Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
Monday, May 20th, 2013
Dear MBAs – Class of 2013 and Class of 2014 ~
It is with deepest and sincere thanks that I express my appreciation to you for honoring me in my retirement by making a contribution to the Michael Ryan Phillips Scholarship. I am humbled by your kindness and thoughtfulness – it means so very much to me – you truly rendered me speechless and that is something that does not happen very often. I am so proud to be a part of such a caring community, lucky to have had my life so immensely enriched by the many students that have crossed the threshold of the MBA Program, and gratified to have had such a purposeful career.
Thank you on so many levels. I wish you all the best in life ~~ may you always find joy and happiness and that silver lining. Take Care and Stay in Touch!
Fondly ~ Robin
(A note from Admissions: Anyone who would like to honor Robin as she retires on June 30 is welcome to make a contribution to the Michael Ryan Phillips Scholarship. Go to www.givenow.psu.edu and check the box to view giving opportunities. Select Other and type “Michael Ryan Phillips Memorial Scholarship/allocation SCBPH” in the description box. This scholarship is awarded each year to a member of the 1st year MBA Class who is making a difference in our community.)
Tuesday, May 7th, 2013
As the academic year came to a close, first year MBAs had one final rite of passage to tackle—Exec Panel. At the end of year one, students compete with their teams for scholarship money in the annual Executive Panel Case Competition. The competition is judged by senior level executive leaders—many of whom are alumni of the program. This year we are proud to congratulate Matt, Liz, Piyush, David & Alpha on winning the competition. Exec Panel is a great way for the first years to put into practice everything they have learned in year one. Here’s to a great summer ahead of internships, learning, and professional development for our Smeal MBAs!
–Stacey Dorang Peeler
Monday, April 15th, 2013
While it may be tempting to take a long vacation and mentally “check out” during the summer before your start an MBA program, that might not be the best approach to ensure you start the program prepared, invigorated, and ready to be your best both inside and outside of the classroom. While taking a short break and enjoying a little down time is ok, you need to make sure you are on top of any assignments that might be due during the weeks leading up to MBA orientation. When the 2 week orientation starts in August, it is assumed that you have done the pre-term accounting work, completed the pre-arrival checklist from Student Services AND that you have spent thoughtful time working on your personal career strategy (PCS) for Career Services. In a 2 year program, time truly does fly, and coming in behind the 8-ball only sets you up to get further behind as the semester progresses. This is a very exciting time for you as you prepare to transition from one phase of your life into the next, and we want to make sure you get the most out of your time with us. So, keep on top of your emails, start connecting with your new classmates, complete your pre-work on time, ask questions when you have them, and get ready for a life-changing experience! We can’t wait to have you with us!
–Stacey Dorang Peeler
Thursday, March 28th, 2013
The American Institute for Economic Research released their 2012-2013 rankings of best College Towns & Cities recently. (https://www.aier.org/article/7841-aier-names-75-best-college-towns-and-cities-2012-2013) We are excited that State College is again considered one of the best College Towns (under 2500,000 residents). Ranked #3 behind Ithaca, NY and Ames, IA exemplifies what those of us who live here already know: State College is a great place to live!
The AIER ranking is based on a 12 area index, which evaluates things such as Student Diversity, Cost of Living, Arts & Leisure, Earning Potential, Entrepreneurial Activity, etc. We think State College does well with those, and so much more. Nestled in a valley (Happy Valley) surrounded by beautiful mountains, there are plenty of outdoor activities for those who enjoy an active life, and many groups who actively participate in those activities. For those looking for music, theater, movies or more State College offers a wide variety of productions, artists and movie theatres. As for sporting events, because of Penn State University Park, there is always a sporting event happening near by, wherever you live.
Somethings you have to see to believe, so we invite you to come visit us soon!
Monday, March 4th, 2013
“When people say that the devil in the detail, they mean that small things in plans and schemes that are often overlooked can cause serious problems later on,” (http://www.usingenglish.com/reference/idioms/devil+is+in+the+detail.html).
This idiom is one to keep in mind as you prepare, even in the earliest stages, to embark on a business school journey. From the first time you interact with a program in any capacity, realize that impressions are being formed. Whether that’s an initial inquiry to the admissions committee via e-mail, or your visit on interview day.
Recently I received an email from an aspiring candidate asking about a particular facet of the program. While I was thrilled that he was excited about the topic of his e-mail, his first outreach to me before any other connection had been established, was via his smart phone. The message had no greeting or signature and was riddled with grammar and spelling errors. Certainly, we recognize that the nature of business today can sometimes call for us to send a message “on the run” or from a handheld device. In this case though, it was glaringly obvious that the sender took little care in the words written and message conveyed. While one small error in judgment can be overlooked in many cases, the person then continued to email me several times through this medium with increasing casualness and lack of attention to overall detail. This simple exchange began to make me wonder if this is someone we will want eventually representing our program and brand.
On the flip side, paying attention to detail can go the other way and leave a very positive impression. At the beginning of an interview last week, a candidate apologized that he neglected to remove his gum before coming to my office and politely asked for a trash can. He discreetly disposed of the gum, and was then astute enough to use hand sanitizer after doing so before extending his hand to meet mine. While I’d certainly recommend remembering to ditch the gum BEFORE the interview starts, this situation was handled very well, and I saw how aware the candidate was about little things that could reflect on his presence and character. The moral of the story is: people make mistakes sometimes. Acknowledge them, handle them appropriately for the situation, continue on, and make sure you’ve learned something from the mistake!
By bringing these two examples to light, the intention is not to strike fear into the hearts of future candidates about being judged for each little thing they do, but to help them realize how important it is to pay attention to the little things. When added up, they certainly contribute to the overall impression one leaves on people during each interaction.
–Stacey Dorang Peeler
Monday, February 11th, 2013
The Penn State Smeal MBA Program has a deep commitment embracing diversity. This year, we began a new initiative to help prospective students better understand our commitment to diversity. In November, we held our first “Diversity Dinner” at the Nittany Lion Inn. Guests included our Assistant Dean of Diversity Enhancement Programs, Jamie Campbell, officers and current students from the Minority MBA Association, members of the MBA Admissions team, and candidates looking to learn more about what Smeal has to offer. The dinner was an outstanding way to get to know those considering a MBA education at Smeal and find out just how many exciting experiences and insights they could contribute to the program. We also hope that it was an opportunity in which our guests were able to understand the unique and collaborative culture of the Smeal MBA community, and how we embrace and appreciate each individual for what he or she has to offer on every level. The event was a great success, and we will again host a spring Diversity Dinner in February. We look forward to making these dinners a regular part of our events calendar moving forward, and we welcome the opportunity to continue to promote the diverse community we seek to maintain and enhance here at Smeal.
–Stacey Dorang Peeler
Friday, February 8th, 2013
Here in the Smeal MBA Program our students build a strong sense of community. This tight knit Smeal MBA community not only applies to their individual graduating class, but also to those future classes that be Smeal MBA’s after they have moved on. Many times alumni will come back to campus and pass on their wisdom and experiences to the next classes that are passing through the program. We got a taste of that here in the Business Building this week.
Recent Smeal MBA Graduates returned to Happy Valley to share their expertise on what it takes to master the job search process. There is no one better to speak to how to make the most of your MBA and get that dream job, then those who recently lived it. Our Career Services team arranged 2 panel discussions (1 morning and 1 afternoon) where these graduates could tell current students about their job search experiences and pass on any tricks or tips they learned through the process (and wish they had known when they were in the students shoes). Opportunities like these are common in the Penn State Smeal MBA Program as the feeling of wanting to help a fellow MBA lives on long after you leave the campus.
Friday, February 1st, 2013
Today we welcome guest blogger Michael Brown, who is the Director of our Penn State Smeal MBA Career Services team. Mike has allowed us to share with you his suggestions for successful Skype (and other webcam) interviews. This messages was sent to our current students this week, but anyone can apply these suggestions to any upcoming interview they may have in the future.
We are full swing into the spring recruiting season and many companies are conducting first and second round interviews using the virtual power of Skype. While the technology allows you to interview from the comfort of home, it also presents some challenges that, if overlooked, or not anticipated, could adversely affect the positive impression that you want to make. Take a look at these strategies for successfully utilizing Skype video conference technology.
Ensure proper lighting
Lighting is very critical. Be sure lighting is positioned in front of you to illuminate your face rather than cast a shadow. We’ve all seen photographs where the subjects’ faces are dark due to back-lighting conditions. Be careful of overhead lights that are very bright or fluorescent lighting that tends to wash out your face.
Test audio and video settings
If you haven’t used Skype before, take a “test drive” well before the interview. Pre-test your computer’s audio and video settings to make sure they work. Use Skype’s testing wizard to pre-record and playback your audio. Position your camera so it looks down on you and slightly above your hairline. This will help you maintain good posture while giving you a complimentary camera angle. Pre-position the camera and your chair so it frames you from mid-chest level up.
Business professional will still be the order of the day for most interviews. Solid, dark colors are best. Whites and light colors tend to wash out your face. Avoid busy stripes and patterns, since they tend to look wavy on video.
Although you might be in the comfort of your home, the interviewer can see you in his or her office. Maintain a confident posture with shoulders square, head erect and chin up. On video, avoid hand gestures, as they can be distracting.
Direct your eye contact to the camera not the image of the interviewer on the screen. Just as we make direct eye contact in person, it is just as important for the interviewer to see that you are looking at him or her rather than your screen.
Manage your background
I once conducted a Skype interview with a candidate who had a very ornate wall hanging directly behind her head. It was very distracting and it made her look like she was wearing a headdress. Control the image that the employer sees. Position the camera toward a simple wall background with warm or neutral colors and frame yourself in the shot. You should be the focus of the image, not bookshelves or wall ornamentation.
Set-up a quiet zone
If you are conducting the interview from home, take precautions to ensure that potential noise such as TVs, loud stereos, barking dogs, ringing telephones or outside construction noises are eliminated.
Turn off email and pop-up applications
Additional applications, when running, tend to slow down your computer and could be distracting, especially if you receive an incoming email. Make sure that your video conferencing software is the only application running.
Prepare for contingencies
Skype is not foolproof and audio and video connections on either end of the connection can fail. Be sure to have the interviewer’s telephone number and email address handy. Having a Plan B demonstrates that you are proactive and can save an otherwise disastrous interview.
Delay responding by one-one thousand
The most common Skype or video conferencing pitfall is talking over the interviewer by starting a response before they are finished. It leads to the interviewer repeating his or her question or clumsy apologies. Develop a habit of delaying your response by a count of “one-one thousand.” It might feel funny at first but once you develop the timing, it will seem natural in “Skype space.”
In reading these 10 strategies, there is nothing complex about any of them but failure to prepare for just one of them could dash a promising job or internship possibility. Be prepared!
Michael J. Brown
Director, MBA Career Services
Tags: admissions, business school, Career Services, Community, Interviews, job search, MBA, MBA application, MBA Interview, Penn State, Penn State MBA, Smeal, Smeal MBA
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Monday, January 21st, 2013
For those of you unfamiliar with the game 20 Questions, it is a game in which one person picks a “person, place or thing”, and the other person has the opportunity to ask 20 Questions to obtain information about the “person, place or thing” so they can try to guess what the person has chosen as the answer. While a fun game to pass time in the car or on a rainy day, it is not a game that should come to mind when the admissions committee reads your resume. There should never be any “guessing” when it comes to understanding someone’s career progression and professional accomplishments!
While there are many different and acceptable formats in which one can present their resume, the basic bottom line is that the document should tell us what companies you have worked for (and where), what your role was, what responsibilities you had, and how long you were there. If a member of the admissions team reads your resume and can’t easily determine these things, we have no way to accurately assess your professional experience. While this may sound elementary, there are many applications that come in with resumes that simply don’t accomplish what they need to. We certainly don’t expect applicant resumes to be perfect (we have fantastic Career Services resources who can help you perfect your resume when you get here!), but we do expect that we are not left guessing about the basics of your professional experience when we are done reading your file.
Additionally, it is also helpful for us to be able to discern if a candidate has had a promotion, if they have led people, if they have managed a budget, and if they have had leadership experience. While each of these things are not necessarily required for admission to an MBA program, it is very helpful for us to be able to easily identify these elements in the resume.
Before submitting your resume (and this goes for not only MBA program applications but for job opportunities as well!), ask yourself the basic question: can the reader understand where I’ve been and what I’ve accomplished in my professional life? If the answer is yes, you are on the right track. If the answer is no, enlist the help of a trusted friend, colleague or mentor to help you set your thoughts and achievements to paper so you can ensure you are presenting an accurate picture of your career to date.
–Stacey Dorang Peeler
Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013
This week’s blog is a simple reminder that our second application deadline is just around the corner on January 11th. This deadline is the LAST deadline for international applicants AND the last deadline in which you can apply and be considered for merit-based financial aid (graduate assistantships and scholarships). We look forward to getting to know you as you go through the admissions process, and we invite you to plan a visit to campus to meet with us in person. For more information on planning at visit, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy new year, and welcome to 2013!
–Stacey Dorang Peeler