Just as in previous years, over 30 prestigious Fortune 500 companies traveled to the conference in order to recruit top MBA vets from across the country. Having been seasoned in the corporate world through summer internships, all four Smeal veterans were invited to attend private “pre-conference networking sessions” with some of the companies.
Following the speakers, some of Smeal’s vets had on-site interviews while others attended industry panels. One of the most interesting panels featured five management consultants (all veterans). The consultants addressed topics that ranged from the career progression of a young consultant to which hotels offer the best rewards programs.
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.
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.
Overall, it was a great experience for us. Thanks to the McDonough School of Business for organizing this event and to our wonderful Smeal MBA Program Office for the never-ending support. The two first year participants learned a lot from the two seasoned second years. As a team, we had the opportunity to exercise our problem solving skills, make some great new friends, and add yet another success story to Smeal’s legacy of acing case competitions.
The GOC case competition is part of the Global Operations Conference, organized by the University of Michigan each year. The cases introduce students to the world of operation management, with content ranging from detailed process flow improvement to high level strategic recommendations. This year, the case was a disguised version of a real life project in one of Alcoa’s divisions. The company, facing increased demand for their products, was building a new factory and needed to make sure it had planned effectively. Specifically, we had to examine process flows, calculate if the planned capacity was sufficient, estimate inventory levels, and create rules for workers so the process would remain optimized and in control. Forty-five teams from US and international universities submitted their solution for the first round. From this group, five finalists were selected, including our team. The final round took place during the conference in Ann Arbor, MI and consisted of a 30 minute presentation to a panel judges from Alcoa. The case was data driven and, without complete knowledge of the industry, took us some time to understand the process. Given that Penn State won this case competition last year, we had the extra pressure to defend the title, and the pressure increased when we realized the Alcoa judges were the same form last year and they recognized one of our team members, raising their expectations. Fortunately, we were able to put the pressure aside and present a compelling presentation. The success we had in this case competition made us realize how good the preparation is that we receive in the MBA program, as the judges (one of them actually worked on the real project) were surprised that we did not receive assistance from any faculty members to arrive at our solution. We are happy we were able to represent the Smeal MBA Program and Penn State in this competition. We want to thanks Carrie Marcinkevage, Erik Orient and Sandy Simler for their support in our participation in this event and to the organizers of the conference, who were very supportive of our team during the competition.
The new building for the Smeal College of Business Administration consolidates the College's graduate and undergraduate business programs previously dispersed across the Pennsylvania State University campus. Prominently located at a major campus entry, the new facility forms part of a new precinct whose centerpiece is the Meadow, a large sloping greensward. Our firm prepared architectural design guidelines for the precinct and designed the 210,000-square-foot, four-story business school building along with an adjacent 1,280 car garage and a chiller plant.
The geometry of the business school building conforms to the Meadow's arc and inflects to the new School of Forestry across its main axis. A south facing courtyard offers the College its own outdoor gathering space. The building is entered from Bigler Road, a major campus thoroughfare to the west, and through an entrance leading from the Meadow and garage to the east.
On the main level, the building comprises two rectilinear plan forms housing graduate and undergraduate classrooms and connected by a glazed lobby and a curved, four story glass atrium, which serves as a central gathering space expressing Smeal College's values of openness, transparency, and community. A 175 seat lecture hall opens onto the lobby, while undergraduate and graduate student lounges and a 125 seat café with outdoor dining open onto the atrium. Within the atrium, a sculptural staircase provides access to all levels and offers views across the Meadow to the mountains beyond. Administrative offices for the College share the second floor with its high technology instructional laboratories. The upper two floors house faculty and departmental offices for the entire Smeal faculty.
The building is clad primarily in red brick, with deep set windows and golden limestone accents. The metal and glass curtain walls enclosing the atrium and lobby extend upwards to encompass mechanical penthouses.
Smeal achieved LEED certification for implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions aimed at achieving high performance in: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, waste diversion and indoor environmental quality. Notably, their energy and water use reduction strategies have resulted in energy use that is 34% below that of comparable buildings, and a 16.67% reduction in water use over buildings of the same size. The building embodies the “living laboratory” concept, where the building itself is used as a tool to engage undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff on how sustainability applies to the world around them.
On April 11th 2014, a Smeal MBA team consisting of Ankit Mahajan, Iqbal Aasim, Volha Taberka and Anika Zaman headed to McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University to take part in the Georgetown University Technology Case Competition 2014.