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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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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