovation and startups. Once designated a fellow, students work closely with the Dingman Center team and the Office of Career Services to pursue summer internships with VC- or angel- funded startups and early stage companies. Most startups can’t afford to hire the MBA talent they desperately need, so the Dingman Center provides a minimum $5,000 matching fund to Dingman Venture Fellows so that they can secure these internships. Students interested in becoming a Dingman Venture Fellow must submit an application by February 3. For more information, contact Joel Marquis, Assistant Director of Venture Programs at

Are you a student interested in getting more involved with the Dingman Center? Review our website for information on all of our program offerings.

One thought on “The Smith Experience

  1. […] Welcome back to Worth Reading! It felt great to see students back on campus and in the Dingman Center. It’s another busy Friday for the team with Innovation Fridays resuming, the Fearless Founders course kicking off, and students watching pitches from regional startups at Dingman Center Angels Review Day. We’re re-launching a few other programs this semester, particularly for MBA students. In case you missed it, take a look at a recent post on what we’re planning for the Smith Experience. […]

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