Smeal career services, student organizations prepare student for future

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- International student Lotus Zhou, a Penn State Smeal College of Business senior, utilized a number of University and college resources to facilitate her career search and develop her professional skills. After graduation this month, she will begin a full-time marketing position with Actuant, a multinational company headquartered in Menomonee Falls, Wis.

Hailing from Shanghai, Zhou chose to come to Penn State because she was looking for a place that was different from her home city. Once she arrived, she used the University’s many available resources to prepare herself for a career in the U.S.

In addition to the rigorous curriculum for her dual major in marketing and economics with a minor in international business, she elected to take the BA 297 Career Planning and Strategies course aimed at helping Smeal students navigate the job search process and transition from student life to the workplace.

“The BA 297 course was really helpful,” Zhou said. “It helped me create a more professional resume. The etiquette dinner was also helpful, because etiquette can be so different in other countries.”

“The BA 297 course was really helpful. It helped me create a more professional resume. The etiquette dinner was also helpful, because etiquette can be so different in other countries.”

             -- Lotus Zhou, Class of 2014, marketing

She also said that the mock career fair offered through BA 297 helped increase her comfort level with presenting her skills in a networking environment.

“Personal skills need to be practiced,” she said. “If you talk to people more, you get more comfortable networking.”

Zhou put her job search skills to use through numerous internships over the course of her Smeal career, including positions at SURGE Business Development, local nonprofit organization Nittany Co-Op, and in the Smeal Career and Corporate Connections office.

She also utilized student organizations, such as Women in Business, the Penn State Finance Society, Students Consulting for Nonprofit Organizations and the Penn State Marketing Association, to gain additional professional development and networking.

“I received a lot of professional opportunities through the student organizations, including opportunities to connect with alumni,” she said.

Zhou began networking with representatives from Actuant in her sophomore year, and this year, her hard work paid off. She applied for an open position through SmealConnect, and an August phone interview led to an on-campus interview later in the fall.

This past January, the company flew Zhou to Wisconsin for an on-site interview. She then accepted Actuant’s offer of a full-time position, to start in June.

About undergraduate education at Smeal
The Smeal College of Business offers undergraduate majors and minors that span the business spectrum, preparing students for a business world that is complex, global and diverse. Smeal undergraduate students have access to dozens of student organizations and involvement opportunities, study abroad partnerships around the world, and personalized career planning and academic advising services to help them thrive at Smeal and in their careers. Learn more at

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Last Updated May 07, 2014