Diamonds in the Rough: Immersion Weeks at Penn State Smeal

MBA applicants can get carried away with rankings. In this series, we profile amazing programs at business schools that are typically ranked outside the top 15.

Pennsylvania State University’s Smeal College of Business is known for balancing traditional coursework with immersive learning. Smeal’s “7-1-7” modular curriculum structure includes four different immersion experiences sandwiched between seven-week modules over the course of the two-year MBA program. Beginning with a “Career Immersion” week, students participate in various workshops that focus on honing career development skills. Smeal’s curriculum also includes a required international experience component during the “Global Immersion” module, which takes place in the spring of the first year. Students travel to such countries as Chile, India, and China to visit international organizations across various industries. The third immersion module, focusing on “Negotiation, Theory, and Skill,” requires students to practice negotiation skills by conducting group exercises and receiving feedback from their peers. Finally, students complete a “Service Experience” project in the spring of their second year. These projects, which range from local to global in scale, serve as an opportunity to give back to the community. Past projects have included working with Penn State’s own THON, a dance marathon fundraiser benefiting cancer research, in addition to partnering with such organizations as Habitat for Humanity and LIVESTRONG.


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