Applied Professional Experience
In the Applied Professional Experience Program (APEX), Smeal MBAs take on real business projects for client firms during their final semester of study at Penn State. 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.
APEX teams are comprised of four or five MBAs in their final semester of studies. 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, ranked #9 in the country by The Princeton Review 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.
In the News: In spring 2014, a team of Penn State Smeal MBA students worked with entrepreneur Sisay Shimelis on an aspect of his ambitious project to improve the quality of life for Ethiopians. The international social business project involved developing a market strategy for the Ethiopian staple food, injera.
How APEX Works
APEX teams begin work on their projects in January and complete them by the end of April. During the course of the project, teams interact with you through meetings, e-mail, phone calls, etc. In addition to a final report, you will be provided with 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 your company's management in a formal presentation.