Back to School!

July 31st, 2014 - No Comments


Once again it’s almost fall in Happy Valley. A new school year begins anew and thousands of students return to the Penn State campus. We happily welcome back our newly minted second year students and look forward to hearing about their summer internship experiences. For many, however, the b-school journey is in its infancy stages as they begin to finalize their goals and determine the short list of schools to which they will apply. Every year, the applications start coming in earlier and earlier, and MBA hopefuls begin attending recruiting fairs to talk with schools as early as July. Attending fairs and meeting school representatives in person can be a great way to really dive into the type of detailed research you should be doing when choosing your target schools. Our events page has our fall event schedule listed, and we will continue to add to it as new things are planned. We hope that you can meet us on the road and/or come to visit the Smeal College of Business in person. We are always happy to set up a visit at your convenience (email Our application will be live on August 1st, and our deadlines for this year are October 1st, December 1st, February 1st and April 1st. We now require one written essay and one video essay for all applicants. Our hope is to be able to match names and faces from the very first application review and really get to know YOU as we work through the process together. Here’s to a great year ahead, and we look forward to seeing you in the coming months.


–Stacey Dorang Peeler

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Penn State Smeal MBA Global Lion Gathering 2014

May 17th, 2014 - No Comments

CIMG0048 (2)   1932277_10152163691907964_987980386_n  Global Lion Gathering Photo 1


Who:  Alumni, New Graduates, Current Students & Incoming Students

When:  Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 6:30pm (local time)

Where:  Your City (see list below for specific locations)


In honoring the Smeal MBA tradition of gathering at a local watering hole on Thursday nights to socialize and network, we invite you to join us as Smeal MBA alumni gather around the globe at 6:30pm (local) to welcome new graduates, interns and incoming MBA students!


The list below shows locations where we recommend gathering. If you would like to add or make changes to a location, please email Erik Orient at Locations will be updated between now and June 12th, so check the blog prior to the event.


No RSVPs. Just show up (you might want to wear your Penn State gear). Please share any photos of the event directly on the Facebook page, Twitter (@SmealMBA) or by emailing them to Ann Mallison at

We look forward to having everyone connect and to seeing photos from each gathering!

Locations (US by state, then International)

Metropolis at Scottsdale Camelview Optima, 7137 E. Rancho Vista Dr, Ste B33 (Lower Level -Same as Self Parking), Scottsdale, AZ

Karl Strauss Brewing Company, 901A South Coast Drive, Costa Mesa, CA

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse,  10690 N. De Anza Blvd., Cupertino, CA

Upcider, 1160 Polk St., San Francisco, CA

Old Chicago, 1102 Pearl St., Boulder, CO

Edge Restaurant & Bar, 111 14th Street, Denver, CO

The Mighty Pint, 1831 M Street NW, Washington, DC

Firestone, 110 South West St., Wilmington, DE

The Grove Spot, 3324 Virginia Street, Miami, FL

Bar Louie, 7335 W Sand Lake Rd #101, Orlando, FL

Twist, 3500 Peachtree Road, NE, STE D1, Atlanta,  GA

Darkhorse, 3443 N Sheffield Ave., Chicago, IL

Fox & Hound, 1416 N. Roselle Road, Schaumburg, IL

Tre Bicchieri, 425 Washington St., Columbus, IN

El Camino, 1314 Bardstown Rd., Louisville, KY

The Rum House, 3128 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA

The Yard House, 126 Brookline Ave., Boston, MA

The Beat Hotel – Harvard Square, 13 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA

James Joyce Pub, 616 South President Street, Baltimore, MD

Quench, 9712 Traville Gateway Dr., Rockville, MD

Whine, 337 E Wackerly St., Midland, MI

Ye Olde Saloon, 1023 Main Street, Royal Oak, MI

Johnny’s Restaurant & Bar, 1017 Russell Blvd., St. Louis, MO

Tribeca Tavern, 500 Ledgestone Way, Cary, NC

Fox & Hound Pub & Grille, 330 N. Tryon St., Charlotte, NC

Foothills Brewing, 638 W 4th St., Winston-Salem,  NC

Trinity, 306 Sinatra Drive, Hoboken, NJ

The Famished Frog, 18 Washington St., Morristown, NJ

The Ivy Inn, 248 Nassua Street, Princeton, NJ

Market Street Brewery, 63 W Market St., Corning, NY

The Royal NYC,  127 4th Avenue, New York, NY

Hudson Hotel, 356 W 58th Street (at 9th Ave.), New York, NY

Bar Louie, 98 Greece Ridge Center Dr., Rochester, NY

Moerlien Lager House, 115 Joe Nuxhall Way, Cincinnati, OH

The Greenhouse Tavern, 2038 E 4th Street, Cleveland, OH

Brix Tavern, 1338 NW Hoyt St., Portland, OR

McGrath’s Irish Pub, 202 Locust Street, Harrisburg, PA

Bethlehem Brew Works, 569 Main Street, Bethlehem, PA

P.J. Whelihan’s, 799 Dekalb Pike, Blue Bell, PA

Champps, 330 Goddard Blvd., King of Prussia, PA

Continental Mid-town, 1801 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA

Iron Hill Restaurant & Brewery, Chestnut Hill, 8400 Germantown Ave., Philadelplhia, PA

Ten Penny, 960 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, PA

Stokesay Castle – The Knight’s Pub, 141 Stokesay Castle Lane, Reading, PA

Mad Mex, 240 S. Pugh Street, State College, PA

Side Bar & Restaurant, 10 E Gay Street, West Chester, PA

Wiskey Republic, 515 S Water St., Providence, RI

The Alchemy, 940 S. Cooper Street, Memphis, TN

Third Base Northwest, 13301 US 183, Bldg E, Austin, TX

Christies Sports Bar & Deli, 2811 Mckinney Ave. #22, Dallas, TX

3rd Floor, 2303 Smith Street #300, Houston, TX

Gracie’s Bar, 326 SW Temple, Salt Lake City, UT

Blue Iguana, 12727 Shoppers Lane, Fairfax, VA

Sport Restaurant & Bar, 140 4th Avenue, North Suite 130, Seattle, WA

Zeta Bar, Hilton Hotel Beijing, 2nd floor, 1 Dong Fang Road, North Dong Sanhuan Road, Chaoyang, Beijing, China

Bay 146 at The Savera Hotel, 146, RK Salai, Mylapore, Chennai, India

Sports Bar & Grill Marylebone, Melcombe Place, London NW1 6JJ, UK

Kaab, No 5, North Block, Xintiandi, 181 Taicang Rd., Shanghai, China

On Tap, No 21,  Alley 11, Lane 216, Zhongxiao East Road, Daan District, Taipei City, Taiwan

 ***Locations added/edited after initial posting are in BOLD****

**Last edit on 6/2/14**


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Leadership Immersion – Quantico, VA

April 30th, 2014 - No Comments

Today our guest blogger is Erik Orient, Student Services Director, who shares details about the recent Leadership Immersion trip to Quantico, VA.


As the second offering in the Leadership Immersion series, 15 MBA students traveled to Quantico, VA on Apr 24-25 to visit Marine Officer Candidates School (OCS) and learn about Marine leadership styles, culture, and decision-making. Upon arrival on Thursday night, the students received a “Welcome Brief” from the OCS Commanding Officer, Colonel Harold Van Opdorp. Once he departed the room, the Marine Drill Instructors took over and the atmosphere became distinctly unwelcoming. Students spent a hectic few hours getting settled into the military barracks while trying to rapidly adjust to a disciplined military mindset. After just a few hours of sleep, they were back on their feet and headed to the classroom building for morning briefings.


Friday morning kicked off with a leadership presentation and a panel discussion so that the MBA students could learn about the Marine Corps’ warfighting doctrine and leadership philosophies. They were then divided up into teams (mixed in with Wharton and Cornell MBA students) and sent off to either the high ropes course or the Leadership Reaction Course (LRC). The high ropes course tested their confidence while the LRC tested decision-making and communication skills. As teams finished both courses, they progressed to the Combat Course where they negotiated a shortened and simplified version of what Marine Officer Candidates endure during training. Even so, they went through “The Quigley” which could best be described as 50 yards of filth.


After taking much needed showers, the MBA students went to a closing reception at the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Here they interacted in a much more relaxed atmosphere with their Marine instructors while enjoying a beer at the Tun Tavern (a pub in the museum modeled after the birthplace of the Marine Corps).


Due to the success and positive reactions to both the Quantico trip and the previous “Firefighter for a Day Challenge” in March, the Smeal MBA program hopes to offer similar Leadership Immersions in the upcoming years.



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Can you see into your MBA future?

April 22nd, 2014 - No Comments

Recently, I did an interview with the website, MBA Crystal Ball. I’m sharing an excerpt here hoping the information provided will be helpful to our readers! To read the full interview, please visit:


MBA Crystal Ball: You have a fairly small class size. What’s the philosophy behind keeping the class size small unlike many other schools?

Stacey: A small class allows for extensive interaction with both our faculty and with other classmates. Though Penn State University is large, the Smeal MBA Program is very small.

We want to ensure our students receive personal attention throughout their entire MBA experience, and also that we continue our tradition of a program that has a close-knit and collaborative community.

At Smeal, every student has his/her own unique story and ambitions. It’s very important to us that are students get what they need from their MBA education and are never just a number.

MBA Crystal Ball: Give us some more insight into the application evaluation process. Who does it, what is the level of rigor etc.

Stacey: We have a committee who evaluates all applications. We look at all elements of the application package to determine capability for academic success, fit with our community and culture, and of course, if the candidate’s career goals make sense and fit with our academic strengths and the opportunities we can provide.

Fit on multiple levels is imperative. A bad fit can negatively impact both the student experience and the program.

MBA Crystal Ball: MBA programs encourage diversity. Has the Smeal MBA class had any students with very unusual backgrounds?

Stacey: We absolutely DO encourage diversity on many levels! We have had students who are doctors starting a new career, teachers who are now interested in marketing, entrepreneurs who want to grow their businesses or start new ones, men and women transitioning out of the military or continuing military careers, and lawyers looking to add business acumen to their law expertise.

I think two of the most unusual backgrounds I’ve seen are the actor turned Digital Media Director, and the professional musician turned marketer!

To read the full interview, please visit the Smeal MBA interview post on MBA Crystal Ball.

–Stacey Dorang Peeler

Identifying the Marketable Skills Employers Look For

April 15th, 2014 - No Comments

Today we welcome Mike Brown, Director of MBA Career Services for the Penn State Smeal College of Business as our guest blogger.

Identifying the Marketable Skills Employers Look For

By Mike Brown, Director, MBA Career Services Smeal College of Business

I found the results of an Internet survey of 750 hiring managers to be noteworthy enough to share with you. Survey results concluded that: a) 9 of 10 job candidates had not adequately identified their most marketable skills, and b) candidates could not adequately convey them in a job interview. Staggering results in light of the fact that job interviews play a major role in whether a candidate receives a job offer.


Think of the advantage that you would have if you already identified those skills and personality traits interviewers and hiring managers look for. At Smeal’s MBA Career Services, we believe that those characteristics fall into three categories: Competency, Commitment and Compatibility.


Competency — your skills that relate to the job’s responsibilities. These are often called the “technical skills.” Your competencies to use instrumentation, to write programs, analyze data or craft compelling marketing messages are “can do” skills. Knowing how you match these competencies is the first step in obtaining an interview. Just knowing them, however, is not enough. Recall achievements or examples of how you used those skills, and you will distance yourself from 80% of your competition. Recall times when you saved your company money or time. Think of instances when you looked at alternative solutions that reduced costs, or reduced waste or made better use of resources.


Commitment — the traits that motivate you to do your best work. Employers look for drive, energy, enthusiasm or your desire to get things done. Speaking of your energy, initiative or your ability to give extra effort is a major trait sought by employers. Pride in your work and always taking the extra step to ensure a job is done will separate you from others. As with competency, think of examples of times when you’ve demonstrated your motivated traits.


Compatibility — the third characteristic for improving your marketability is your ability to “fit in.” Employers and potential team members look for strong communication skills, good listening skills, great chemistry and social skills…in short, likeability. Honesty and integrity are vital to a smooth transition into a new work environment. Ask yourself how well you accept feedback, and how well you give it constructively. In the interview process, these characteristics will come to light in a peer or group interview with potential team members.


Your potential employer will be looking for the best combination of competency, commitment and compatibility; the “walk on water” candidate. Potential colleagues or peers will be interested in your ability to “fit in.”  Seldom in one’s career do we really stop and “take stock” of these characteristics that make up our own personal brand but I urge you to take stock of yours.


Remember yours is not just a job or internship search but a marketing campaign. Those who believe that, have a greater advantage over those who don’t.


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Summer is coming…

April 8th, 2014 - No Comments

…and going. As you look forward to MBA orientation in August, you might think “I have the WHOLE summer ahead of me!”. Before you know it, you’ll be packing up and moving to campus and the time will have flown by.

While it’s important to get some rest and relaxation in before the program starts, there is also business to attend to. Please make sure you are keeping up with program emails and assignments. There will be pre-work to do for accounting and also for our Career Services team. Our goal is to position you to come into the program and be well-equipped to succeed  both academically and on the career front from day one.

If you haven’t made housing arrangements yet, NOW is the time. Don’t forget, your “go to” place for information is our Admitted Student page:

We can’t wait to welcome you to Smeal in person in just a few short months!

–Stacey Dorang Peeler

“Firefighter for a Day Challenge”

April 2nd, 2014 - No Comments

Today we welcome guest blogger Erik Orient, Director of MBA Student Services at the Penn State Smeal MBA Program.

On Mar 27, 2014, 40 Smeal MBA and EMBA students had a once-in-a-lifetime experience with the New York City Fire Department.  As part of the newly piloted “Leadership Immersion” for the full-time MBA program, the students traveled to New York City and spent a day learning about leadership, decision-making, implicit communication, and selfless service from FDNY professionals.

The “Firefighter for a Day Challenge” started with a terse welcome from one of the FDNY Lieutenants, breaking into teams, and some calisthenics. After that, each team spent the day paired up with experienced firefighters while going through scenario-based leadership exercises such as hose drills, casualty recovery operations, emergency responses, confined space negotiation, and extinguishing fires.  A few students also got to participate in the final event, ominously named the “mother of all drills” which could simultaneously be described as both terrifying and exhilarating….and really, really, hot.

Throughout the day, each team reviewed its actions with their FDNY leader and learned a great deal about themselves and, maybe more importantly, the firefighter culture.  Most of us already harbored great respect for our first responders, but it increased enormously by the end of the training as we recognized the unbridled courage, physical stamina, and commitment to others that is a part of the firefighter’s character.

We concluded our visit with an emotionally challenging visit to part of the training facility.  The same lieutenant who initially greeted us with a granite face and stern language had now softened ever so slightly as he stood in front of 343 pictures of his fallen brothers who were killed in the line of duty on September 11, 2001.  It was immediately clear why he and his fellow firefighters are so razor focused on always being at the top of their game.  The price for second rate performance in their line of work is a human life, and that’s a bottom line tha

t very few of us ever have to think about.

- Erik Orient

Our thanks to the FDNY for sharing their time and talents!


Sandy Simler is suited up and ready to take on the fire.

Sandy Simler is suited up and ready to take on the fire.

The FDNY Helmet that returned to the Smeal MBA Program.

The FDNY Helmet that returned to the Smeal MBA Program.

Fires burn as our MBA and EMBA students spend a day with the FDNY.

Fires burn as our MBA and EMBA students spend a day with the FDNY.

Global Immersion

March 20th, 2014 - No Comments

March 3rd-7th our students went on Global Immersion to different parts of the world and for my 2nd time I was able to accompany them. I was one of the staff members that took 22 students to Lima, Peru. It was an amazing week. We were able to see how business is done in an emerging economy, different from ours in many ways. Outside of the companies and business side of the trip there was also a lot to learn about the culture of the area. We toured the city, ate great fresh seafood, and even visited an ancient archeological site (

The things that can be learned and experienced through stepping outside of the everyday and traveling around the world are truly amazing and I encourage everyone to try to see as much as they can at every opportunity. After all, as you progress in your careers the entire world will become the marketplace you each will want to take advantage of. The more you expose yourself to different cultures and experiences now the better.

Plus the views are terrific.
-Scott Sylves

Honor & Integrity at the Penn State Smeal College of Business

March 13th, 2014 - No Comments

*Today we welcome guest blogger, Jennifer Eury to our Admissions Blog.*

Hi, I’m Jennifer Eury, and I’m the Honor and Integrity Director for the Smeal College of Business. Honor and integrity are important to our community, and in fact, these values underscore who we are as a leading business school community.

At Smeal, we have an Honor Code:

We, the Smeal College of Business community, aspire to the highest ethical standards and will hold each other accountable to them. We will not engage in any action that is improper or that creates the appearance of impropriety in our academic lives, and we intend to hold this standard in our future careers.

In fact, in 2006, MBA students helped to draft this code, which was later adopted by the Smeal community in 2007. Every semester, we invite students (and all members of the Smeal community) to sign the honor code and reaffirm their commitment to integrity and ethical behavior in their academic lives and future careers. The photo here is from a recent signing event.

In addition to signing the honor code each semester or staffing the honor code signing tables, there are a number of ways for MBA students to get involved and to help promote integrity and ethical behavior. For example, each semester we invite speakers to campus to share their successes and their failures, and to engage in a candid dialogue with our students. We host executive-level speakers to talk about leadership as part of the Executive Insights series, and each of these speakers address ethics in the professional workplace and how they lead with integrity in their own careers. Most recently, we also hosted former HealthSouth CFO Aaron Beam, who spent three months in federal prison for fraud, as part of our G. Albert Shoemaker Lecture series. We also encourage our student organizations to identify opportunities to promote honor and integrity through special events and activities.

This is indeed a special community. I hope you will consider learning more about our commitment to helping our students develop the skills and knowledge to prepare them for the ethical dilemmas that they will experience in the professional workplace. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I can be reached at 814-867-5106 or via e-mail at

Honor Code Signing

Honor Code Signing

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Now What?

February 25th, 2014 - No Comments

You applied to b-school for Fall 2014—and didn’t get in. Now what? Panic? Hide under your bed? Give up your worldly possessions and move to the forest?

Start with a deep breath. A b-school rejection is what you make of it. While not the outcome for which you had hoped, how you handle it could very well determine if it’s just a speed bump on the road of life, or if it completely throws you off course.

Fact: The b-school admissions process is very competitive. Thousands of bright people of strong character get denied from their top choice each year.

Fact: Many dust themselves off, figure out what went wrong, correct their course, and get into b-school the following year.

At Smeal, we make it a practice to offer feedback to denied applicants so we can help them understand what went wrong and advise on how they might improve their chances in the next year’s admissions cycle. While we recognize you can’t go back in time and change things such as undergraduate transcripts or a job on your resume that might have been a bad fit, there is a lot you still CAN affect in time to apply again next year. If you have been denied this year and want to re-apply, please contact us between May and July and we’ll set up a feedback call with you.

Meanwhile, here are some of the aspects of the application to think about:

1)If you interviewed, how did it go? Did you feel prepared? Were your goals clear? Did you present the best picture of yourself that you could have while remaining true to yourself and your ambitions? If English is your second language, did you communicate confidently and clearly? Did you take the option to interview in-person if it was available to you (and feasible)? Did you present yourself in a professional manner (dress, mannerisms, etc.)

2)Did you choose recommenders who could really paint the best picture of what it’s like to work with you in a professional setting? Were your recommenders people who truly knew you well—and could attest to both your strengths and challenges?

3)Was your GMAT/GRE test performance as strong as it could have been? Did you prepare in earnest and do your best?

4)Does your resume present all of the information a committee needs to understand your experiences and accomplishments? (Including a clear time line of job progression, promotions, and duties.)

5)Did you take advantage of optional pieces of the application at schools who offered them? (i.e. Video submissions, additional essays, etc.)Taking the time to go the extra mile says a lot about your character. Optional pieces of the application are likely never a make it or break it part of the application, but they can help the committee get to know you better.

6)Were your essays clear, well-written, and organized logically? Did you answer the question asked and follow the directions regarding length/word limit? Did you use grammar and spell check (seriously—some people forget!)

7) Did your goals align with the strengths of the program—and did you apply to programs that made sense for your career and academic goals?

Part of the educational journey, and life’s journey, sometimes means failing and trying again. We hope that you will use your experience to learn more about yourself and your goals, and use that new found knowledge to apply again next year if that’s the best decision for you. In the long run, failure is only a true failure if we learn nothing from it.

–Stacey Dorang Peeler

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