Finance major and Scholar to put consulting award toward research

Jeff Rice
September 01, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Michael Mitole is constantly seeking ways to make an impact. Penn State’s 2020 virtual orientation helped the Smeal College of Business student and Schreyer Scholar find a way to impact current students and, perhaps, future business students around the nation.

In May, Mitole was honored with a Black Talent Award in the North America region at the McKinsey & Company Achievement Awards, in part for the talk he delivered, “What I Learned As An Orientation Leader in a Global Pandemic” at the TEDxPSU conference in March.

Mitole, now a third-year finance major from Pittsburgh, had a memorable experience as an orientation leader during the summer of 2020, interacting with incoming Penn State students from 23 countries. Their stories inspired him to apply to the TED conference and share the message about searching for meaning in everything, which can help sustain people through difficult times.

“What led me to do the talk was the belief that in life, there might be times where what you experience or what you have to say is not only important for you, but for the world to hear,” he said.

A few weeks after the talk, Mitole applied to McKinsey for the 2021 Achievement Awards through its Chicago office, including his TED talk and his aspirations at public speaking and book authorship. As part of the award, he received a $2,500 sponsorship to support academic or professional development. Mitole plans to use those funds to travel the country and visit various honors business programs as part of an independent research project.

“I was really interested in the idea of how organizations challenge and shape the individuals within them,” said Mitole, who is a member of Smeal’s Sapphire Leadership Academic Program and the Presidential Leadership Academy and is in his first semester in the Schreyer Honors College. “I thought that if I could study a variety of business honors programs across public and private universities in the United States and summarize my findings in a research report, I would be able to produce a resource that honors business programs can use for their betterment.”

Mitole, the son of Tendani and Joyce Mitole, two certified public accountants, had an internship with the Boston Consulting Group this summer, helping a food distributor optimize its inventory processes. He plans to work as a consultant for a few years after graduation before pursuing an MBA, then hopes to eventually explore roles at consulting institutes. First, he is excited to examine how honors business programs develop future leaders.

“I just thought it would be interesting as a research project, because it deals with potential, it deals with the development of the individual,” he said. “And I think it’s something that could really make an impact.”

About the Schreyer Honors College

The Schreyer Honors College promotes academic excellence with integrity, the building of a global perspective, and creation of opportunities for leadership and civic engagement. Schreyer Scholars total nearly 2,000 students across the University. More than 15,000 Scholars have graduated with honors from Penn State since 1980.

Last Updated September 01, 2021