Resource-rich community helps doctoral students dive into research

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Ashley Stadler Blank has focused on sports business and marketing since her undergraduate years at Xavier University where she earned a bachelor of science degree in sport management. She also holds a master of sports business management degree and an master of business adminstration from the University of Central Florida. When it came time for her to choose a doctorate program, the broad expertise of the marketing faculty at the Smeal College of Business, and the Center for Sports Business and Research made Penn State a perfect fit.

A third-year student in the doctorate program pursuing a concentration in marketing, Stadler Blank said she was looking for a top tier research institution that provided the resources to facilitate the research she hoped to conduct while in graduate school.

“Smeal fit all my criteria,” she said. “The program provides access to an incredible faculty who are leading experts in their fields and who provide phenomenal support to doctoral students.”

In addition, Stadler Blank was excited that the Smeal doctoral program allowed her to begin research right away.

“Smeal fit all my criteria. The program provides access to an incredible faculty who are leading experts in their fields and who provide phenomenal support to doctoral students.”

-- Ashley Stadler Blank, third-year doctoral student, Smeal College of Business

“Broadly, my research focuses on consumer behavior; more specifically, how consumers’ involvement with a product and/or service affects customer outcomes— satisfaction, for example,” she said.

In addition to working closely with her adviser, associate professor of marketing Lisa Bolton, Stadler Blank also conducts research in conjunction with the Center for Sports Business and Research. There, she’s worked with Wayne DeSarbo, Smeal Distinguished Professor of Marketing, and Eelco Kappe, assistant professor of marketing, to investigate the effects of marketing promotions on sports event attendance.

Stadler Blank said that the resources provided by the doctoral program have allowed her to learn about other areas of marketing research while more deeply exploring her particular areas of interest. In addition, the many speakers hosted by the program provide opportunities to network with other students and academics.

“The program is great about providing conference opportunities and support so we can present our research and network with other marketing Ph.D. students and faculty,” said Stadler Blank. “In addition, resources on campus like the behavioral lab and the Smeal Small Research Grants Program have been invaluable to our research.”

Stadler Blank has received two grants to support her research. She currently serves as the president of the Smeal Ph.D. Association, which hosts about eight events each year related to doctoral student issues. She also serves as the Ph.D. representative on the Honor and Integrity Committee, led by Honor and Integrity Director Jennifer Eury.

“I have grown so much in the Ph.D. Program — not just as a scholar, but as a person,” said Stadler Blank. “The support I’ve received from faculty and fellow students, as well as the freedom to conduct the research that I’m passionate about, have made this a really great experience.”

About the Penn State Smeal College of Business doctoral program
The Smeal College of Business doctoral program, aimed at students who want to pursue a career in academic research, offers specialization opportunities in accounting, finance, management and organization, marketing, real estate, and supply chain and information systems. Learn more at

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Last Updated April 21, 2014