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Potential Penn State Smeal MBA Applicants Encouraged to Teach for America

The Penn State Smeal MBA Program has partnered with Teach for America to encourage prospective MBA applicants to consider gaining real-life experience in at-risk classrooms.
February 25, 2013

Mark Bushey will graduate with a Penn State Smeal College of Business MBA this May and move into a marketing position at Kimberly-Clark Professional. But before he joined the MBA class of 2013, he spent two years teaching math to eighth graders in Philadelphia through the Teach for America program.

Teach for America is an organization that recruits a diverse group of leaders to spend two years teaching at-risk youth in low-income community classrooms. Bushey said that his experience in Teach for America prepared him for the business world, citing his extensive experience in public speaking, on-the-fly problem solving, and data analysis.

The Penn State Smeal MBA Program has partnered with Teach for America to encourage prospective MBA applicants to consider gaining real-life experience in at-risk classrooms. Application fees will be waived for prospective students involved in Teach for America. Students accepted to both programs will receive a two-year deferral for Smeal so they can fulfill their minimum commitment to Teach for America.

Stacey Dorang Peeler, director of admissions for the Penn State Smeal MBA Program, said that the qualities fostered in Teach for America participants are the kinds of qualities Smeal seeks in MBA applicants, including leadership abilities, critical thinking skills, perseverance, and passion.

“The partnership with Teach for America exemplifies Smeal’s commitment to community and ethics,” Dorang Peeler added.

And it is not just the soft skills that Bushey gained in the classroom. Teach for America emphasizes instruction based on data—tracking students’ progress and performance on various learning objectives.

“I could tell you at any time how any one of my students was doing on their math skills,” said Bushey, who said he improved some of his eighth graders’ math skills by three grade levels in just one year. “That’s a huge increase.”

Those skills, which he further expanded in the Smeal MBA program, are particularly transferrable to the business world, said Bushey. “Marketing decisions are based on data. Sometimes you have a hunch, but you have to step back from that and really look at what the numbers say, whether it’s looking at students’ test scores or the results of a marketing campaign.”

To find out more about the Penn State Smeal MBA partnership with Teach for America, visit www.smeal.psu.edu/mba/admission/partnerships.

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