In the Penn State Smeal Smeal Executive MBA, real problems form the core of course work and assignments. This "executive homework" allows students to take on challenges at work immediately by applying their new knowledge to develop solutions and ideas that will provide a positive impact on the firm.
Real Problems, Real Solutions
In one course, two students chose to study a particular manufacturing facility that was facing problems on all fronts. Product quality was down, as well as their safety record and employee morale. Furthermore, they were often missing important production deadlines.
After some time at the facility, the two students made suggestions to the plant management. Their suggestions became the road map for the plant turnaround. Within one year, the plant had gone from a 4% loss to a 15% profit. They moved from $12 million in revenue to over $25 million. The student of the partnership who had been a sales representative for the plant is now the plant manager, and is currently spearheading this same plan at other plants within the firm.
The Strategic Assessment project
In your first year, you will complete a strategic assessment project. This is your comprehensive study of a business—yours, or another that interests you. You'll make a systematic analysis of a firm, its competitors and the industry. And your analysis will serve in many ways as a foundation for strategic recommendations to the firm, as a template for future analyses in your career, and as a document that demonstrates your written and spoken ability. Part of the project is to present your strategy recommendations to the class at the end of the year. This will test your presentation abilities and the value of your findings. And it will be the ideal warm-up if you plan to share your analysis with the senior management at your firm.