Q&A with Will Smith

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Q&A with Will Smith

October 9, 2019
Will Smith ’20

Cyber Security
Austin, TX 

Why UTSA?

I saw that UTSA was #1 in the Nation for Cybersecurity. I wanted to be taught by the best and to be the best in the workplace, so I applied.

Have you always been interested in Cybersecurity?

Yes, I’ve actually had an interest in technology since I was in third grade. I’ve always had a passion for using my knowledge to make people’s lives better and to help them achieve their goals. I enrolled at UTSA as a freshman and quickly picked up many new business skills I needed to succeed in a major Fortune 500 company.

How did you land your internship opportunity with Mastercard?

I reached out to the Vice President of Corporate Security Operations at Mastercard because I was interested in growing technology companies, and she was really impressed with my LinkedIn profile and connections.  After a 17-minute phone conversation, she offered me the first internship ever in her department. In that experience, I truly learned to seize the moment and explore every opportunity that comes my way.

What kind of experience did your Mastercard Internship offer?

I was offered an internship for the Summer of 2018 in Corporate Security Operations. I learned early on that it was a unique experience to learn about two different departments. For five weeks, I worked in the Identity Access department, where I was tasked with building a data analytics platform that would help protect Mastercard’s assets. In Physical Access Engineering, I worked on surveillance at Mastercard locations around the globe.

I returned to Corporate Security Operations in the summer of 2019 as a second-year intern where I managed 11 other interns to create a new financial services app for a competition (we won first place!) I also worked on the Authentication/Authorization Feature Team as well as Physical Access Engineering. I used numerous skills I had learned in the UTSA College of Business courses.  In fact, this week in Cyber Attack and Defense, we began using two programs that I had been introduced to at Mastercard. I saw immediately how my major connects directly to real-life, on-the-job experiences!

Each summer, I took advantage of the opportunities that Mastercard offered me to be more successful in the professional world.  The best part of the internship experience was that I received a job offer to work full-time for Mastercard when I graduate next spring!

What is your advice for Future Roadrunners?

Get involved early on and explore your passions by being able to define your short- and long-term goals. It is what you make it. If you put in 100 percent, you will get out what you put in. Build your network on LinkedIn and connect with high-level people in whatever field you’re interested in. Make sure you post that you are seeking summer internship opportunities. Then when opportunity knocks, answer the door!