Smeal students encouraged to investigate hiring companies' core values

April 21, 2014

Penn State Smeal College of Business Director of Honor and Integrity Jennifer Eury encourages students to use a vast array of resources to learn about a company’s culture and to find an organization whose values also align with their personal values, especially as they plan their careers.

“We focus on the values of honor and integrity at Smeal,” Eury said. "These values do not just end at commencement. Rather, the Honor Code is really about a lifelong commitment to aspire to the highest ethical standards in our personal and professional lives. For our students, finding an organization that also supports those values is important."

Beginning a career is more than about landing a job offer — students should research the companies with whom they interview, said Meg Handley, director of Career and Corporate Connections at Smeal.

“The more that our students can learn about a potential employer, the more informed and prepared that they will be to determine if it is a good values-fit organization.”

-- Jennifer Eury, director of honor and integrity, Smeal College of Business

“First, it is really important that a student do some self-reflecting to truly understand their own personal values,” Handley said. “Speaking with a career counselor is a great way to start reflecting and identifying your core personal values.”

Once a student understands his or her own values, there are a number of ways they can go about researching what a company stands for. Handley suggests starting with their mission and vision statements, then also researching news stories about the company.

“Media can alert you to any red flags and help you craft some questions for the employer to gain more insight into their values,” said Handley.

Another helpful resource for students is the 2014 list of the world’s most ethical companies from the Ethisphere Institute, an independent research center promoting corporate ethics and compliance.

Finally, and most importantly, students can utilize LinkedIn or other Penn State resources to connect with alumni who work at the company they are researching.

“The more that our students can learn about a potential employer, the more informed and prepared that they will be to determine if it is a good values-fit organization,” Eury said.

About honor and integrity at Smeal
Integrity and ethical behavior are fundamental to the Smeal College of Business culture. Commonly referred to as “honor and integrity,” these values underscore who we are and what we do as a leading business school community, both in and out of the classroom. The college's foundation of honor and integrity lies in the Honor Code, drafted in partnership with MBA students in 2006 and adopted by undergraduates in 2007. Honor and integrity are infused into courses across the Smeal curriculum, and the G. Albert Shoemaker Program in Business Ethics supports ethics lectures and related scholarly research. For more information on honor and integrity at Smeal, visit

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Last Updated April 21, 2014