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Participants: Sherrill Chen, Arvind Dutta, Yingyuan Ye

Children’s Dyslexia Center at State College

The service immersion gave us a wonderful opportunity to be involved with our local community and meet with our local community champions. We worked on a marketing initiative for the Children’s Dyslexia Center at State College, PA. We produced and published video content for the Center’s awareness and fundraising.

Children’s Dyslexia Center is a non-profit organization, which provides free of charge tutoring to children with Dyslexia. It is estimated that on an average 20% children have Dyslexia. The State College branch serves 15 counties in Pennsylvania, most in Centre, Huntingdon and Clearfield counties. The management and tutors at the center are very devoted to the mission. However the center is challenged by limited awareness of dyslexia in addition to being underfunded. After our discussions with the Center’s leadership board, we concluded that promotional video content for awareness and fundraising would be the best way to help them in the given amount of time.

It was so much fun on the day of shooting to meet with super energetic kids and their friendly parents. We shot several hours of footage covering several topics and stake holders. During our video shoot, the Center Director Ms. Marsha shared her inspiration, motivation, and commitment for the cause. She also talked about the importance of the Center. Then tutor Ms. Linda shared her experience with the children with dyslexia. We also had a chance to watch the Orton-Gillingham approach to treat Dyslexia which is unique to the Center that uses multi-sensory tactics. It was touching to talk with mothers of two kids who candidly shared their experience with the Center. It was heartwarming to know what it meant for their families. After all, a life is changed forever. A kid feels confident to take on life and any challenge once s/he can overcome Dyslexia. The strong faith from the people for the Center touched us all.  It made us happy. We were contributing to a great noble cause, in however small way that we could. The post video production was challenging, time-consuming but rewarding. We spend a couple of days cropping, editing, fine-tuning and finally composing our final cuts. We created a YouTube channel to upload our final videos. This could be used actively for building awareness and fundraising in future.

Through this service immersion, we learned that the children with Dyslexia with little help from the community as tutors, volunteers and sponsors can lead a normal mainstream life. In fact some of them shine as stars, such as, Richard Branson and Albert Einstein. We hope that our small effort could increase the awareness of dyslexia and engage local community and philanthropists to help this noble cause.

On Friday morning, the WMBA and the Marketing Association welcomed Rich Pilston from DuPont for a case study and lunch.  Rich talked for some time about business to business marketing, and the challenges that come for marketers in that field.

My favorite takeaway was that because the economy is so bad, we future marketers have the opportunity to take all the credit when business improves. What a great silver lining!

As the people filtered out of the classroom, I had the opportunity to speak with many of the other students.  What struck the largest chord with the audience was Rich’s emphasis on finding out the needs of the market and creating products that fill those needs.  As business to business marketers, we need to look at the big picture of our customer’s customers, and should strive to fulfill everyone’s needs.  Very few marketers in the industry think this way, and this policy is what has helped DuPont create products like Corian and Kevlar, which are known by consumers at all purchasing levels.

I think I can speak for the MBAs at the session when I say we are all so grateful for him coming out and imparting his expertise on Friday.

-Sara Paige
MBA Class of 2010

Returning alumni are always a sign of school spirit. However, when an alumnus comes and conducts an in-depth discussion of their personal business venture for MBA students to critique and make suggestions, it is a sign of commitment. This was the case with Ken Wahlster, a former Smeal MBA Penn Stater. After working in the corporate world for many years, Ken decided to turn one of his passions into a business opportunity. is now a leading supplier of motorcycle and other sport vehicle parts.

Ken presented the SCMA with an opportunity to do an interactive case study to discuss some of the supply chain problems is currently facing.

  • How can time to shipment be minimized?
  • How can time in transit be minimized?
  • Should open another location? If so, where?
  • Should buy one of its suppliers? If so, which one?

SCMA members were able to gain an in-depth understanding of the business model of this privately-owned firm and provide recommendations to its owner. This kind of opportunity is rare, but was made possible through the commitment of a Smeal MBA alumnus.

Stephanie Bond
Smeal MBA Class of 2010

Stephanie is a first year MBA student with a concentration in Supply Chain Management.  Before coming to Smeal, Stephanie just finished her undergraduate education at the University of Arkansas.  For this reason, and many more, Stephanie is a dedicated Razorback Basketball enthusiast.

Because each student signs the Honor Code during Orientation, everyone is expected to comply with all aspects of the process to ensure that the Code is a living document that we all abide by. There have been news reports of students at other MBA programs engaged in conduct that reflects on the brand of the entire program. As such, students here at Smeal have decided to take action into their own hands and want to expand the Honor Code to cover more than academics.

On Tuesday, October 29, students came together to discuss expanding our current Honor Code to encompass Career Services and one’s internship and job search. A lively discussion took place with students debating the extend to which the Honor Code should be expanded to Career Services, what type of actions would be deemed violations and how soon this effort should be initiated. Students also raised concerns around ensuring that companies understand their role and engage in ethical recruiting practices as well. As the VP of Academic Affairs and Student Relations for the MBAA, it was refreshing for me to see so many students dedicated and involved in the process and ready to take ownership of the Honor Code.

Faculty, administration and staff from the program also attended the luncheon to show their support. The MBA Career Services team and the MBA administration supports the Honor Code in the Smeal College of Business and are willing to assist in any way possible to have the Honor Code umbrella over Career Services. Having this bottom up approach to expanding the Honor Code rather than a top down effort is refreshing as a student in the program. I really feel like we have ownership in this endeavor and I look forward to seeing where else the Honor Code expands for Smeal students.

-Tai Parks,

Tai is a second year student in the MBA program concentrating in Supply Chain Management , Product and Market Development and Strategic Leadership. She is a native of Philadelphia and a huge sports fan

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Roughly 40 students packed into Room 126 for the MBAA’s second Town Hall Event of the year.  Some came to ask questions about the coming election.  Some came to air grievances.  And some came for the delightful sandwich wraps from a local eatery.  (I place myself firmly in the sandwich camp.)

Whatever the motivation, the event turned into an exciting free-for-all, as first and second year students debated many of the hot button issues of daily MBA life.  The election was the hottest topic, as many of the potential candidates for the 2010 MBAA board gained a better sense on how the election will be run.  Other subjects ran the gamut from the school’s ranking to the MBAA budget.

At the end of the night, the students in attendance walked away informed..and stuffed.  Although I still don’t understand the complex color-coded toothpick system, my participation at the event netted me a wrap filled with turkey, cheese, and other goodness.  I consider that a sound business investment.

-James Brennan,

James received a BA in Journalism at The College of New Jersey, and his JD at the Quinnipiac University School of Law.  He is concentrating in Marketing and Corporate Finance at Smeal.

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In March, Greg Harnish and Salvador Gala of Mars Snackfood came to campus and hosted a supply chain case study.  The event was attended by about 25 members of the MBA-SCMA and MMM program.  First we had lunch, and then we dug into the case.  They divided us into teams and gave us background information on the situation.  Based on the real-world experiences of a sugar buyer, we were tasked to make five buying decisions, spread out over a six month time frame.  Greg and Salvador had a spreadsheet into which they entered our decisions.  Each team gave their answer, and then explained how they came up with it.  Some of the issues that influenced our decisions were price and availability, and the conversation during the actual decision making periods varied greatly with topics ranging from crop and harvest issues to new supply options.  It was a really good experience to hear what thought process was used to get to each team’s decision.  I was interested to hear the ideas of the others because we all come from different work backgrounds and our experience levels vary.  In the end, my team didn’t win with the lowest budget, but we all won by taking away some new insights.

-Marcia Murphy
MBA Class of 2009

Marcia is a member of the class of 2009 and throws a mean game of darts.Marcia Murphy

I went to Sears Holding case presentation session last Thursday. Jamie Brooks, who is an associate of senior leadership program from Sears, discussed the case about the acquisition of Sears by ESL and passed along some information about MBA opportunities with Sears Holding. It was a wonderful event, especially the case discussion. When discussing the case in class, I always felt like discussing something very far from my life. However, this time, Jamie talked about the company and the real situation at that time, which made me feel that I had experienced the same situation. Therefore, I could really put my feet in their shoes. In addition to the case study, Jamie also shared with us his experience and insight about Sears. Therefore, after the session, I got a better idea about Sears. I liked this case presentation session and look forward to more such opportunities.

-Yi Zhu
Yi is the 2008 Vice President of Investment Management & Portfolio Analysis (IMPA) for the MBA Finance Association. Prior to Smeal, Yi did futures trading for three years in Shanghai. At Smeal, Yi will be focusing on Investment Management and Portfolio Analysis with a secondary portfolio in Corporate Financial Analysis and Planning.

Our latest Executive Presentation Series held on Nov 9 featured Tracy Masson. Tracy Masson, Senior Manager of Americas Business Operations, Dell Inc. Canada, spoke to the SCMA about Dell’s supply chain model. The topic of her discussion was “Leadership and Supply Chain in Dell”. Ms. Masson shared her insight regarding the Global Supply Planning model of Dell and its three major constituents – Demand Planning, Supply Planning and Demand Fulfillment. She also explained the critical role of the Supplier Logistics Center in helping Dell keep only 2 hours of inventory on hand which ultimately helps Dell in absolute synchronization between manufacturing and sales. The event served as a great opportunity to interact and network with a Dell executive and a Penn State Alum. The Smeal community would like to thank Ms. Masson for taking time to give back to the current student body.

Rohit Gurtu, MBA Class of 2009

Officer, MBA Supply Chain Management Association

Prior to Smeal, Rohit has worked for more than 15 years in the automotive industry. He has undertaken various roles in manufacturing, purchasing, and procurement with Maruti Suzuki, Honda Siel Cars, Delphi Automotive Systems, and Saud Bahwan Automotive, LLC.

On September 27, in a joint event with the Finance and Marketing associations, Sears Holdings sponsored a case exercise instruction series and an information session. During the information session, Jamie Brooks spent time to teach students about the Sears culture, and their model for success. The MBA community would like to extend our gratitude to Mr. Brooks for his commitment to his Alma Mater.

Preston Charles, MBA Class of 2008

Preston Charles is a second year MBA student majoring in Supply Chain Management and Strategic Leadership. He serves as the acting office manager for Office of Diversity Enhancement. He is also the acting Vice President of Student Affairs for the Supply Chain Management Association.

charles_preston.JPG VP Student Affairs, MBA Supply Chain Management Association