February 27th, 2015 - No Comments



This year the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (referred to as simply “THON”) raised over 13M for The Four Diamonds Fund, which helps patients and families battling pediatric cancer. Our MBA students were very active in contributing to the cause, and we’re especially proud of our dancers this year, Elizabeth Guiley and Dharell Mosby.


THON is not only an example of extraordinary support for those in need, but also a fantastic example of how thousands of people from all parts of the university community come together for a common cause.


Over the years, THON has grown and changed tremendously. As an undergraduate student, I danced in 1995 (20 years ago!) and was a member of the morale committee in 1996. At that time, the event was housed in the White Building (a much, much smaller venue on the University Park campus!). After that, THON then moved to Rec Hall, and then AGAIN to the BJC. Like Penn State pride, THON kept growing, and the love, compassion, hard work and dedication to the Four Diamonds kids grew with it. FTK—For The Kids—became a common acronym on campus and far beyond.


Penn State is a place for education. It’s a place for career mapping, and for soul-searching. It’s also a place where people want to give part of themselves to help a greater cause and make life better for those who may not be as fortunate as they are. We hope that there will be a day when cancer is eradicated, and events like THON are no longer needed, but, until then, PSU will continue to THON ON! WE ARE…FTK.


–Stacey Dorang Peeler

It's a Diamond!

Thon 2015-Arun and Rimsha make a diamond!

thon 1995

Thon 1995–White Building (Stacey far right)

THON 2015

Thon 2015-Tiffani, Elizabeth, Kevin and Dharell

THON 1995.2

Thon 1995-White Building

Career Fairs

February 26th, 2015 - No Comments

Career fairs are like going to a grocery store, but instead of shopping for food and sundries, you get to shop for jobs and internships! Having once worked in the CPG industry, comparing the career fair aisle to a shopping aisle is a natural analogy for me to make. And, I really do find it instructive viewing career fairs through this lens. Working in the employer relations function, I am always interested in seeing which employers are the most appealing brands to the student “consumer”. Conversely, I always de-brief several employers at each fair to listen to their stories of what students are doing to make themselves stand out (positively) from the crowd when approaching an employer’s booth.

This Spring Semester, a new fair of was held in the Business Building, an event informally branded as the International Career Expo (ICE). ICE was a new networking event that brought together students and employers interested in filling career opportunities based outside of the United States. Through the collaboration of multiple colleges and academic units, ICE attracted over one hundred students, plus a number of top employers such as Intel, EY, Reckitt Benckiser, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. With continued hard work, the hope is that ICE will evolve into our “grocery store” for global talent opportunities here at Smeal!

Paul Poissant, | Director, Employer Relations


Career Fair Students speaking with recruiters Career Fair in the Atrium of the Business Building




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Lunar New Year

February 23rd, 2015 - No Comments

It is customary to wear red when celebrating Lunar New Year, a festival celebrated at the turn of the Chinesecalendar. Red is a symbol of good luck and our students decorated the MBA Commons and atrium with lots of luck!


This is the first time I have ever participated in Lunar New Year. It’s one of the many culturally diverse experiences I’ve been able to join in since coming to the Penn State Smeal MBA Program. The evening began with appetizers followed by delicious entrees enjoyed by attendees. After dinner, our hosts Shuyuan Ling and Qing Liu, both first year MBAs, kicked off the event by introducing a live performance of the traditional lion dance. Two gorgeous lions comprised of Penn State Malaysian Club members performed synchronized dance while other club members provided movement cues through drums and cymbals. I’ve seen the lion dance on television, but it’s a different experience to see it live and understand the physical labor and discipline that goes into making it beautiful and meaningful.


Four musicians from the Penn State Asian Music Club performed Jasmine Flower, a time-honored song that captures the purity and beauty of the jasmine flower which is a symbol of China.


The Penn State Taiji Club provided a Tai chi demonstration, perfectly showcasing the economy of movement and discipline of this special art form. The most competitive event of the evening was the Chopstick Competition. Five students competed to move as many beans as possible from a bowl to a plate in one minute. After three separate rounds, the three winners included Alyssa Looney, Mark Joanow, and Skylar Haws.


The evening closed with a fitness demonstration and a fashion show. Every year MBA students participate in Global Immersion and one of our destinations this year, like in past years, is Shanghai, China’s most populated city. Hopefully the Lunar New Year celebration served as an introduction to the rich and exciting culture that awaits our MBA students who visit there.


On behalf of the staff of Smeal MBA, I wish to express our gratitude to the students who coordinate our Lunar New Year celebration for their hard work and thoughtful planning.

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

Traditional Chinese New Year Performance Students Celebrating Lunar New Year Student Dancers


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Lunar New Year 2015

February 11th, 2015 - No Comments

Last night students from the MBA community welcomed friends, families, and guests to the Atrium for our annual Smeal MBA Lunar New Year celebration. The event kicked off with a bit of history about the holiday, which is celebrated in many Asian countries, followed by the traditional Lion Dance presented by the Malaysian Student Association. As the evening progressed and the audience enjoyed a feast of Chinese food, the entertainment continued with singing, dancing (modern and traditional), tai chi, a fashion show, and even a chopstick contest which required moving beans from one bowl to another! (If you’ve seen me use chopsticks, you will know I did not even attempt to participate.) The Smeal Lunar New Year celebration is one of those times during the year which everyone sits back a bit, takes a brief break from their studies and job searches, and just takes time to laugh with friends, both old and new, and enjoy their company. It never ceases to amaze me how different cultures from all over the globe can be, yet at the heart of them, many of the values are still the same—family, friends, and community. As we welcome the Year of the Sheep, best wishes to all for health and prosperity!

End of the Lion Dance

End of the Lion Dance


The Ribbon Dance


Traditional Music


The Lion Dance

–Stacey Dorang Peeler

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Women of Smeal

February 2nd, 2015 - No Comments

On Thursday, January 29th the Women of Smeal Steering Group hosted an open house/information session to allow the Penn State Smeal College of Business Community to learn more about what various groups in the College are doing to support women’s leadership initiatives. Attendees were invited to eat lunch, network and learn how they can participate in various groups or initiatives. The Lean In Discussion Circles, EMBA’s Women’s Leadership Forum, Women in Business, Women’s MBA Association, Multicultural Women’s Forum and International Women’s Day were just some of the initiatives represented.

The session provided an opportunity to see what is offered in the College, as well as a great time to network with colleagues from all different departments in Smeal. Thanks to the Steering Group for hosting the event, and we look forward to the next Women of Smeal event. If you would like more information about the Women of Smeal please view their YouTube playlist:

-Ann Mallison

Women in Business Display

Women in Business Display

Learning about the EMBA Women's Leadership event.

Learning about the EMBA Women’s Leadership event.

Lean In Discussion Group

Lean In Discussion Group

Networking at the Women of Smeal lunch.

Networking at the Women of Smeal lunch.

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Honor & Integrity Events at the Penn State Smeal MBA Program

January 28th, 2015 - No Comments

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


The Penn State Smeal MBA Program hosts an Honor & Integrity Speaker Series, dedicated to promoting integrity and ethical behavior. The speaker series provides MBA students with the opportunity to learn about integrity in the workplace. Aaron Beam, founder and first chief financial officer of HealthSouth, served as the kick-off speaker of the semester. The photos below feature Aaron engaging in a question & answer session with the MBAs.


The following week Brigadier General Thomas V. Draude, (USMC Ret) visited the Smeal College of Business. During the course of his visit, he met with students of the Smeal undergraduate community, as well as Penn State students desiring to enter the military. He also delivered a presentation to students of the MBA community titled, “Leadership Lessons: From the Battlefield to the Board Room.”


This week, all students are encouraged to reaffirm their commitment to the Honor Code. The Smeal College of Business will host its spring semester signing, January 26-28, in the Business Building. Students, faculty, and staff are also encouraged to staff the Honor Code signing area.


For more information about activities taking place throughout the college to promote integrity, visit

Jen Eury 1.28.15 blog 2

Honor & Integrity Speaker

Aaron Beam, founder and first chief financial officer of HealthSouth

Jennifer L. Eury, Ph.D.

Honor and Integrity Director

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APEX Projects Launching this Week

January 14th, 2015 - No Comments

Today we welcome guest blogger David Lenze, Director of the Smeal MBA APEX Program.

APEX Projects launching this week

January brings more than just the New Year to the Smeal College of Business. It also brings the annual start of Smeal’s Applied Professional Experience (APEX) Program – the MBA capstone experience in which teams of second year MBAs take on real world business challenges as a way to hone and polish their business skills.

With over seventy projects submitted, there was no shortage of firms seeking to benefit from the insights and efforts of a team of Smeal MBAs. In the end, fifteen projects were selected as providing the best fit between students’ interests, the academic goals of the APEX program, and the business needs of the potential clients. This year’s clients, who range from start-ups to members of the Fortune 100, are…

AccuWeather, Alcoa, Blastrac Global, Cancer Care Partnership, DuPont (2 projects), EZ Kinetics, Ferguson Township, Hearth & Home Technologies, Mondelēz, Penn State Women’s Soccer, Reclamere, Siemens, Videon Central, Wright Beverage

Whether the industry is snack foods, medical devices, industrial equipment, or technology solutions, each and every APEX team will be working from now through April to develop actionable solutions for their clients. In doing so, the Class of 2015 will collaborate with each other, their clients, and with their faculty in a truly exceptional learning experience. 2015 looks like it is going to be a great year!

- David Lenze, APEX Director


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What Recruiters Seek in an MBA

December 12th, 2014 - No Comments

Employer Relations activity has been productive during the 2014 fall semester.  I have had the opportunity to visit with seventeen employers in markets that included New York City, San Francisco, Philadelphia, the Raleigh/Durham area in North Carolina, and Washington, D.C.  It was good to see how responsive all the employers were to the prospect of considering Penn State Smeal MBA graduates.  The executives I met with this season are ready to partner with Penn State, or continue strengthening existing collaborations, to make career opportunities available to our graduating students.

A consistent theme emerged when employers talked about program. Employers explained how they value Smeal MBA graduates because of their willingness to become active team members right away and “roll up their sleeves” to get the work done. They described how, in their experience, our graduates agree that no job is too big or too small if it’s necessary to provide an excellent product or service.

Many of these employers are seeking a consistent set of skills from MBA candidates across a variety of industries. Some of those characteristics which were valued by all of these employers include leadership ability, flexibility, collaboration, innovation, dedication, being results-oriented, nimbleness, and technical expertise.  The employers also clearly value the integrity demonstrated by Penn State graduates, which underlines the importance of our Smeal College of Business honor code.  These are not just words to the people hiring the next generation of MBA professionals, they are necessary principles.

One skill employers consistently mentioned to me in our meetings doesn’t seem to make it onto every employer survey list. Employers indicated a need to hire MBAs who are socially and environmentally responsible. Informed by our honor code, social and environmental responsibility is interwoven throughout the MBA curriculum, the College of Business, and Penn State University.  As our global economy continues to become increasingly interdependent, these principles will become even more important to employers, and opportunities for students to embody these principles should not be neglected.  Students can support our award winning recycling and community outreach programs, pay careful attention to coursework in Risk and Decisions, Ethical Leadership, or Business Law, and participate in ethics luncheons hosted by our Director of Honor and Integrity.

In countless ways, Smeal MBA students embody the principles, skills, and abilities expected of the best employers in our current economy, which makes my work as an employer relations professional especially rewarding.

-Brenda Fabian, Assistant Director of Employer Relations and Recruiting

Smeal Commitment to Integrity

Smeal Commitment to Integrity

The Smeal College of Business Honor Code

The Smeal College of Business Honor Code

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Penn State Smeal MBAs Give Back

December 11th, 2014 - No Comments

Today we welcome guest bloggers Elizabeth Guiley, Ryan McCool and Erik Orient.

It is no surprise to anyone that being a full-time MBA student requires a significant time commitment all by itself.  When graduate assistantship responsibilities, team meetings, job interviews, case competitions, career fairs, and occasional sleep are added to the equation, there are precious few hours remaining.  Thus, it is refreshing to hear about Smeal students, staff, and associations that are finding ways to give back to the community and society.

Sometimes multiple MBA student organizations partner in events to accomplish a common goal that is fun and also serves a philanthropic purpose.  With the holiday season just around the corner, the National Association of Women MBAs (WMBA) recently teamed up with the Smeal MBA Military and Veterans Association to host an “Ugly Sweater Party” at a local restaurant.  Numerous toys were collected and then donated to the Centre County Toys for Tots chapter.  Cash donations were used to purchase additional toys.  Due to the efforts of some Smeal MBA students and many community participants, all local children can have a joyful Christmas morning with gifts under the tree.

In a related effort, Melissa Casey Forsha, the MBA Administrative Coordinator, coordinates the annual holiday season “Spirit of Giving” by collecting toys, clothing, and other gifts for local children.  Faculty, students, and staff from across the Smeal College of Business bring their donations to the MBA Programs office each year and then Melissa coordinates with a non-profit association to have them distributed to approximately 30 local children.  Now in its 13th year, the Spirit of Giving initiative is an established part of how Smeal gives back to those in need.

The MBA Association (MBAA) is also active in philanthropic efforts, such as supporting THON.  The Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, affectionately referred to as THON, was started in 1973 by a small group of dedicated Penn State students. That year, 34 dancers participated and raised $2,000. Since then, THON’s presence in the Penn State community has grown exponentially. THON now has 15,000 student volunteers, 700 dancers, and has raised more than $61 million, benefiting The Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Children’s Hospital.  THON is now a year-long effort that raises funds and awareness for the fight against pediatric cancer. With the support of students from all across the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and THON Alumni all around the world, Penn State continues to make great strides towards finding a cure for all childhood cancers.

The Smeal MBA program has increased its involvement in THON over the past few years.  This year the MBAA hosted numerous fundraisers including the MBAA Furniture Auction, a soccer match and a football game between first and second year students, and a service auction.  Many MBA students participated in canning trips this year, soliciting donations from passersby at various retail and public locations.  With a goal of raising $25,000 for THON this year, the MBAA is currently closing in on $10,000 so far.

If you are reading this blog, it is likely that you have some way to give to others in need this holiday season.  Please consider mirroring the efforts of some of the MBA students and staff and making a difference in someone’s life this year.

Elizabeth Guiley, Ryan McCool, and Erik Orient


Smeal MBA Spirit of Giving Tree

Smeal MBA Spirit of Giving Tree

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What’s the Scoop on GMAT IR?

November 24th, 2014 - No Comments

Whenever a standardized test changes, there’s always grand scale speculation on how schools are using the new exams or new sections—especially when old versions of the exam are still valid for applications. As you likely already know, GMAT (and GRE) scores are good for 5 years. The test maker added the 30 minute, 12 question, Integrative Reasoning section to the GMAT exam in 2012. Since then, schools have been seeing applicants apply with test scores that include IR and scores that don’t include IR. Both are valid. The burning questions from applicants are—what do we do with the IR scores and what if they don’t have one? The answer will vary by school, but at Smeal, I can give you a bit of insight into how we use them.

If an applicant has a valid test score from before IR was introduced, the committee accepts it. The applicant is in no way penalized for not having it on their score report. If an applicant submits a test score WITH an IR score on it, the committee looks at the score and considers the result within the context of the rest of the application. If the score is unusually high (or low), we typically make note of it and will often probe about the testing experience in the interview process (if the applicant is invited). In addition, if it’s unusually high or low and in conflict with the other parts of the exam, we’ll usually ask about that too. (Example: scaled score is 700 but IR is 2 OR scaled score is 500 but IR is 8). There’s no minimum requirement for IR scores, but we also expect applicants to take every part of the GMAT (or GRE) exam seriously. If an applicant has a low score and has clearly purposefully not paid attention to it, that raises flags for the committee in other areas. Of course, a higher test score in any part of the exam can really only help a candidate be more competitive for admission and/or merit-based aid. As an applicant, be prepared on test day and plan to put 100% into the entire exam. Given the amount of preparation resources available (Kaplan, The Princeton Review, Veritas Prep, Manhattan GMAT, GMAT Free, etc.), there’s no excuse NOT to be ready and give it your all!

–Stacey Dorang Peeler


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