Honor and Integrity at Smeal

October 24th, 2014 - No Comments

Today we welcome Jennifer Eury, Director of Honor and Integrity at the Smeal College of Business, as our guest blogger!

Integrity is fundamental to the Smeal College of Business community. From semi-annual Honor Code signings and interactive seminars with student organizations to special events with alumni and company representatives, we invite all members of the Smeal community to get involved and to promote integrity and ethical behavior.


Last week, Rich Pilston ’07 MBA, Business Manager – Concrete Cloth at Milliken Infrastructure Solutions, LLC, a subsidiary of Milliken & Company headquartered in Spartanburg, SC, returned to Happy Valley. Rich, who is now a member of the MBA Alumni Advisory Board, was also instrumental in starting the Smeal Honor Code.


On his visit to campus, Rich engaged with more than 100 students, sharing his commitment to integrity and ethical behavior. From a luncheon with the MBA Association and classes with undergraduate students to our inaugural “Ethics with an Executive” dinner, Rich shared personal stories and professional insights about the importance of integrity in the workplace. The photo below features Rich and a small-group of Smeal students at “Ethics with an Executive;” this special event provided a venue for meaningful discussion around business ethics, and most of all, an inside look at the types of ethical dilemmas that an executive experiences.


Smeal MBA Alumnus Rich Pilston & students at the “Ethics with an Executive” event.

Smeal MBA Alumnus Rich Pilston & students at the “Ethics with an Executive” event.


For more information about integrity at Smeal, visit



Jennifer L. Eury

Honor and Integrity Director

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Celebrating 25 Years of Service

October 14th, 2014 - No Comments

October 18th will be a special day to celebrate with and express gratitude to MBA Employer Relations Manager Carol Lockard. Carol has provided 25 years of exceptional work and commitment to the Smeal MBA Program. Carol coordinates internship and permanent recruiting events for companies and MBA students, making the recruiting experience as easy and effective as possible for all constituencies.

As a new employee, I’ve been especially grateful to have a colleague like Carol for a number of reasons. Carol is exceptionally well connected to our alumni, she has extraordinary institutional memory, and she is willing to help anyone at any time. Her days may be filled with a high volume of activity but she will always find the time to collaborate with her colleagues or encourage students in their efforts. I had the pleasure of talking with Carol recently about reflecting on her Penn State career so far.

Brenda: “What do you like most about your job?”

Carol: “The interaction with employers and the students. I have a nice balance with both groups of customers. Although we have a recruitment cycle, every day is a different day.”

Brenda: “How would you describe or characterize the Smeal MBA community?”

Carol: “It is a tight knit community. The current students are curious and hungry to network with our alums. It’s rewarding to have MBA alums come back to interact on a personal basis as well as recruit. It’s great to see how successful they have become and hear about their career journey.”

Brenda: “What have you seen change the most from when you started to now?”

Carol: “The technology changes over the years has been a plus. I’ve gone from hard copy resume drops and folders to sign up for interviews to the current online technology. I don’t miss mailing and faxing resumes and schedules to companies. Our online recruitment management system can be accessed anywhere in the world for both the students and the companies.”

When we consider the contributions of people like Carol Lockard to our efforts, it’s easy to understand how 90% of our most recent graduating class had employment offers within three months of graduation. Carol exemplifies the sort of commitment to our students, alumni, and employer partners that makes the Smeal College of Business one of the best in the world.

-Brenda Fabian, Assistant Director of Employer Relations and Recruiting

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Video Essay Tips

October 3rd, 2014 - No Comments

This year we have implemented a mandatory video component in our application process.   You will be asked to answer three randomly generated questions. Each question will allow you 45 seconds to respond. Before the official questions are asked, applicants will be walked through a brief registration process, short software demo, and a technology test. Applicants will also be required to do a practice run through before recording the official video. The entire process should take no more than 30 minutes, assuming there are no technical difficulties. (http://www.smeal.psu.edu/mba/admission/mba/admission/apply)

The questions we ask are ones that help us get to know you better, while at the same time requiring you to think quickly and answer concisely.

Here are a few tips:

1)      Read the instructions. All of them. Thoroughly. If you don’t there is a chance that your video will not upload correctly, and we will not be able to watch it.

2)      Relax! Imagine you are talking to a new colleague, one who wants to learn more about you.

3)      Test your microphone!   Make sure that we can hear your responses.

4)      Dress professionally, as you would for an interview and record the video in an appropriate location with good lighting.

5)      Smile! A smile goes a long way in making both you and the admission review team feel connected.

6)      Don’t panic if you run out of time or don’t answer one question well. Regroup and move on to the next question. The ability to recover from an error says a lot about a person’s character.

7)      Answer professionally. We want to get to know you, but we are business acquaintances, not best friends. Tailor your responses appropriately.

8)      If you have technical issues or concerns, contact LikeLive by clicking the “Need Help” button. They offer 24/7 support.

We look forward to reading your applications and seeing your videos. Good luck with your application process.

Ann Mallison

Associate Director of Admissions at the Penn State Smeal MBA Program

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Be Prepared!

September 8th, 2014 - No Comments

I was talking with a student yesterday about Disney movies (a frequent topic for those who see some of my office décor). He proclaimed that his favorite Disney film is The Lion King. Being the villain enthusiast that I am, our conversation led me to think of the character, Scar, and his ode to preparedness in the ominous tune, “Be Prepared.” While I certainly don’t recommend Scar’s sneaky and underhanded approach to preparation for what he deems success, the take away is that if you want to be successful, you’d better have a plan and be ready!
Of course, preparing for the b-school application process shouldn’t be quite as scary as a hostile animal family feud, but it can be intimidating, stressful and confusing at times. Agree or not, most MBA programs still require the GMAT exam for admission. Some schools will also take the GRE, but almost all require some form of standardized test. And schools expect your scores to be good—in some cases, VERY good.
Some tips on standardized testing:
1)Do NOT take the test “cold” just to see how you’ll do. It’s an investment of time and money. If you can do your best and do well the first time, you can check the test off your list and move on crafting the rest of your application. 
2)Take full-length practice tests and review the results carefully and thoroughly. To get a good simulation of how test day will really go, you need to train yourself to sit through the entire exam, keep your focus sharp, and think in advance about how to approach any roadblocks that might come up on test day.
3)Re-test cautiously. If your first attempt doesn’t represent your best work, you can test again. However, make sure that you DO something in between test administrations to ensure you can expect score improvement. Simply waiting a couple of months with no practice and effort in between test dates will unlikely yield a result any different from your first testing experience.
There are many options available when it comes to test preparation. Companies like Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions or The Princeton Review offer private tutoring, live courses, and online prep options. Dozens of companies produce lower cost books and software available for purchase in your neighborhood bookstore or online. In addition, the test makers and companies like GMAT Free offer no cost materials for exam preparation. You need to assess how you study best and how much work you may need to do to reach your target score, and then proceed accordingly in the way that makes the most sense for your needs as an applicant.
In a nutshell, whatever you do—BE PREPARED!
–Stacey Dorang Peeler

When should I apply?

August 28th, 2014 - No Comments

As our application season has gone live and the first deadline is approaching one of the first questions we get from interested applicants is what deadline should I apply for? Our basic stock answer in response to this question is apply as soon as you can when your application is as strong as it can be. But what exactly do we mean by that?

We mean that it is in your best interest to apply as soon as you can. At that point there are less applications in our pipeline therefore less “theoretical” spots have been taken in the class. I say “theoretical” because we do not have a set number of seats we try to fill and then shut the door, we instead take any and all qualified candidates, but applying earlier allows you to be part of the class as it takes shape as opposed to being a piece that has to fill into an already constructed class. Also the earlier you apply the earlier you can figure out your options, if you are admitted that could be beginning your i20 process or securing housing, if you are denied it could allow you time to apply to that other program you had your eye on.

That being said don’t apply until you have your application at its best. If you are thinking about a GMAT retake trying to bring up your score it may pay off to hold on and try it. We only look at the highest score. If you think you want to have another friend/family member/peer look at your essay question to make sure it’s the best you can do, you may want to wait. If you think you are about to get a promotion at your work that would make your resume look even more impressive, it may pay off.

Other tips on when to apply:

We have 4 deadlines for applications Oct 1, Dec 1, Feb 1, and Apr 1. Anyone can apply for any of the deadlines however if you would like to be considered for financial awards you must apply for one of the first 3. So that would be my first piece of advice is to do whatever you can to apply for one of the first 3 deadlines. Even if you don’t think you will be qualified to receive awards why not give it a chance? No extra forms need to be completed and all applicants are automatically considered.

Our deadlines are rolling so you do not have to wait for a deadline date. If you think your application will be strongest after you complete your GMAT exam in November apply then, don’t wait for December 1. You will technically be considered part of the Dec 1 deadline, but there is a good chance we will be able to review your application and turn around your decision sooner than the rest of those who wait until the day of the deadline.

-Scott Sylves

Our home-away-from-home

August 22nd, 2014 - No Comments

Like the incoming class of 2016, I am new to the Smeal MBA program. As a recently hired staff member, I hope you find our home-away-from-home as welcoming as I have.

Peterson’s Guide to Graduate Education, which provides data on over 4000 colleges, universities and graduate programs, recently ranked the Business Building as one of the best business school facilities in the nation. My first impressions support Peterson’s assessment. It’s good to know that the place where we’ll be spending so many hours a day is of such superior quality. There is much to appreciate about the building architecture, interior design, amount of natural light, and general openness of the space. What I like most about the building is the student-centered nature of the design. In academia I have often heard students talk about how much they enjoy classes that are held outside. The natural light flowing into the Business Building atrium provides students with the feeling of being outdoors, with ideal lighting and a comfortable temperature for all seasons. The atrium, which is in many ways the heart of the building, lends itself to personalization. Students may reconfigure their seats to sit and talk to one another or quietly study by themselves.

In the life of a student, it’s often the little things that can improve an educational experience, and especially when students spend a considerable amount of their day in a single building, the amenities there become important. On busy days, students don’t even have to leave the building for meals because the Blue Chip Bistro is centrally located in the building. The menu has excellent variety including vegetation options, and outdoor seating is available in nice weather.

Every classroom in the building is equipped with up-to-date technology, adjustable seats, and tables that allow students to arrange project work and supplies which might be necessary for a variety of academic activity. The Struthers Auditorium features excellent acoustics that allow speakers to be heard without the use of microphones. Despite its size, the room has a modest depth that maintains a personal connection between speakers and listeners. Audience members are never more than seven seats back from the speaker and the screen is visible from every seat.

Faculty and staff offices are located throughout the building rather than isolated from the popular traffic areas, which fosters a sense of community and encourages faculty-student interaction opportunities. It is not uncommon to see a world renowned business professor talking with a student about topics unrelated to business.

One of the most valuable aspects of the business building is its proximity to the Berkey Creamery. We are always less than a five minute walk away from the best ice cream in Pennsylvania!

- Brenda Fabian,  Assistant Director of Employer Relations and Recruiting

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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 visitsmealmba@psu.edu). 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 erikorient@psu.edu. 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 amallison@psu.edu.

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: http://www.mbacrystalball.com/blog/2014/04/18/smeal-college-of-business-mba-admissions-director/


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

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