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
November 17th, 2014 - No Comments
Today we welcome Jennifer Crispell ’06, Director of Alumni Relations for the Smeal College of Business as our guest blogger.
With more than 74,000 Smeal alumni, and more than half a million Penn Staters around the world, you are bound to run into someone who bleeds blue and white most everywhere you go. The Penn State Alumni Association is the largest dues paying alumni organization in the country – but this statistic means more than just a No. 1 ranking.
The experience that a Penn State student has while they’re on campus leaves a lasting impression – one that convinces many graduates to never lose touch with their alma mater. As a result, alumni have formed groups all across the country, allowing forums for interaction with other Penn Staters. In fact, Smeal alumni have formed three groups in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Washington, DC (with more cities to come!) These groups are specifically aimed at helping to make connections between alumni in the business world.
In the past six months, our Smeal clubs have put on a variety of events, including a panel discussion with successful Smeal entrepreneurs, a women’s golf lesson, new graduate socials in each city, a private dinner with the head chef of a popular restaurant, a keynote speech about a billion dollar business deal, and workshops on important skills like LinkedIn and useful applications for mobile devices. Each of these unique events also had a networking component to them, enabling professional and personal relationships to form between Smeal alumni.
I would argue that one of the greatest benefits of a Penn State Smeal degree is the alumni network. Our graduates want to give back, and one of the ways they find most enjoyable is by making valuable connections with their fellow alumni. With the growth of technology, it is becoming increasingly easier to stay in touch with classmates and to form new relationships with those you didn’t know, after graduation. And with each semester that comes to an end, that network gets exponentially larger and more powerful.
- Jennifer Crispell, Director of Alumni Relations
October 27th, 2014 - No Comments
What do New York, Philadelphia, Miami, Pittsburgh, Washington, DC, Salt Lake City, Durham, Bangalore, Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen all have in common? Those are all cities our team and our alumni have visited this fall to recruit the next class of Smeal MBAs! It has been a couple of crazy months, but we are excited to have met so many great people during our travels. Building a great class means having people from diverse backgrounds represented. Not only do we seek cultural diversity and geographic diversity, but we want candidates from various industries, functions and professional backgrounds as well. Experiences, whether in the work place or outside of it, shape perspectives that make for interesting class and team discussions, in which classmates learn not only from faculty, but from each other as well. As we travel, we are reminded of how incredible the PSU alumni network really is, as MBA alums in every city step up to the plate to help us recruit the next great class. If you missed us on the road, drop us a line and we’ll be happy to help you make a connection in a city near you! Until the next time we hit the road…WE ARE!
-Stacey Dorang Peeler
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.
For more information about integrity at Smeal, visit
Jennifer L. Eury
Honor and Integrity Director
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
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.
Associate Director of Admissions at the Penn State Smeal MBA Program
September 8th, 2014 - No Comments
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.
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
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 email@example.com). 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