MBA Student Services Director Robin Brouse Set to Retire
After thirty-five years in the Penn State Smeal College of Business, Robin Brouse will retire from her position as MBA Student Services director at the end of June.
In 1977, Brouse began her first job at Smeal doing part-time work for the college, then accepted a full-time job for the Department of Finance. She joined the Smeal MBA Program in 1980, where her first role in admissions eventually evolved into the directorship of student services.
“There wasn’t a ‘student services’ role then,” said Brouse. “I identified that need and formed the position around it.”
According to Brouse, student services is a catch-all role that follows students from post-admission through graduation, including everything from advising student organizations and curriculum to managing events to build community among each new cohort of students.
With each incoming class, Brouse made herself a familiar face, starting with messages to incoming students the summer before orientation—also run by the student services team.
“The Smeal MBA Program is a true community. That may not be tangible, but as a program, it’s what makes us who we are.”
“I’m with them for the entire orientation, I always go to the coffee buzz events, and I attend many of the student activities as well,” she said.
Being open and responsive to students’ needs requires being there and getting to know them, she says.
“In student services, we have to walk the balance between student advocate and program representative,” said Brouse. “To do that, you have to be able to understand people and develop relationships and trust.”
Brouse says that despite her many years in the Smeal MBA Program, the job brought new challenges each year.
“It reinvents itself each year with a different group of students; because of them and their diversity, I feel like I know more about the world.”
Truly believing in the program was an added benefit, making her job all the more worthwhile.
“The Smeal MBA Program is a true community. That may not be tangible, but as a program, it’s what makes us who we are,” she said. “We’re also privileged to have such high-level and accessible faculty.”
Brouse says that, in her time at Smeal, she’s been able to achieve her main career goal, which was to have an impact.
“I’ve seen 3,800 students graduate from the Smeal MBA Program,” she said. “I feel like I’ve had immeasurable friendships for that, which have helped me grow as a person.