Career Immersion deepens job search, planning skills in first-year MBAs

First-year MBA students spent four intensive days last month enhancing their career search and planning skills as part of their Career Immersion, a staple of the Penn State Smeal MBA Program experience.

This year’s Career Immersion agenda included hands-on workshops giving students the opportunity to perfect their cover letters, practice answering interview questions and learn how to employ Twitter in their networking and job searches.

“This year, the two-week orientation program back in August served as a quick start for students to gain tools for resume creation, networking, and interviewing,” said Michael Brown, director of MBA Career Services. “The Career Immersion week allows us to go deeper into the strategy of conducting searches for internships and careers, as well as focusing more on cover letters and digital networking.”

A number of notable alumni lent their expertise to students for Career Immersion week. Ian McFetridge and Elena Kholodenko Polansky of Pfizer talked about the connections between supply chain and finance careers. Jane Leipold, senior vice president of human resources at TE Connectivity, explained the role of human resources in the recruiting and hiring process. And Joel Myers, founder, president, and chairman of the board at AccuWeather, provided a retrospective view of AccuWeather’s 50-year history while underscoring the keys to entrepreneurial success.

“The Career Immersion week allows us to go deeper into the strategy of conducting searches for internships and careers, as well as focusing more on cover letters and digital networking.”

-- Michael Brown, director of MBA Career Services, Penn State Smeal MBA program

Simulated interviews with representatives from companies like Facebook, Citi, Dell, Pfizer, Heinz and Endo Pharmaceutical gave students a chance to practice answering common interview questions and receive feedback on their presentation skills.

Off campus, students toured the Office Depot distribution site in Newville, Pa., and the Walmart distribution site in Clearfield, Pa. Before leaving for the distribution centers, students heard from Senior Associate Dean Russell Barton, also a professor of supply chain and information systems and industrial engineering, about how to view distribution center operations through the lenses of employee, manager and supplier.

The four-day program wrapped up with a talk from Jennifer Eury, director of Smeal’s Alumni Relations, in which she talked about leveraging the Smeal alumni network of more than 74,000 living graduates. At Eury’s talk, students also received membership to the Blue-White Society, the student contingent of the Penn State Alumni Association, which the Penn State Smeal MBA Program sponsors for MBA students’ two years on campus.

The internationally ranked residential Penn State Smeal MBA Program positions students from around the world for their future careers. The two-year program, based on the University Park campus, begins with a focus on business fundamentals. Through summer internships with top companies and concentration opportunities in areas such as finance, marketing and supply chain management, students then personalize their Smeal MBA experiences to align with their career aspirations. Learn more at www.smeal.psu.edu/mba.

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Last Updated November 07, 2013