The tradition lives on!!  MBA students from Penn State again participated in the Duke MBA Games, which raises money and awareness for the Special Olympics of North Carolina (SONC).  Since 1989, teams from top business schools have enjoyed a weekend of friendly competition while positively influencing the lives of adult athletes, spending time with and encouraging them during athletic activities.

During the past 26 years, the event has raised over $2.2 million for SONC!  In 2014, the Penn State team fundraised over $2.5K.

It was an action-packed weekend.  On April 10, there was a social mixer where we could meet the teams we would be competing against during the weekend.  The schools included: Carnegie Mellon, Maryland, Duke, Rice, Babson, UPenn, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Texas A&M, and Vanderbilt.

On April 11, our team participated in the optional events (Golf outing, Hash Run) as a warm-up to the actual events.  Later that night, there was an opening ceremony to officially welcome us to the Games.  Each team also performed a choreographed dance routine.  Thanks to the direction of 2nd year MBA, Deramus Griffin, Penn State came in 4th place!

On April 12, the real fun began.  We were able to greet our Special Olympic athletes, Kristin and “Birdman.”  We were lucky to have them on our team for the 2nd consecutive year in a row.  For those going next year, watch out for these two: Kristin is the ultimate prankster, while Birdman loves to put on a performance!

Throughout the day, we competed in many fun events, such as tug of war, business suit relay, briefcase toss, dizzy bat race, soccer relay, bean bag toss, and knockout.  Penn State won the soccer relay thanks to a team comprised of Javier Bathen, Mike Bassani and Ray Banks!

After the fun-filled day, we were able to mingle and relax at a pool party before the Closing Ceremony.  During the Closing Ceremony, we were shown a video that highlighted the funniest events of the day.  We were also able to hear directly from the Special Olympians about how much fun they had with their respective teams.  Later that night, we all celebrated at the White Party sponsored by the Duke MBA Latin American Student Association.

On April 13, we were able to say our goodbyes and prepare ourselves for the 8-hour road trip back to State College just in time for class on Monday.  Remember, we’re still conscientious MBA students after all!

For more information about Duke MBA Games, please visit their website at http://sites.duke.edu/mbagames/weekend/

-Anthony Cheng, Penn State Smeal MBA ‘14

 



On April 1st, the SCMA celebrated the transition of the Executive Board with an ice cream social!  Here, SCMA members were able to network with the new board and each other while enjoying three different and equally delicious ice cream flavors from the Creamery.

 

The 2014-2015 SCMA Officers are:

President: Carolina Herrera

VP Corporate Relations: Tatiana Kuzmenko

VP Finance: Majaz Mohammed

VP Marketing: Brijesh Kundu

VP Communication: Neha Bajera

 

Congratulations to the new SCMA Board!  From the 2013-2014 SCMA Board, we wish you luck in your future endeavors!

-Angela Shershin, Penn State Smeal MBA ‘14


One of the main reasons for which people want their MBA is to raise their salary by either: changing careers, changing companies, getting a better position or working globally. The biggest question is how? How can a MBA program differentiate you from other master programs?  To me, “putting theories into practice” is one of those differentiating factors.  In fact, with four years of experience and a master of Industrial Engineering, I wanted a program that would help me put theories I’ve learned and all the four years of experiences I’ve gained into practical business problems.  Here at the Penn State Smeal MBA Program, most of the classes are based on real cases. You read the case, do the analysis and make decisions as if you were the manager or the CEO of that specific company. Then, even more interesting is listening to a professor with dozens of years of experience in industry describing the case for you and sometimes hearing brilliant ideas from your classmates.

After a while you realize that these cases might not exactly be the ones you’re looking for as “real world problems”. Typically a case consists of all the necessary information needed to analyze the problem, for example, information about the market and competitors, company’s financials and future plans. But how can you gather all the information needed when dealing a complicated business situation? In fact, finding and putting together the right information is one of the main problems you can face in complicated business situations. I looked for the solution and I found the answer in “Case Competitions,” in which they give you the problem which might be even less than a page.  Then you have 24 hours and a huge amount of data to review to come up with a good idea and supporting information. This is a situation you may experience in competitive global business situations.  As a Penn State Smeal MBA candidate you have the opportunity to attend case competitions that focus on many different functional business areas.   You will be working as part of a team, and competing with other teams from top tier business schools.

Another practical experience is your final project called the Applied Professional Experience (APEX), in which you have a chance to work with a company and help improve a system or solve a problem. Working in an APEX project may also help you improve your project management skills or obtain your six-sigma black belt if you are interested in those areas.

The Penn State Smeal MBA program is a demanding program that gives you many opportunities, like the few just mentioned.  It is up to you to figure out how to take advantage of those opportunities, depending on your goals. The Penn State Smeal MBA program is a great opportunity to experience necessary challenges and gain knowledge that meets your needs as you pursue a better professional career.

-Masoud Ghayoumi, Penn State Smeal MBA ’14


On Valentine’s Day, approximately 20 SCMA members, divided into 10 teams, delayed any date plans to try their luck with SAP during SCMA’s 4th Annual SAP Competition.

Paul Winkler of Penn State’s Applied Research Lab provided guidance through this SAP simulation and game.  First, Paul explained the fundamentals and importance of SAP in modern supply chains.  Then Paul walked us through how to read the various screens and reports which would proved to be crucial during the competition.  Finally, Paul kicked off the competition between the 10 teams.  This competition consisted of three rounds where each team of two had to make quick decisions regarding pricing, reorder point and marketing budget for six different flavors of bottled water in three different markets.  After each round, Paul facilitated a short debrief on what happened in each round and what the top teams were doing differently from the bottom teams.  At the end of the three rounds, the top three teams were awarded cash prizes and everyone was treated to Chipotle.

Overall, the 4th Annual SAP Competition proved to be fun and informative.  The SCMA looks forward to hosting this event again next year!

-Angela Shershin, Penn State Smeal MBA ‘14

 


During the last week in January, the Spring career fair season for Smeal MBAs officially started with the Supply Chain Career Fair.  On January 31st, members of the MBA Supply Chain Association had the opportunity to attend a mixer with several representatives from companies in town for the Supply Chain Career Fair.  Some of the companies represented included: Office Depot, Williams-Sonoma, Intel and Linde.

This mixer proved to be a valuable networking opportunity for the MBA students.  By having more face time with recruiters in a causal environment, this enabled the MBA students to differentiate themselves and stand out the next day at the career fair.  Plus, this provided the company representatives time to relax and have fun during their stay in State College.

Overall, the event was a great experience for both the MBA students and company representatives.  The SCMA, in partnership with the MBAA, look forward to hosting this event during future Supply Chain Career Fairs.

-Angela Shershin, Penn State Smeal MBA ‘14

Supply_Chain_Mixer5


Diwali is undoubtedly the biggest and brightest of all Indian festivals. It is a festival of lights, and celebration of life and goodness. Smeal celebrated Diwali in a big way last year. It was a pleasure for me to be part of the organizing committee and also to participate in several events that were organized that day. The events consisted of dance, music, scrumptious Indian food, fashion show and the sari tying contest. I was elated to see how people from different countries with diverse backgrounds and cultures all came together to celebrate the festival. My colleagues from the US, Russia, Nigeria and China were not only eager and excited to learn the various Indian dance forms, but they also polished the dance postures. They were enthusiastic to wear the traditional Indian clothes. It was incredible to watch them dance cheerfully on Bollywood songs relish the Indian food and wear traditional Indian outfits. My colleagues in Smeal who came from different cultural backgrounds were extremely accepting and respectful of Indian traditions. And they went out of their way to support and participate in one of the biggest and most awaited events at Smeal; their actions and support made me euphoric. It was a mind-blowing experience for me. More importantly it brought all of us together and gave us the opportunity to get to know each other outside the classroom. This was one of the most wonderful experiences that I have had at Smeal where I felt extremely proud of my decision to join Penn State Smeal MBA program.

-Neha Bareja, Penn State Smeal MBA ’15


Rice Marketing Case Competition

On Feb 6, a Smeal MBA team that consisted of two-second year students, Effie Li and Carrie Zhou, and two first year students, David DeFlice and Nancy Nie, went to Houston, TX for the National Marketing Case Competition. Since a snow storm just hit Pennsylvania, it took us 12 hours to get Houston from State College. We attended the reception ceremony held in Johns Business School and met 15 teams that came from all over the country. During the warm up session, we played the spaghetti challenge game, and learned more about team dynamic.

After the opening session, we got the case at 8pm and spent 6 hours at Rice MBA meeting room to solve the case problem. The case was about new marketing penetration in oil and gas manufacturing industry, and the team was expected to give recommendations on entry decisions and marketing mix strategies.

The case scenario was new to us, but we did broad research on company website and industry report. As a result, we got enough information and data for solid analysis from financial aspect as well as practical marketing strategies. The following morning, we came back to the meeting room, and completed the slide deck by noon. The presentation took place in the afternoon and each member of our team participated. We did a good job in the Q&A session, and the judges gave us positive feedback for our performance. Finally, our team’s presentation score ranked second place, and the sponsor company representative gave Penn State great recognition.

In the evening networking session, we had wonderful opportunity to talk to MBA students from many different programs. We exchanged about each other’s MBA life and job searching strategy. The best part of case competition is making new friends and also broadening our views and perspectives.

-Effie Li, Penn State Smeal MBA ’14

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Global Immersion and Spring Break – Johannesburg

I will be flying to Johannesburg in exactly 3 days and 10hrs. Yes! That’s exactly how excited I am to go on this trip. I will be flying with twenty of my class mates from New York to Johannesburg for the global immersion trip which is also part of the MBA program. In Johannesburg, we will visit many local and multinational companies, and we will learn more about their businesses and the challenges they face. This exposure will give us better understanding of how to run a business in a politically challenging and culturally complex environment. We will also visit a few local places in Johannesburg to experience South Africa’s culture.

After five days of the global immersion, I will be going on a safari for three days with fifteen of my classmates, and then fly to Cape Town for four days to do lot of fun filled and exciting stuff such as shark cage diving, wine tours etc.  I am looking forward to this trip and can’t wait to complete my finals tomorrow!!

 

Sreekanth Boppana, Penn State Smeal MBA ’15


MoniraName: Monira Linda

Concentrations: Finance, Supply Chain Management and Strategic Leadership

Internship: Proctor & Gamble, Global Capital Purchases, Baby Care

Why did you choose Smeal: Smeal’s  small class size and tight-knit community makes it easier to connect with students, professors and alumni. Team work is a fundamental part of Smeal and as a result, while developing individual skills in classes, I can develop team and project management skills and gain knowledge from team members who bring a diverse set of perspectives and business experiences.

What has been your favorite Smeal MBA memory thus far: Performing fan dance in the Lunar New Year Celebration organized by the MBA Association was so much fun. I tried it for the first time in my life. The audience clapped, who knows if they clapped thinking it’s a comedy show or a dance show, but hey! they clapped and laughed and that’s all that matters!


As the Vice President of Recruitment for MBA Association @ Smeal, I frequently get questions from candidates, who are struggling to decide which Business school to attend. Having seen both sides, I wanted to write a quick note on the two points that I considered in making my decision.

  • Companies that recruit in the school
  • Quality of peers and curriculum

 

Companies that recruit in the school:

One of the reasons I wanted to get an MBA is to get the job I will love. This is true on some level for everyone who is considering going back to school. Though this is painfully obvious, many of the candidates I interact with do not place enough weight on this point. It is much easier to get the job you want when you are coming out of school as opposed to work in a role for couple of years and transition into another. I cannot stress this point enough.

 

Quality of peers and curriculum:

Peers and curriculum are two important parts of the MBA experience. Almost half of the courses taught in business schools are designed to be team based. You will not learn if you are the only one pulling all the weight in your team. In turn, the activities become mere assignments rather than learning tools. Hence, it is very important that every candidate evaluate these factors before applying and/or choosing a business school. In my experience, some people like case based learning and some like lecture based learning. Every MBA program is unique in the way it is designed. This is exactly why every candidate should consider the structure, content of the curriculum and peer pool before making a decision.

 

In conclusion, I believe candidates should carefully consider and weigh their priorities and not pick a program merely based on rankings.

-Visaharaja Ravindar Bose, Penn State Smeal MBA ’15


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