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Pennsylvania State University - Smeal - Experts' Global
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  • Pennsylvania State University - Smeal

    (FT RANK #48)

    Business Building
    University Park
    United States
    Switchboard: 814-863-0474
    Fax: 814-863-8072

    USP of the school

    World-renowned Supply Chain program that attracts companies such as DELL,HP< IBM, APPLE AND WALMART. This school also lays prime emphasis on work - ethics.


    Vast Resources.

    Weíre part of one of the nationís most recognized and respected universities. Our alumni network is the countryís largest and stretches around the globe, opening doors for thousands of graduates from Boston to Bangalore. Our faculty is ranked among the top twenty in the world for academic excellence and boasts extensive connections to the business world and beyond. We are ranked among the top MBA programs in the United States.

    Personal Focus.

    Your goals and needs are unique and the Smeal MBA experience has the flexibility and resources to help you succeed. Youíll build relationships with alumni advisers from some of the worldís top companies as well as members of the Career Services staff. Our esteemed professors are dedicated to helping you achieve your learning objectives and are always accessible because of our small class sizes. Itís the kind of personal attention that polishes talent, maximizes potential, and fuels confidence. This is the Penn State Smeal MBA.

    In a world that allows more people to plug and play, collaborate and compete, share knowledge and share work, a strong foundation for learning is essential. By balancing vast resources with personal focus, Smeal provides the platform you need to answer the challenges of today and tomorrow.

    Full time MBA Statistics

    Student Profile
    % Female Students 38%
    % International 33%
    Avg. Work Exp. 4 years
    Avg. Student's Age 28
    Avg. GMAT 650
    Programme Profile
    Accreditations AACSB
    Start Dates September
    Avg. Programme Duration 21 months
    Avg. Total Tuition Fees (excluding living expenses + books) USD 56000
    Class in Corporate Governance or Business Ethics Yes
    Teaching Methodology More than 50% Case Method / Less than 50% Lecture based
    Scholarship / Financial Aid
    School-sponsored Scholarship / Financial Aid Yes
    School-sponsored Scholarships based on (other) Merit-based
    Admission Requirements
    Application deadline Rolling
    Min. Gmat N/A
    Min Toefl (Paper) 600
    Min Toefl (Computer) 250
    Accept IELTS Yes
    Min IELTS 7
    Min years of work experience 2
    Essay Req. Yes
    Interview Req. Yes
    References Req. Yes
    Resume / C.V. Yes
    Undergrad or equivalent degree Yes
    Official Transcripts Yes
    Completed Application Form Yes
    Application Fee USD 65

  • #2
    Exclusive - Smeal MBA Admissions Director- Carrie Marcinkeva

    Carrie Marcinkevage - Penn State's Smeal MBA Admissions Director has been kind enough to help prospective candidates. In an exclusive interview, she speaks about the expectations from a candidate's application and how can you test 'the fit' in the MBA program.

    1. Could you tell me about any big changes you've made to the application process for the coming year?

    a. The overall process will be similar to past years, with December 1, February 1, and April 15 deadlines. We are proud to offer some innovations within the application itself. First, we pioneered webcam interviews, and last year our webcam interviews equaled our live interviews. Itís a great way to connect if you canít come in person. Next, we added an optional video submission to the application. You can record a two-minute video introduction and include it with your application. Lastly, we are the first business school to confirm admissions essays through a plagiarism detection software. We believe that ethics starts long before you come to an MBA, and we strongly believe in upholding our values of Principled Leadership. The software will help us equitably evaluate all essays the same way, and it frees the admissions committee from looking for ethical concerns so they can focus on looking for the best in every applicant.

    2. What are you looking for in the interview and also in the application process? What are you evaluating people on as candidates for the program?

    a. The interview helps us fit together pieces of the application, and it gives applicants a chance to present themselves in a way they may not be able to on paper. It can be a differentiator highlighting communication skills and program fit.

    3. What makes someone a good fit for a Smeal MBA, as opposed to any of the other MBA programs in the country?

    a. A Penn State Smeal MBA jumps in and gets the job done. S/he shows authentic enthusiasm for setting and reaching oneís goals. S/he lives by our values of Principled Leadership and is a positive member of the class and community. We want to be proud to call every Penn State Smeal MBA an alum Ė from application to graduation, internship to retirement.

    4. What are some of the common mistakes you see in the interview?

    a. The most common interview mistakes are two sides of the same coin:
    not preparing and over-preparing. Those who donít prepare as if it were a job interview Ė the job being ďMBA Student at the Penn State Smeal MBAĒ Ė risk rambling, missing the mark on questions, and appearing unprepared to be a future business leader. Those who over-prepare are usually trying to spin the questions to what they want to convey rather than answering thatís asked. They oversell their accomplishments and donít contextualize their experience with others. They appear inattentive, condescending, insincere.

    5. And how about in the application, are there any mistakes you see that are common?

    a. The most common mistake is not answering questions appropriately and completely. Be sure to answer the question that is asked. Candidates run into trouble here when repurposing essays from one school to the next. It can become so watered down that itís not effective for any school. On the flip side, rambling and writing an essay that goes well beyond the allotted space format is also detrimental. The essays show not only your ability to write effectively, but also your ability as a business leader to communicate clearly and succinctly.

    6. Can you offer any tips for students working on the essays?

    a. Three tips:
    i. Express yourself. This is your time to communicate to us your goals and passions, and how you believe youíd be a great fit for our MBA program. Take the opportunity to communicate that as clearly as you can.
    ii. Be yourself. Genuine, sincere essays and interviews help a candidate shine. Youíll do best if you are not trying to be someone else, or the applicant you think we want.
    iii. Know yourself. This is at the core of the MBA search process. Only if you truly know yourself can you be genuine and express your goals clearly. Spend the time to learn what you like and donít, where you see yourself, what helps you grow and thrive. And set your MBA sights on the schools that will fit you best. That will shine through in your application and set you apart.

    7. How important are GMAT scores when you are reviewing an application?

    a. Evaluating academics is a critical part of assessing candidacy for graduate school. The GMAT is very important for three reasons. First, the GMAT is statistically validated as a performance indicator for first-year core curriculum performance. Second, itís the only part of the application that can be compared consistently across all candidates. Third, itís the most current assessment of your academic potential, since most candidatesí college performance was several years ago.

    8. What makes a good reference for a student?

    a. I would much rather read a reference from a manager who knows the candidate well, rather than one from a high-level executive who does not work directly with the candidate. Try to use professional references rather than academic references when possible, as your GPA and test scores already speak to your academic performance. We want to gauge how you perform in a professional environment.

    9. One thing that stands out about Smeal is its world-renowned Supply Chain Program. Do you think that this should discourage prospective candidates who are not planning a career in Supply Chain Management ?

    a. Every program has special curricular strengths that help it excel. The Penn State Smeal MBA has particular expertise in SCM and also B2B marketing. Our Finance discipline is also widely regarded for corporate finance. While I would not discourage candidates in other disciplines, I believe that those are often the best fit for our relationships with recruiters and future job potential.

    10. Do you have any advice for international applicants? How differently are international applications treated when compared to domestic applications ?

    a. In general, applying to an MBA program is a competitive process for applicants from all countries. For international applicants, I believe itís important to research US business and academic environments to help determine fit. Beyond that, weíre looking for the same academic, career, and cultural fit from all candidates.

    11. Has Smeal made any special efforts to improve its world-wide ranking?

    a. We continue to keep a close eye on rankings each year and try to make improvements to the program and student experience that will both improve our studentsí experience, and hopefully then also improve our standing in the rankings. We try to maintain the balance of keeping in mind what the rankings are looking for and doing what is best for our students and the college. One area of particular focus at Smeal that may or may not help us in the rankings-- but one that we believe is absolutely critical for future business leaders is Principled Leadership. We believe that developing executives of character and integrity, who are able to effectively and efficiently lead in good times and bad, and who maintain positivity and credibility throughout, is more important than attaining a high rank in a specific publication. If we know weíve done that, and that our students are successfully on the way to the next steps in their careers, then weíve met our own metrics of success.

    12. Are there any changes to the curriculum recently or upcoming that students should be aware of?

    a. n/a

    13. One thing that comes up a lot when you think of the Smeal College of Business is that it's a small program. What are some of the pluses and minuses of having a small MBA program?

    a. On the plus side, a small program means that you are building a meaningful network of peers. These are colleagues whom youíll remember and who will remember you when future business opportunities arise. Not only are you connected to this network, you are also connected to the Penn State network, which has the largest alumni association in the world, not to mention arguably the most active and loyal. Unlike many larger programs, you also have easy access to high-level faculty who are ready and willing to help you.

    b. On the down side, thereís no room for anonymity. If you thrive in an environment of less attention, this environment does not allow for you to simply observe and fade into the scenery. Also, being a smaller program, we are sometimes challenged in regard to live recruiter attention (ie: recruiters visiting campus). We continually make ongoing efforts to tap into Penn State resources and our own MBA alumni network to connect students to opportunities with companies who many not be able to budget for recruiting travel to a small program.

    14. State College is a small-town. How does that play into the job search for students and also the opportunities that the school can offer students throughout the year?

    a. Travel budget for recruiters has become an issue across the globe; thus it is imperative that all programs work through channels such as video-conferencing, LinkedIn, etc. For the Penn State Smeal MBA, this is a familiar challenge and one that we continue to work toward.



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