Smeal first-year MBAs immersed in international business destinations

February 28, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Smeal College of Business first-year master of business administration (MBA) students are expanding their global perspective and enhancing their ability to communicate cross-culturally this week.

The program’s annual global immersion trips, which started last weekend and will extend through Saturday, provide a weeklong opportunity for students to experience the dynamics of the interconnected global economy.

“Global immersions take our students out of their comfort zones,” said Michael Waldhier, director of MBA admissions. “They witness firsthand how business happens differently in international locations. They view topics like legal concerns, human resources, and training through a different prism.”

On two different trips — to Budapest, Hungary, and Prague, Czech Republic, and to Johannesburg, South Africa — students will meet with business and government leaders and take part in an array of cultural activities.

Itineraries for each trip will include:


Smeal MBAs haven’t embarked on a combined-destination trip in more than 10 years. Budapest is a new destination. Visits to parliament, the U.S. Embassy, cultural attractions, and companies such as Taxify, Pepsi-Cola, Zwack Unicum Rt., Manufaktura, and Avast! are planned.


Part of the cultural experience of this trip will be a night spent in Soweto, a township in Johannesburg in which all 11 of the country’s official languages are spoken. In addition to governmental and cultural engagements, students will also visit a variety of companies, including De Beers Diamonds, Ogilvy & Mather, and Smollan Johannesburg.

This will be the last year in which first-year MBA students embark on global immersion trips. A curricular review of the program suggested that it is more advantageous to move the trips to the second year of the program.

“The curriculum review revealed that our stakeholders believe global immersion trips are more impactful in the second year,” said Carrie Marcinkevage, Smeal’s MBA managing director. “Students will be better equipped to use their experience as they transition back into the global workforce.”

About the Penn State Smeal MBA Program

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, consulting, and supply chain management, students then personalize their Smeal MBA experiences to align with their career aspirations. Learn more at

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Last Updated March 07, 2017