Smeal Business School (Pennsylvania State University)

Pennsylvania State University #

Year Founded: 1953

Average GMAT: 600

City: State College

State: Pennsylvania

Country: United States

About #

The Penn State Smeal College of Business is a vibrant intellectual community offering highly ranked undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and executive education opportunities to more than 6,000 students from across the country and around the world. Since introduction in 1953, it has prepared 95,000 students for professional success, annually adding to Penn State’s vast alumni network. They are a destination of choice for top global organizations seeking talent that will make a positive difference. Through leading faculty and a network of research centers and institutes, they are a source of knowledge that influences the business practices of tomorrow. They are forging connections, creating opportunities, and producing results.

Featured Professors #

Lisa E. Bolton

Lisa E. Bolton is a Professor of Marketing and Frank and Mary Jean Smeal Research Fellow at the Pennsylvania State University. Her Ph.D. is in Marketing from the University of Florida. She has a Master’s degree in Clinical Engineering from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics from the Royal Military College of Canada. Her research focuses on judgment and decision-making by managers and consumers, with substantive interests in new products, pricing, risk perceptions, consumer spending and finances, health marketing, luxury consumption, branding, and cross-cultural marketing. She has published in leading marketing journals, including the Journal of Marketing Research, the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Retailing, the Journal of Consumer Psychology, and the Journal of Service Research. Her research has also been recognized by MSI (MSI Young Scholars Program 2005) and the AMA (the John A. Howard AMA Doctoral Dissertation Award 1999-2000), and she serves on the editorial review boards of the Journal of Consumer Research (AE), the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing (AE), the Journal of Marketing (AE), the Journal of Retailing (AE), the Journal of Consumer Psychology, and the Journal of Consumer Affairs. She teaches marketing courses, with an emphasis on consumer insight, in undergraduate, MBA, and Ph.D. programs in the Smeal College of Business.

David A. Cather

Dave Cather joined the Smeal College of Business in 2006. Prior to his current position at Penn State, Dr. Cather taught at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a B.S.B.A. from Bowling Green State University and an M.B.A. and Ph.D. in Risk Management and Insurance from the University of Georgia. Dr. Cather’s research interests include corporate risk management, insurance data analytics, auto insurance, and corporate governance. His research has been published in a variety of journals, including Journal of Risk and Insurance, Risk Management and Insurance Review, Journal of Banking and Finance, and the Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance. In the classroom, Dr. Cather is an accomplished instructor who has received several teaching awards. He was the 2008 recipient of the Les Strickler Innovation in Instruction Award, presented by the American Risk and Insurance Association. While at Wharton, he was the recipient of the Sigma Kappa Phi Outstanding Professor Award. Before starting his academic career, Dr. Cather worked in the property-liability insurance industry as a licensed independent agent.

Frank L. Chelko

Frank Chelko is a Supply Chain and Operations Associate Teaching Professor with the Smeal College of Business at The Pennsylvania State University, and 2008 recipient of the Dillwyn Paste III Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Mr. Chelko’s instructional expertise includes: Manufacturing and Service Operations, Quality Management, Project Management, Materials/Procurement Management, Lean Supply Chain Strategies as well as Six Sigma Black Belt Training/Certification. Executive management experience includes the leadership of quality assurance, manufacturing operations, manufacturing technology transfer (Far East and Europe) and includes project management of new product engineering within high-tech start-up companies as well as several Fortune 500 corporations. Mr. Chelko’s past employment includes Xerox Corporation, Digital Equipment Corporation, Seagate Technology and Conner Peripherals as well as several entrepreneurial start-ups located in California’s Silicon Valley. Mr. Chelko in 2007-2008 also served as an elected faculty senator representing the Smeal College of Business and is currently a faculty advisor to the Masters in Manufacturing Management QMM program.

Rankings #

#47 Financial Time 2021 Global MBA Ranking

#33 USNews – Best Business Schools

#90 QS Global MBA Rankings 2021

MBA Program Brief Overview #

The internationally ranked Penn State Smeal MBA Program is a two-year, residential program located in one of the top-rated college towns in the United States: State College, Pennsylvania. Leadership communications, business ethics, and negotiations are hallmarks of the program, as well as the ability to customize your MBA experience with concentrations in finance, marketing, supply chain, and management consulting, and nearly 20 options in areas such as sustainability, investment, entrepreneurship, international affairs, and healthcare. 

Year One Description #

During the first year of the Smeal MBA, each module includes a set of required courses that focuses on business fundamentals and functional depth to build core competencies. 

Fall Semester Mandatory Classes

  • Communication Skills for Management
  • Financial Accounting
  • Team Process and Performance
  • Management
  • Business Statistics for Contemporary Decision Making
  • Negotiation Theory and Skills
  • Communication Skills for Management
  • Quantitative Analysis for Managerial Decision Making
  • Foundations in Finance
  • Economics for Managers

Spring Semester Mandatory Classes #

  • Communication Skills for Management
  • Supply Chain and Operations Management 
  • Global Business Environment
  • Global Perspectives
  • Strategic Management
  • Marketing Management
  • Global Immersion
  • Communication Skills for Management
  • Global Perspectives
  • Foundations in Managerial Accounting

Year Two Description #

The second year of the Smeal MBA features elective coursework within concentrations and options that align with each student’s unique interests and career goals. A concentration is a specialization that provides a comprehensive study within a particular area of business, while options provide the opportunity for briefer, yet targeted, study in additional areas of focus.

GMAT/GRE Stats #

Class of: 2022

Average GMAT: 639

GMAT Total Range: 590-700 (mid 80% range)

Unique Aspects #

Worldwide Community

At Penn State, a student is part of a worldwide community of instructors, learners and more than 700,000 alumni who support one another and strive to make a meaningful impact in the world. Within that network, more than 86,000 are graduates of the Penn State Smeal College of Business. Penn State Smeal alumni benefit from connections around the globe as well as networking events, podcasts, webinars, a powerful LinkedIn community, and countless opportunities to give their time and talents. The Alumni Career Services team supports students across all career stages with professional advancement opportunities and coaching to help them stay focused on achieving their goals.

Innovative Teaching

Penn State Smeal’s culture of innovative teaching and learning is exemplified across disciplines in the flexible design and delivery of our classes and the unique use of course analytics to ensure a customized experience focused on real-world problem solving. Here, Creative Teams, consisting of a lead faculty member, a Teaching Support Specialist (TSS), and an Instructional Designer develop and deliver contemporary online graduate courses that promote application and engagement as a fundamental approach to learning for the professional student.

Individual Approach

The team will explain the many options and possible paths that Penn State Smeal offers and will help students craft the educational experience best suited to their interests and career goals. It all starts with a simple, but critical question: “What are your goals?” The career services experts are also prepared to help students refine their career strategy and round out the experience.

Student Life #

State College, Pennsylvania — lovingly referred to as “Happy Valley” — ranks among the top college towns in the nation for being student friendly and accessible. The region offers vibrant nightlife, theater and concert performances, a diverse array of spectator sports, and ample opportunities for outdoor activities across the region. The University Park campus, the largest campus in the Penn State system, is home to a diverse population of more than 46,000 students. Although the Penn State Smeal College of Business is among the largest business schools in the country, the intentionally small Smeal MBA class size guarantees unparalleled access to top-ranked faculty and team of professional staff. As a Smeal MBA, students can expect to become an integral part of a tight-knit, collaborative community with opportunities to grow both inside and outside of the classroom.


Tuition: Residents: $27,442

Nonresidents: $43,800

Health Insurance: $659.20-$3,296

Fees: $1,204

Employment Reports #

Class of: 2020

  • Received an offer: 90%
  • Accepted an offer: 86%
  • Median Salary: $116,500
  • Median Signing Salary: $20,000

Top Industry Destinations #

  • Technology (32%)
  • Consulting (23%)
  • Other (Consumer Products, Energy, Finance Services, Retail) (18%)
  • Manufacturing (16%)
  • Healthcare (11%)

Top Function Destinations #

  • Supply Chain/Operations/Logistics (46%)
  • Consulting (20%)
  • Finance/Accounting (16%) 
  • Marketing/Sales (9%)
  • General Management/Other (9%)

Class Profile #

Class of: 2022 #

Program Length: 2 years

Total Enrollment: 52

Women: 37%

US Minorities: 14%

International students: 17%

Countries Represented: 11


Undergraduate Degrees #

  • Science and Engineering – 40%
  • Humanities and Social Sciences – 37%
  • Business – 23%


Average Work Experience: 55 months

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