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APEX Program Offers Experiential Learning to Penn State Smeal MBA Students

As part of their final semester of coursework in the Penn State Smeal College of Business, MBA students are currently working on real-world business projects through the Applied Professional Experience Program (APEX).
March 13, 2013

As part of their final semester of coursework in the Penn State Smeal College of Business, MBA students are currently working on real-world business projects through the Applied Professional Experience Program (APEX).

Through APEX, student teams and their clients collaborate over fourteen weeks to tackle business challenges provided by client firms. Students sharpen their professional abilities through experiential learning, and clients benefit from the fresh perspective and analytical skill of a student team with a wide range of talents.

“The business problems our students will encounter in their careers will cut across multiple disciplines and require working effectively with internal teams and external stakeholders,” said Doug Thomas, faculty director for the Smeal MBA Program. “APEX allows students to pull together all the leadership, communication, and functional skills they have acquired throughout the program. Through APEX, our students deliver real value to our project sponsors across a diverse set of projects.”

A total of 17 clients have provided student projects this semester, from small, family-owned businesses to multinational corporations.

“The industries, companies, and content involved in the projects vary dramatically,” said APEX director David Lenze, “as they reflect the widely ranging interests of our students.”

Included here are summaries of just a few of the projects students are working on.

Partnering for Success with Polk Audio: Polk Audio, a leader in home theater audio and a subsidiary of DEI Holdings, has been named the preferred audio partner for the Microsoft Xbox 360 entertainment platform. Students on this project will work with Polk to develop strategies for maximizing the impact of the Microsoft partnership through new, groundbreaking solutions for the entertainment and gaming marketplace.

Sustainability in Sourcing with International Paper: International Paper, a global producer and distributor of paper, packaging, and forest products, is looking to build on its extensive history as a leader in environmental sustainability. Students on this project will conduct a benchmarking study to identify best practices relative to supply chain sustainability and develop recommendations for broadening International Paper’s sustainability practices across their global supply chain.

Emerging Market Opportunities with Sealed Air: A world leader in food safety & security, facilities hygiene, and product protection, Sealed Air is looking for innovative strategies and business-to-business marketing solutions to help grow its business in India. Students on this team will collaborate with students at the Management Development Institute in Gurgaon, India, with which Smeal has an ongoing relationship.

Logistical Supply Network with Team Rubicon: A not-for-profit organization made up of military veterans and first responders, Team Rubicon provides emergency relief services to disaster stricken communities while enabling the transition of veterans into civilian life by making use of their unique skills for a humanitarian cause. Students will design a logistical supply network for medical and operational gear and supplies to enable Team Rubicon’s mission.

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