Penn State online MBA students meet for real-world learning experience

May 07, 2013

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Analyzing how a company operates is an important part of any MBA program. Penn State’s online Intercollege MBA (iMBA) takes this educational analysis a step further by involving iMBA students in real-world learning. From May 12 to 17, the 54 students who have been working together online met in person to study at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

IMBA students examine a company externally and internally, using financial, strategic and organizational lenses,” said Ashutosh Deshmukh, iMBA program chair and professor of accounting and MIS at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. “During the residency, they visit the organization, listen and question top executives. Student teams then prepare a deep analysis of the company, which is made available to the company at no cost. The student analysis has been found useful by most companies.”

Most iMBA students are mid-level managers working in the business field. The company residency is designed for these students to take advantage of what they already know and what they are learning in the MBA program. Previous residencies have been held at Godiva, Bayer Materials Science, Michelin North America, QVC, Pittsburgh Pirates, EQT, Ruskin and other companies. A second one-week residency engages students in a large-scale business simulation.

Matthew J. Wain, chief administrative officer for Penn State Hershey Medical Center, said, “Health care is very complex and is experiencing a number of changes. I believe the iMBA students will find balancing what works and what makes us successful today is not necessarily what will make us successful in the future.” Wain hopes students will “identify areas of opportunity that we can then use our knowledge of health care to hone in on.”

IMBA student Karen Helbling, vice president of project management at Hipcricket, a mobile marketing company in Atlanta, participated in last year’s residency at Tampico, a Chicago beverage company. She said, “Until that point, we had been applying our education to our individual work experiences. In the residency, we were able to see how our learning applied to a company the cohort could all share in common.”

Bryan Welles, of Columbus, Ohio, will participate in the Medical Center residency. “The residency will enable me to be around Medical Center professionals and get a feel for what they do and how they deal with situations,” said Welles, assistant manager of a Bob Evans restaurant in Columbus.

The iMBA program is a collaboration of Penn State Behrend, Penn State Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies, Penn State Harrisburg and Smeal College of Business at University Park campus. Since it started in fall 2002, about 650 students from the United States and many countries have graduated.

For information about Penn State’s online MBA, visit the program’s website.


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Last Updated September 10, 2013