Smeal management and organizational leadership alumni reflect on lessons learned

July 19, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Paul Caldwell and Thomas Hohman, recent graduates of the Penn State Smeal College of Business master's program in management and organizational leadership (MOL), returned to their former stomping grounds to recruit students who aspire to be in their position — and to reflect on the lessons learned from their time in the program. 

As employees of RSM International, the leading U.S. provider of audit, tax and consulting services focused on the middle market, Caldwell and Hohman work as technology and management consulting associates.

Prior to their employment at RSM, Caldwell and Hohman attended Penn State to pursue their undergraduate degrees in industrial engineering and information sciences and technology, respectively. Caldwell believed the Management and Organizational Leadership Program, designed for pre-professional students from technical and STEM backgrounds, provided the best opportunity to advance his career and open new opportunities.

Caldwell said having world-class faculty to teach and guide him every step of the way was a huge factor in selecting Smeal for his graduate studies. 

“The MOL program helped me mold my engineering studies into functional skills that made me valuable to employers after graduation."

— Paul Caldwell, 2018 alumnus of the Penn State Smeal Management and Organizational Leadership Program

The program not only provided Caldwell and Hohman with opportunities to excel professionally, but it also prepared them for life in the workforce. They valued how the program enabled professional growth, as well as the lifelong connections to network with their fellow peers and faculty of the program.

“It gave me the knowledge that I needed to be able to understand how businesses work, how to work with peers, and the ability to articulate my ideas in a professional setting,” Hohman said.

Caldwell added that he learned how to expand his skill set to become a well-rounded individual.

“The MOL program helped me mold my engineering studies into functional skills that made me valuable to employers after graduation,” Caldwell said. “I hope to stay involved with the program to help future MOL students.”

Smeal makes companies like RSM very accessible to students by hosting career fairs and holding information sessions on campus, which is how Caldwell and Hohman first learned about their current employer. They were among the 93% of MOL students who received a job offer within six months of graduation last academic year. Additionally, former students who received jobs had a median compensation of $68,000.

Being a part of the inaugural MOL graduating class of 2018 gave Caldwell and Hohman a great sense of pride and accomplishment. Not only were they able to work with the administration to improve the program for future classes, but they also gained knowledge that would make an impact on their careers.

“You will never know everything you need to in order to solve a problem, and the MOL prepares you to execute on your best judgment,” Caldwell said. “This is not something you learn in a technical degree, and I have found it invaluable in the world of consulting.”

The Penn State Smeal Management and Organizational Leadership Program is now accepting applications for fall 2020 enrollment. More information about the program and an overview of the application process can be found online. Specific questions can be directed to or 814-863-0474.

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Last Updated July 19, 2019