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Applied Professional Experience

In the Applied Professional Experience Program (APEX), Smeal MBAs take on real business projects for client firms. In APEX, students sharpen their professional abilities through experiential learning. In return, their clients benefit from the fresh perspective and analytical skill of a talented, motivated team.

Consulting Teams

APEX teams are comprised of four or five MBAs. Students bring an average of over four years of full-time experience along with the skills and knowledge they have acquired at Smeal. On a typical project, each team will invest between 400-600 hours of effort.

Along with their own skills, students have access to the vast resources offered by Penn State University. From our nationally renowned faculty to our vast alumni network and world class library system, APEX teams can access a wide variety of resources and expertise to support their efforts. Each team is supervised by the APEX Program Director who provides guidance and assistance to the team.

Real Problems. Real Value.

During their time at Smeal, our students have prepared themselves to tackle complex, cross-functional business problems. And that is exactly what we look for in an APEX project. In tackling these problems, APEX delivers real value to our clients by conducting a competitive analysis of the situation and by providing clear and actionable recommendations.

In addition to a robust business challenge, we're looking for projects that impact our society. Whether it is through enabling job growth and business expansion, the development of sustainable business practices, bringing green technology to market, or enabling the mission of a non-profit, we're looking for projects that enable our students to serve society as well as the participating firm. 

How APEX Works

During the course of the project, teams interact through meetings, e-mail, phone calls, etc. In addition to a final report, students will create several "in process" deliverables to ensure appropriate progress is being made to allow for feedback. In addition to a written report, the final results of the project are presented to the company's management in a formal presentation.