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#62 Penn State Smeal MBA Program & Admissions Interview with Stacey Peeler – “Best of Both Worlds”

Penn State Smeal MBA Stacey Peeler

“Smeal gives you a best of both worlds experience. We’re a world-renowned research university, and we have the resources and brand-name to back up our MBA program. However, our program is very small, typically 80-100 students per year… Everybody knows you, you know everybody else, the faculty knows you by name, but you also got resources that will help you throughout your entire career.”

About Our Guest

Stacey Peeler is MBA Admissions Director at Penn State’s Smeal College of Business. Prior to joining Smeal in 2008, she worked for Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions in various management roles in the Philadelphia area, and then as the Center Director of the State College office. Stacey got her Masters in Science in Human Resources and Employment Relations from Penn State.

What is relatively unique about the Smeal MBA? What are its key advantages?

  • Relatively small MBA class (80-100 students) with the support of one of the largest research universities and alumni networks in the world
  • Top-ranked for supply chain management, also strong in business to business marketing and corporate finance
  • Good value: ROI is typically about 3.5 years with relatively low tuition, generous scholarship policy, and increased earnings post-graduation
  • Smeal requires applicants to answer 3 randomly selected video questions for application

Potentially a good fit if:

  • You are looking for an intimate MBA program experience but want the benefits of a large and engaged alumni network
  • You are looking for a program strong in supply chain management, marketing (especially business-to-business), corporate finance, or consulting
  • You’re looking for strong value from a US MBA

Listen on for the insider’s scoop…

Touch MBA’S Penn State Smeal MBA Fast Facts

Program Highlights (1:45)

  • Smeal College of Business founded in 1953
  • 1 intake / year in August
  • Length: 21 months
  • Campus in University Park, Pennsylvania, the no. 2 ranked college town in the US with population 40,000, 10 minutes from airport and accessible to East Coast and Midwest
  • 75-110 participants/intake
  • ~12 nationalities/intake, class is ~38% international
  • Concentrations: Finance, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Strategic Leadership, Supply Chain Management, Sustainability & Social Innovation
  • Students rate Industrial/Manufacturing/Logistics highest
  • Rankings: #62 Financial Times 2014, #41 US News 2015, #38 Bloomberg Businessweek 2012, #71 Economist 2013
  • #6 Supply Chain/Logistics by US News 2015
  • Accredited by AACSB
  • Dual Degrees: JD/MBA, MD/MBA, BS/MBA

Admissions (13:25)

  • 4 deadlines Oct to Apr, get a decision within 2-3 months
  • 526 applications received, 141 admitted, 77 enrolled, 27% acceptance rate
  • Avg GMAT: 649 (80% range 550 – 720), Avg GPA: 3.4 (90% range 3.0 – 3.8)
  • GRE Accepted
  • Avg age: 27, Avg work experience: 4.5-5, full-time professional work experience recommended but now required
  • Min TOEFL: 600 (paper), 100 (internet), IELTS: NA
  • Interviews done by Admissions Committee
  • Assess candidates based on academic history/potential, quality/quantity of work experience, leadership capacity/experience, and overall fit with the Smeal culture

Financing (25:30)

  • Full-time MBA Tuition: $73,924 ($46,160 in state)
  • Recommended budget: $100,000 ($73,000)
  • Upwards of 80% of class awarded merit-based aid, including graduate assistantships (full-tuition waiver for ~35 students)
  • 12-15 students win scholarships ranging from $2,500 to $25,000
  • Scholarships are merit-based and awarded with offer (applicants must apply by Feb 1 deadline)
  • Tip: get the best GMAT/GRE score to improve chances of winning scholarship funding

Career (28:35)

  • Smeal MBA – Full-time placement report (Class of 2013)
  • 75% of graduates had jobs within 3 months of graduation
  • Average Salary (Bonus): $96,349 ($16,466)
  • Graduates in 2012 experienced 117% increase in salary after 3 years
  • Top 5 regions graduates worked in: Mid-Atlantic 25%, South 21%, Midwest 17%, Northeast 15%, Southwest 12%, West 8%
  • Top 5 recruiters: Ernst & Young (3), PolyOne (3), Apple (2), GE (2), Nike – supply chain (2), Chevron (2), ExonMobil, Deloitte,
  • Top 5 functions: Operations/Logistics 34%, Marketing/Sales 28%, Consulting 15%, Finance/Accounting 15%, IT 4%
  • Top 5 industries: Manufacturing 23%, Consulting 15%, Technology 15%, Consumer Products 11%, Financial Services 9%
  • 74,000 Smeal alumni worldwide and Penn State has the nation’s largest Alumni Association

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