Smeal Honor Code

September 21st, 2015 - No Comments

Greetings from Happy Valley!


The Smeal Honor Code, started by Penn State Smeal MBA students in 2006, is a pledge that holds the Smeal community accountable for upholding integrity and ethical behavior.


The code reads: “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 to this standard in our future careers.”


Earlier this month we held our biannual Honor Code signing, a special tradition in the Smeal College of Business community. Each semester, students, faculty, and staff sign the Honor Code to reaffirm their commitment to integrity and ethical behavior, and members of the community also volunteer to staff the signing area. Those who sign the Honor Code also have the option to receive an e-certificate, confirming their participation in the Honor Code signing, that they may add to their LinkedIn profile.


View our short video to learn more about the college’s commitment to integrity and why current students sign the Honor Code.


Jen Eury, Ph.D.
Director of Honor and Integrity
Smeal College of Business


Advice When Considering an MBA

September 21st, 2015 - No Comments

Recently, I became the Admissions Operations Manager for the MBA Program, and, thus, I am the newest member of the Admissions Team. I have been with the MBA Program for 10 years and prior to joining Admissions, I served as the Student Services Representative for the program. During my time in Student Services, I had the opportunity to work with nearly 1000 students and it has provided me with a unique perspective on what student life entails. Based on my observations, below are a few things to think about when choosing an MBA program.

-Fit – One of the first things you will discover is that the Smeal MBA Program is a family. Our students pitch in together for everything from a tailgate to a job search. If a student sees a job posting that would be a good fit for a classmate, it gets sent to that classmate. For some students, this is the right environment for them. What it comes down to is finding the right fit for YOU.

-Time – Life as an MBA student is a busy one. Between class, team meetings, and the job search, it can be difficult to find outside time. Keep in mind whether or not this is the right time for you to make a two year commitment to your education.

-Opportunities – I know I mentioned that life is already busy for students, but it is important to take advantage of the additional opportunities that are afforded to MBA students. Student Associations will often have trips to meet with companies and learn more about their process. Alums come back to campus to mentor and guide current students. Case competitions allow students not only an educational experience, but also typically offer prize money. Making the most of these possibilities can provide you with a more well-rounded MBA experience.

-Have Fun – If you come to Penn State, hike Mount Nittany. Visit the Penn State Creamery…often. Go to a concert at the Bryce Jordan Center. Take in an exhibit at the Palmer Art Museum. Your educational experience is much like life – you get out of it what you put into it. Make that time two of the most important years of your life.

-Susan K. Winarchick, Penn State Smeal MBA Admissions Operations Manager

Video Essay Tips

September 4th, 2015 - No Comments

As part of the application for the Smeal MBA program, we require a video essay. We do this for several reasons. We get a better sense of your personality, it can assist us in assessing your potential, and we can see how you think on your feet. The video application also benefits you and helps you learn more about us. Our questions are prepared in a way that will help you gain a sense of what matters to us, including our culture and values, and the qualities we’re seeking in our candidates.

•Dress like you would for an interview. This one is easy!
•Choose a neutral and professional background. Avoid white walls if possible.
•Sit at a clutter-free space.
•Avoid being “back lit” from a window or lamp.
•Sit farther away from your computer than you would when typing. It’s better to have your computer slightly higher than lower to avoid the appearance of looking down on someone.
•Avoid interruptions. Make sure alarms are turned off. Turn off or silence your cell phone and close all other programs on your computer. Consider hanging a “do not disturb” note on the door or over the doorbell explaining that you have a video recording in progress. Have a neighbor watch your children or pets to avoid interruptions (or the fear of interruptions).

•Check the audio and use the highest-speed Internet connection you can. With slower Internet connections, video may not align well with the audio and can cause time delays.
•Try plugging your computer directly into your Internet cable, rather than using a wireless connection.
•Plug in your computer so there’s no chance that the battery will die.
•Invest in better microphones if necessary.
•Use the practice session and practice questions until you’re comfortable with the format. The entire process should only take 15 to 20 minutes to complete so don’t rush.

•Remember to look into the camera, not the computer screen, to mimic eye contact. If necessary, place a small photo near the camera to help you remember to look into the camera.
•Maintain good posture and relax your shoulders to avoid looking appearing stiff. Remember that gestures can look exaggerated on video so gesture sparingly.
•You won’t have the benefit of seeing your interviewer’s physical cues to assess whether or not they’re engaged. You don’t want to present as having a flat personality so be sure to communicate with enthusiasm (within reason) and professionalism. Focus on speaking slowly, and don’t be afraid to smile. Smiling will also help relax you.
•Be aware of how long you are taking to respond to each question. You will a specified amount of time to respond to questions. Balance the need to be concise with the need to be thorough, and use all of the time you have.

–Brenda Fabian

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August 20th, 2015 - No Comments

As we sit on the cusp of summer’s edge getting ready to dive into fall here in Happy Valley, it’s a time for change. While times of change can be a little scary (ok, downright terrifying sometimes!), they can also be a time for growth and exploration, and provide myriad opportunities to experience new things. All of our students are in the process of starting some kind of transition in life to begin their MBA study, many from corporate boards to black boards. Some have moved across town to new homes, many have moved across the world to start entirely new chapters in their lives. As orientation winds down, nerves have turned to excitement, and the new reality of MBA life and the work load that entails has begun to sink in.

Upstairs in the Business Building, our team is also undergoing some transition. Because we are at the beginning of a new application cycle, it’s a great time to introduce you to our team. As I continue my tenure as admissions director, I’m excited to welcome Brenda Fabian into her new role as our Associate Director of Admissions and Susan Winarchick into her new role as our Admissions Operations Manager (starting September 1st). We are looking forward to jumping into recruiting season head first together and getting to know a whole new group of future Smeal MBAs as they go through the application process from around the world.

Of course, you can always find us at if you have any questions about the program, campus, or the application process. We invite you to learn more about us (check out our new website!) and plan an in-person visit if you can. Observing an MBA class, seeing campus, and meeting students and faculty face to face is a fantastic way to get to know us and allow us to get to know you.

Here’s to embracing all of the opportunity big changes can bring!

–Stacey Dorang Peeler

(Orientation pictures courtesy of Ann Mallison)

Students get to know each other during the first day of Orientation 2015.

Students get to know each other during the first day of Orientation 2015.

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Finding out interesting things about each other during MBA Action.

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Orientation in the Business Building Atrium.

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Orientation welcome session in the Business Building Struthers Auditorium.



What happens in MBA admissions over the summer?

June 22nd, 2015 - No Comments

It’s summer at The Smeal College of Business! Our graduating students are off to embark on new career opportunities, and our rising 2nd years are at internships all over the country. So, you may ask, what is admissions doing now? While most of our class is confirmed for fall and already starting on pre-work from Career Services, we are still reviewing applications and conducting interviews for our June 1st deadline. In addition, we are gearing up to launch our application for fall 2016 (it goes live on August 1st!) and organizing our travel and recruiting schedule for the next academic year. There is always someone at some point in the MBA admissions process, and our team remains on call all summer to help with questions and queries from prospective and incoming students in all phases of their MBA journey.


Want to know more? Behind the scenes, we’re also conducting “post-mortem” work. Sounds grim, doesn’t it? We promise it isn’t! What we do is go through all of the events, initiatives, and tactics from the previous year and assess what went well and what could be improved. We are always looking at our processes, service delivery methods, and events to make sure we are providing our candidates with the best experience we can, and providing our team with the most efficient way to conduct the business of admissions. Questions we might ask ourselves include: Did our essay question allow us to really get to know the applicant? Is there something we should ask in the interview that helps us get a better picture of a candidate’s fit with the program? Was our agenda for Open House day the most conducive to really showing our guests what they would experience should they become a student at Smeal?


We also have a little fun when we can! Our incoming class will all receive a PSU t-shirt in the mail this summer. We then ask them to take a picture of themselves in their hometown at a meaningful location. Once we receive the photos, we then post them to social media. With students coming from all over the world, it’s a great way to see the diversity in our class and get to know everyone before they arrive for orientation in August. On occasion, our team even heads out of the office for a planning session at the nearby Berkey Creamery (just recognized in the Huffington Post for being one of the TOP ice cream parlor destinations in the U.S.). The creamery is a MUST on the checklist when you visit Penn State. And on a really beautiful day, we might have a walking meeting at lunchtime and enjoy The Arboretum.


While there are no MBA classes running over the summer, we’re still happy to have you plan a visit to meet with our team and see campus. For more information, contact our team at We hope to see you soon!


Beautiful flowers

Beautiful flowers


–Stacey Dorang Peeler


Global Lion Gathering 2015

May 11th, 2015 - No Comments

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

When:  Thursday, June 11, 2015 at 6:30pm (local time)

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

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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 current students &/or alumni will be gathering. In what we hope will become a tradition with a revolving location, this year the MBA Program will be hosting/sponsoring the event in Washington DC.  Join Sandy, Susan and Andy Gustafson at the Tortoise & Hare Bar.

No RSVPs. Just show up (you might want to wear your Penn State gear) and buy a beverage. 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 updated on 6-11-15

Global Lion 2015 Locations

Global Lion 2015 Locations

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Deloitte Consulting Boot Camp

May 4th, 2015 - No Comments

Seven alumni from the MBA program returned to Penn State on Friday, April 17th to offer a Deloitte Consulting Boot Camp. Our MBA alumni and Deloitte consultants traveled from California, D.C., Georgia, Massachusetts, and Ohio to provide current students with information about careers in consulting and put our first and second year MBAs to the test with multiple consulting activities. “I believe the Deloitte Consulting Boot Camp was a huge success. The camp was a great opportunity for my classmates and I to prepare for our internships this summer,” said Meredith Monroe, Class of 2016. “Learning directly from Deloitte consultants about techniques I could use to approach my projects was very helpful.”

Paari Rajendran, Class of 2011, kicked off boot camp by explaining the role of consultants, the importance of credibility, and how consultants can help clients make decisions. Sandeep Raja shared a practitioner’s journey including tips on work life balance. Raghavan Parthasarathy covered the topic of hypothesis-based consulting, which is a key practice for Deloitte consultants. Brian Plowman and Ipsa Mohanty explained the conceptual framework of an “issues tree” and worked with the group throughout the first activity in which students were asked to develop an issue tree, commonly used as part of Deloitte’s process.

The second activity was a case study and students were asked to define the objectives, issues, hypothesis, and key questions for the client. Jennifer Rutherford explained the importance of logical structuring and story boarding. Ms. Rutherford explained how to craft a precise message and provide clarity to the reader. During the final activity, students created a storyboard, another critical practice for Deloitte consultants. Lindsey Resnick and Josh Mathis discussed the Pyramid Principle along with the elements of an introduction.

Each activity lasted between 15-20 minutes and had a positive impact on students. First year MBA Alex Burrows said, “As someone working as a Summer Associate with Deloitte this summer, this event was a fantastic way for me to learn more about how Deloitte approaches client projects and the methodologies they use to solve problems.”

We want to thank our alumni and Deloitte for a wonderful learning experience.

– Brenda Fabian, Assistant Director of MBA Employer Relations and Recruiting

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte Consulting LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting


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Making an Impact

April 10th, 2015 - No Comments

Today we welcome Jennifer Crispell, Director of Alumni Relations as our guest blogger.

Making an Impact

Our alumni are eager to make a difference in the life of the college. I’ve known this for a quite a while, but on Friday, March 20 it became even more evident. The Smeal Alumni Relations Office and Alumni Society Board hosted the fourth Impact Smeal Day – a day where alumni can come back to campus to interact with the Smeal community. The event offers a variety of activities including hearing from student organizations, learning from professors, working in task forces on topics to assist the college, conducting mentoring sessions, helping students with important professional development topics, and hearing a college update from Dean Whiteman. Each event over the past four semesters has offered varying sessions, which has attracted both new and repeat attendees from across the country – 75 alumni, on average.


On March 20, we awoke to a hurdle that hasn’t ever been faced during the three prior Impact Smeal Days – snow. State College, and a good portion of the northeast saw about five inches of snow that morning, and I feared that the attendance for Impact Smeal Day would be drastically affected. I was amazed to discover that this was not the case at all – in fact, many of our alumni trekked into the Business Building, snow covered, and simply said with a smile “I made it, and I’m so happy to be here!”


I was so impressed by the efforts of our alumni that day. All of them took time away from their work and personal lives, and many braved the weather in order to spend a day at Smeal. Our alumni are so passionate about sharing their wisdom with the younger generation, as well as staying up to date on the life of the college. They truly have a sincere desire to make an impact for their alma mater.


Impact Smeal Day - Networking

Impact Smeal Day – Networking

Impact Smeal Day - Mentoring

Impact Smeal Day – Mentoring


Jennifer Crispell ’06

Director of Alumni Relations

Smeal College of Business, Penn State University

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International Women’s Day at Smeal

March 30th, 2015 - No Comments

Last week the Smeal College of Business celebrated International Women’s Day. In addition to many Smeal employees, faculty, and students attending the university-wide breakfast sponsored by Global Connections, the college continued the celebration with other awareness events, including exhibits and information tables in The Atrium, hosted by representatives from the Centre County Women’s Resource Center.

In addition to collecting donations for the CCWRC, information was distributed about how the center can help women in the community. Volunteers also handed out purple ribbons to promote awareness of women’s issues.

One of the hosts, Debra Greenleaf, was recognized earlier in the day for her commitment to women with the 2015 Spirit of Internationalization Award (presented by Global Connections). Debra and her colleagues teach and promote an activity called body-mapping. Body-mapping is a way for women to communicate their experiences by artistic expression, even when there are language barriers or other verbal communication obstacles.

Sarah Kern, a Prevention Educator at the CCWRC, encouraged people to stop by and show their support by leaving empowering messages for women to make great choices in their lives.

We hope the videos and pictures below encourage you to learn more about International Women’s Day and some of the resources available to help women live better lives for themselves and for others.

–Stacey Dorang Peeler


Learn more:

Debra Greenleaf–International Women’s Day at The Smeal College of Business

Sarah Kern–International Women’s Day at The Smeal College of Business


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Direct Employer Contact — A Proactive Job Search Approach

March 18th, 2015 - No Comments

Direct Employer Contact — A Proactive Job Search Approach

By Mike Brown, Director, Smeal MBA Career Services


Through your exposure to Smeal MBA Career Services, you will learn, and hear it repeated often, that networking is the job search approach with the highest rate of success — 65% to 75%.


Statistically, the method that ranks second to networking, with approximately a 20% rate of success is direct targeted employer contact. When you consider that 75% to 80% of the job market is “closed,” “unadvertised” or “hidden,” this approach will aid you in uncovering unadvertised positions by making contact directly with employers of whom you are interested.


Furthermore, this self-directed approach puts you in charge of your search.


The process contains five simple steps:

  1. Compile a list of all the companies that you would consider.

Your criteria might include industry preference, geographic location, knowledge of friends or acquaintances who work there, familiarity with their product or service, their reputation, or the fact that they employ your job function. Consider the company culture you seek: mature or start-up, public or private, non-profit or academic, hierarchical or self-managing, large or small. Don’t be too concerned with the length of your list. You are casting a wide net at this point.


  1. Conduct research into each company. Read business and industry periodicals. Determine who is growing, experiencing organizational changes’, who being acquired, merging, relocating, or gaining new contracts. I’ve heard it repeated many times that the typical job seeker spends more time researching vacation destinations than potential employers. In addition to the company’s Website, access the research resources available through the Penn State Business Library


  1. Uncover the names of the people who have the power to hire you. These would typically be senior or executive-level managers. This step is essential. You may uncover the names of these people in your research. You may learn of these people in your networking. You may need to just call the company’s main telephone number and ask for the name of the Director of Finance or VP of Operations, for example. You do not, however, want the name of the Human Resources manager, unless that is your chosen field. The aforementioned databases are excellent resources for finding senior-level managers.

Safety valve: Always call the company to confirm the name, regardless of your source and how recently you acquired the name.


  1. Craft a marketing or cover letter, and send it directly to the person in your research. This letter should contain two focal points: a) what you have learned about the company, their direction, problems or opportunities, b) what you can do for them; your unique qualifications, experience and accomplishments. Clearly demonstrate what’s in it for them, by offering how your credentials, skills and expertise match their needs. This letter must be individualized, by name and title, to the appropriate person. Enclose your resume with each letter you send. Indicate your interest in meeting and your intention to follow-up to schedule an interview.


  1. Follow-up each letter with a telephone call within five days of receipt. Manage this step by sending only as many letters as you will have the ability to follow-up. Refer to your letter and request an interview. If the person isn’t interested, or is unwilling, request an informational meeting or the names of others who you might contact.


Your goal is to gain as many interviews as possible. You are presenting your skills, expertise and qualifications to as many interested people as you can.


Yes, you are also subjecting yourself to rejection. However, if the outcome is a “no” today, you are taking proactive steps to create momentum in your search, building a network and planting the seeds to future opportunities. Furthermore, you will distance yourself from many, many others in the job market who have not chosen to be as proactive.


“The status quo will no longer be the best way forward. The best way will be less comfortable and less easy, but, no doubt, more interesting — a word we often use to signal an uncertain mix of danger and opportunity.” Charles Handy, “The Age of Unreason”

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